The Paper



Teen journalism docu mixes passion, competition.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The students are extremely serious and passionate about their work and are focused on their current and future journalism careers. They're also extremely competitive, which results in some snarky behavior (lots of cattiness, some backstabbing, etc.). The newspaper staff is primarily Caucasian; one student is African-American.


Some arguing and occasional verbal outbursts.


Some teen hugging and kissing.


Audible language includes "damn," "hell," "bitch," and "ass." Words like "s--t" are bleeped.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Occasional underage drinking (generic "keg cups" are shown; you can't tell for sure what's in them, but alcohol is implied).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that that this reality docuseries -- which follows high school students as they publish their award-winning school paper -- includes some strong language (words like "bitch" and "ass" are audible, while stronger words like "s--t" are bleeped) and a bit of sexual innuendo, as well as teen hugging and kissing. There's also some occasional underage drinking. And while these intelligent, resourceful students are admirably dedicated to and passionate about their work, their competitiveness sometimes results in snarky attitudes and emotional arguments.

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What's the story?

THE PAPER follows Florida's Cypress Bay High's journalism class as the students publish The Circuit, the school's award-winning newspaper. With the help of teacher/advisor Rhonda Weiss, the group of up-and-coming editors, writers, and reporters must work hard to meet deadlines and get along in order to maintain The Circuit's quality and reputation.

Is it any good?


Unlike many other teen-oriented reality shows (Laguna Beach and Newport Harbor, for example), The Paper offers viewers a refreshing chance to watch teens spend their time making a positive contribution to their high school community. Instead of arguing over boyfriends or showing off flashy possessions, these kids whip themselves into a frenzy by getting the "latest scoop," checking sources, and building skills that will help them reach their journalistic aspirations. Perhaps not surprisingly, their competitiveness leads to some emotional outbursts, extremely snarky exchanges, and backbiting, particularly when some of the over-achieving staffers resent having to work within the paper's leadership structure.

Chances are that many teens will be able to relate to this series, which offers a fun, often funny glimpse into what it's like to participate in one of high school's most common (and sometimes even prestigious) extracurricular activities. But the show also includes some mild sexual innuendo (including hugging and kissing), strong language ("ass" and "bitch" are audible, while stronger terms are bleeped), and occasional underage drinking. It might be a little strong for tweens, but for teens, The Paper is an entertaining reminder that there are still kids in this country who are resourceful, productive, and serious about their future.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it would be like to be a journalist. What is the life of a reporter really like? What challenges do reporters face every day as they try to do their jobs? How do you think being part of the media affects your perspective on it? Families can also discuss the differences between working on a school paper and a professional paper. Do you think the editor-in-chief of a school newspaper faces the same issues as the in-chief of a national one? What are some of the similarities? Differences?

TV details

Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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