Documentary short: <I>Black in the Newsroom</I>
February 28, 2023

Documentary short: Black in the Newsroom

Black in the Newsroom is a new documentary short from the Media 2070: Media Reparations project ( The doc follows reporter Elizabeth Montgomery, who gets what she feels is a dream job at the Arizona Republic, only to reveal that despite writing front-page stories for the newspaper, she can't afford groceries. She ends up leaving the industry entirely, and the film reveals how BIPOC reporters are often paid tens of thousands of dollars less than their white counterparts.

“When we conceived this idea, I approached Mass Liberation Arizona and InSite Consultants to ask for financial support, and they generously signed on to sponsor,” recalls Collette Watson, project director for Media 2070. “The Media 2070 project’s parent organization, Free Press, made sure to underwrite the rest of the budget. Then we researched the documentary topic thoroughly, outlined the script, and production began.”

Director of photography Dorrell Edwards used a Panasonic GH5 to capture b-roll shots inside of Grassrootz Bookstore and other locations, and DP Brian Watson shot additional b-roll of Elizabeth Montgomery in downtown Phoenix. Additional interviews were captured virtually using Streamyard, which allowed the team to include commentary from experts across the country on a very limited budget.

“For the principal interview, we wanted to have a high-quality visual that would really ground this project as a serious documentary,” Watson explains. “Dorrell used a Canon R6 to shoot the interview at Elizabeth’s home, where we took breaks as needed to process the heavy emotions she was sharing. In post production, our editors Matty Steinkamp and Lord Kash, from Mango Skies Studios, used Adobe Premiere for the editing, and I used Adobe Creative Suite to design the graphics. Matty and I sourced the production music from”

The entire process took approximately six months to complete, and the final edit runs 20 minutes.