The Newsroom, S1 Ep2 – News Night 2.0

Don’t worry, it’s all downhill from here, Will.

We open in Will’s (huge) apartment, and — okay, seriously? Falling ceiling pieces, again? You’re just messing with us now, Mr. Sorkin. Anyway, clearly part of Will’s ceiling falling on him as he looks at pictures of his staff is symbolic of how his day is going to go.

In Charlie’s office, the network’s numbers/ratings guy and Charlie have a politely frustrated conversation about how Charlie doesn’t want Will thinking about ratings anymore. Numbers Guy Reese tries to insist that their ratings have gone up since the Northwestern incident and breaking the oil spill story, and Will likes to know these things. Charlie counters that they’re trying a different way of doing the news, and he wants Will focusing on story, not ratings. Charlie tells Reese not to talk to Will about numbers. Reese is unsatisfied and (spoiler!) unconvinced.

Before the day’s rundown meeting, Will takes a moment in his office to clarify with Mackenzie that he doesn’t want anyone at ACN to know what happened between them three years ago to make them break up. Mack gets it, but the amount of insistence in the scene makes for some not-so-subtle foreshadowing that before the episode’s end, others just might find out.

At the rundown meeting (which takes place around a table in a room that reminds me so much of Sports Nightthat I have to pause and sigh with nostalgia), Will reveals that he spent last night learning the names and faces of all his staff. Of course, his information turns out to be partly outdated, but Neal is delighted when Will not only calls him by name but tells him that his whole name means “blue jewel”.

I’m glad no one (other than Neal) understood the update, but it’s still kind of annoying that it’s the main woman character who has the epic technology fails.

The other info unrelated to the meeting’s purpose is that IT has updated how company email works. Mack attempts a test, to use this new process to send an email only to Will. Then the personal electronic device of everyone in the room chimes immediately because she used an asterisk and typed the wrong first letter. Hmm, I wonder if something like this might happen again soon, but with a message of greater import?

The purpose of the meeting is for Mack to introduce “News Night 2.0”, how the show is going to work under the new direction of Mack and Will. Mack wants everyone to start out by asking IIIA:

Is this information we need in the voting booth? Is this the best possible form of the argument? Is the story in historical context? And lastly, are there really two sides to this story? No one is particularly helped by the IIIA acronym, nor do they really get what Mack is trying to aim for (even with the apparently sincere but not effusive support of Will behind her). I’m pretty intrigued to see how that would work, though. Too bad I won’t be seeing that this episode! Oh, and she wants them to open with a story on the Arizona immigration bill SB 1070 and push back footage of the sinking oil rig to the D segment — even though everyone else is still leading with the oil spill and said footage. Also, Will says he supports the immigration bill, and he seems to be the only one in the room with that opinion.

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