The opportunity to transform a daily newspaper lures a team of idealistic young journalists to an industrial county seat in the American heartland, where they believe their high standards will empower the common good. Trained to fight big-time corruption, these liberal media hopefuls are soon besieged by the area’s longstanding petty jealousies and simmering resentments, on one side, and the bean counters in the accounting department downstairs, on the other – even before the family-owned business runs up against multinational conglomerate capitalism.
The harder they work, the worse things get. They win awards and fuel backlash. Circulation rises, and so do expenses. They point to positive elements in their neighborhoods and hear only complaints in reaction. They face brutal competition from a larger rival one county down the valley, but then, when a labor strike hobbles their adversary, they rise to the opportunity in a flash and glory, only to discover, once more, the harder they work, the worse things become. Promises are broken, dreams turn into nightmares, and their seemingly remote city is at the mercy of global economics far beyond their own influence.
They produce sterling results, for sure, before the tide turns.
Can they separate their private lives from their careers while working endless hours? Not everyone in the organization ascribes to high professional standards, and the same can be said for their moral values and lifestyle decisions. The mounting stress takes a toll on marriages, budding romances, and friendships alike.
What's happening in their newsroom is a mirror of the wider community around them. Factories shut down and layoffs soar, causing stores and restaurants to close.
Can even one person make a constructive difference, much less survive, under these circumstances? For one couple in the story, the answer turns with the tide.
Consider this wild romp a phantasmagorical report from future Trump country. From this perspective, you see it coming, don't you?