The smart and fierce journalist Nikki Finke covers the latest Hollywood news on her site, Deadline Hollywood. The New Yorker recently ran an article on her, which was then mentioned by Nikki and Gawker.
I thought The New Yorker article was sexist and missed the point, so I posted the following comment on Gawker, though it occurs to me that Nikki is not exactly a person who needs defending:
Enjoyed your post, Kamer. Will add that I thought Friend’s comparison to Nikki with early female Hollywood gossip columnists was a sexist double standard that overshadowed the article. I think the article and Nikki’s reputation would be very different if she were a man, especially in a town and industry where films are written, greenlighted, funded, produced and directed almost entirely by men. She not only understood the zeitgeist of internet news in LA, she became it.
I’d also add that while the New Yorker article shows her tenacity and cajones, especially in a company town that’s all about relationships, what he glossed over, and where she was effing brilliant, was during the WGA strike, where she was the lone journalist calling out mega-corporate studios for their bs and serving—really serving—as ground zero for not only the latest information, but a place where all sides could air their information/opinions/grievances, both in her posts and in her comments sections (which were extensive, and because of the heated nature of the debate, she had to constantly monitor).
She worked her arse off during those months (to the detriment of her health), when other Hollywood bloggers and most trade journalists wouldn’t go near the biggest issue in Hollywood. Of course they were largely dependent on the studios for advertising, especially during the run-up to the Oscars, when the strike took place. So here’s this huge event that rocked Hollywood and the film industry—and Nikki Finke covered it pretty much single-handedly and round the clock as the press looked on. (Anne Thompson at least gave it a brief mention in her column: “I know Nikki Finke is kicking ass with the writers strike.” !!!)
It shows how powerful these corporations and their advertising dollars are, to silence the fourth estate like that, and one could say it shows how powerful Nikki is, but it would miss the point. She had not only the courage, but the humanity and decency to insist on reporting both sides, standing up to corporate mega-powers and giving the writers a seat at town hall. So while she can be annoying (mainly when I don’t agree with her), she has earned the respect of many.
It would have been interesting to see how she might have handled Joseph McCarthy and the Hollywood Blacklist of the 50’s. I’d bet just about anything that McCarthy would have gotten the hell out of Dodge with his tail between his legs. If he’d shown up at all.