Cold Copy: Is TNR a Real News Channel?

The cutthroat field of journalism becomes the center of the story in ‘Cold Copy,’ where a young journalist named Mia joins the class of a veteran journalist, Diane. Being in the good books of Diane would open all sorts of opportunities for Mia, who already idolizes her. But she is not the only one vying for that spot, and the competition only deepens with time. The movie also focuses on Diane’s own journey, especially her time at the news channel named The Night Report, aka TNR, which has turned her into a legend in her own right. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Fictional TNR is Modeled on Real News Channels

‘Cold Copy’ is a fictional film based on the script by Roxine Helberg who also directs the film. The story is entirely made up, with fictional characters working for fictional news stations. However, they are not completely unfounded. In fact, Helberg was inspired by something very real in the current landscape of media and news that made her write the film.

The idea for the film stemmed from Helberg’s own interest in journalism and how she saw the changing tides of the scene, especially with the arrival of social media and the increasingly decreasing attention spans of the audience. She realized that more and more of the news was turning out to be clickbait articles, and instead of the truth, they seemed to be more invested in creating stories that would capture the imagination of the viewers, leaving them utterly unconcerned about all the lies they were concocting to have their five minutes of fame. It was clear that the ones with something “interesting and provocative” were being awarded instead of those trying to be truthful and real.

From here, Helberg felt compelled to explore the life of a person who finds themselves in this profession and what limits they push themselves to get those clicks and attention. She wanted to write the characters who were inherently flawed and complex, which led her to create Tracee Ellis Ross’ Diane Heger. Her confidence turns out to be a facade under which she hides a ruthless face who is ready to do whatever it takes to keep up her appearance of being a reporter who is known to speak truth to power.

While Helberg wrote Diane as an original character, she had to delve into some research regarding the persona of a woman on TV and, more importantly, her presence in her place of employment and the impact it has on her overall life and image. The writer-director referred to interviewers like Oriana Fallaci, Christiane Amanpour, and Dick Cavett to get a sense of an interviewer’s job and the techniques they use to elicit a response, if not the truth, out of their subject. Megyn Kelly was another personality Helberg referred to as an inspiration for Diane’s character and workspace. She wanted the news presenter to have that conflicting nature of charisma and the insatiable desire to have a story that would shock the world. Through all these real-life references and more, she made Diane and her news channel appear as realistic as possible.

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