WSJ reporter Schwartzel on covering Hollywood as a beat
by Chris Roush · December 30, 2021
Wall Street Journal reporter Erich Schwartzel was interviewed about how he covers Hollywood.
Here is an excerpt:
How did the film industry come to be your beat?
I spent about a year talking to the Journal and interviewing in various bureaus—my attitude has always been that pretty much any beat can be fun and fascinating, so I was agnostic about which one I would take. Moving to L.A. to cover Hollywood was the one that came together— and a perfect one, considering the many nights I’d spent as a kid renting movies and staying up late watching them. (I was the proud runner-up of a national “Predict the Oscars” contest in the sixth grade.) Going from fracking to film was never the plan, but it’s a case study in why journalism can be the best job around.
How did you come to write about the film industry as it relates to China?
When I landed in L.A. and was thrown into the new job, I started to see China everywhere I looked: in casting announcements, financing deals, box-office tallies. When I realized there was a government agenda backing such efforts, it struck me as the biggest possible story in entertainment. A foreign market was changing movies shown around the world, and using its own film industry to spread its values abroad as Hollywood had done for America for 100 years. It was a story that quickly became about more than just the movies. You start to see how the movies quickly become a proxy war for the ideology of two countries that want to rule the 21st century.
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