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The Weekly

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Weekly TV Poster Image
Smart, emotional news show digs into hot topics.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Clear and strong messages of courage and perseverance can be gathered from this series, as reporters work tenaciously to get facts, and subjects courageously risk telling their stories in order to help others. Viewers may leave with a greater appreciation for journalism and journalists, as well as respect for what changes can come from a powerfully told story. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Representations change from episode to episode as reporters follow up on a different story in each episode, but journalists are steadfast and honorable, as in an episode when a reporter worries that the story she's writing will negatively affect victims of a scam more than the perpetrators. Subjects of stories are always made relatable; we understand why and how they're affected by a series of events. 

Violence

Violence plays a part in some stories; generally the violence is just described by victims as something that happened in the past not something shown, like when a boy describes a man abusing him at school, or when we see memorials and people grieving for cab drivers who lost their lives to suicide. 

Sex

Sex may play a part in some stories, but the focus is not on romance or sex. 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drugs may be referred to as an element of certain stories, like when a student from a fraudulent high school says administrators wanted him to pretend his mom is a "meth head." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Weekly is a documentary news show featuring reporters from The New York Times as they report on stories that appear in the newspaper. Each week, a different story is spotlighted, so episodes will have varying levels of mature content. The focus is on newsworthy stories, not sensational ones, so though some stories may have elements of sex, drugs, or violence (like a school in which students were abused, or a group of workers that begins dying by suicide in alarming numbers), those aspects are not played up. Typically, visuals involve people having conversations, and though news stories may be affecting and emotional, they're not likely to alarm or scare even young or very sensitive viewers. Courage and perseverance are demonstrated consistently by reporters and their subjects, who worry about the welfare of others and try to make thoughtful choices. In many episodes, people from marginalized communities (i.e. people of color, those with working-class jobs) are humanized and their concerns are made relatable to viewers, who may come away from this show with a greater respect for journalism in general and the Times in particular. 

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What's the story?

In each episode of THE WEEKLY, a New York Times journalist investigates one of today's most important issues, be it cultural, political, or otherwise. Drawing on The Times' more than 150 years of breaking big stories, The Weekly adds visuals and emotions to the stories this long-standing paper prints every day. 

Is it any good?

By looking behind the facts of current news to focus on the people it affects, this investigatory series garners enormous sympathy for its subjects and their stories. It's one thing to read a newspaper story or some online headlines about, say, the impact New York City's medallion system policies have on drivers, or about students abused and tricked by the administrators at their college prep school. It's another thing entirely to watch The Weekly and see a single taxi driver who can't make a living despite working back-breaking hours breaks down in tears, or a teen playing video games numbly while a voiceover describes how he was shunned by his school and classmates. Simply put, the New York Times reporters featured in each weekly episode do the work journalism was intended to do: comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable whenever rights are trampled on. 

Younger viewers, who may have grown up in an age when daily newspapers simply weren't a part of their world, are likely to be astonished by what's uncovered by the Times' intrepid investigative work -- made aware for the first time how important reporting is to justice. Meanwhile, those who grew up thinking of journalism as the Fourth Estate won't be surprised, but they may want to hurry off and pay for a Times' subscription (no doubt one of the aims of this production). Because anyone who sees journalism this focused on righting wrongs will want it to continue, and will suddenly understand just how much work (time/perseverance/money) it takes to uncover these types of stories.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about who decides what stories get reported in a newspaper or magazine. Does The Weekly give you a greater understanding on what stories are investigated and why? How much depends on what a particular reporter hears or is interested in? Does it make you nervous to think about how many important stories go unreported? 

  • What does it cost to create quality journalism? After watching an episode, jot up a little list of the costs reports and the paper incurred while reporting. Were there plane flights? Hotel stays? How many weeks did reporters work on a story? How many subjects did they interview? How do you feel about paying for news, either online or in a physical newspaper?

  • Some sources interviewed in this show are risking a lot by talking to reports. How do these sources and the reporters who work to uncover the facts show courage? How does the reporters' work demonstrate perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Character Strengths

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