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'Nightcrawler' in Real Life

  Jake Gyllenhaal's character in the new movie 'Nightcrawler,' makes a name for himself shooting videos of crime scenes and selling them to news channels...but how much of that happens in real life? Missouri School of Journalism professors Jim Flink, Jamie Grey and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

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Gyllenhaal’s character makes quite a name for himself as a stringer, shooting crime scenes and selling his video to local news stations.  One night he gets the big get and finds a tv station willing to pay top dollar for his footage.


Professor Jamie Grey said the movie may be entertaining, but it's not entirely accurate.

"The thing that I see that's most unrealistic is this idea of looking for gore and trying to find the goriest shot. That's not truly what happens in most cases, in fact you are trying to get shots that do not have blood in them because you're not going to put those on television. It's against what we do ethically."

Although there were definitely some dramatizations, Grey said 'Nightcrawler' was not completely unrealistic.

"The one thing in the movie that is shown pretty accurately is listening to scanners, going out and trying to find the news that way. That absolutely does happen. We listen to scanners in newsrooms and news cars and we go out and we try to get there first and get video to try to show the situation."

Overall, Grey said viewers should appreciate the movie as a character drama, and remember that the judgment calls Gyllenhaal's character makes in the movie are not a real depiction of local TV news stations.  

Hope Kirwan left KBIA in September 2015.
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