A charming portrait of Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Art Cullen and his family as they fight for the survival of their politically influential small-town newspaper, The Storm Lake Times.
The agricultural town of Storm Lake, Iowa might not seem like the most obvious place to find a nationally-recognized newspaper, but since 1990, the Cullen family has built The Storm Lake Times into an award-winning institution with the power to change minds and sway votes in the state’s consequential primary elections. This rousing documentary captures a who’s who of big-name political figures eager to speak with the paper’s editor Art Cullen, yet his focus remains grounded in the concerns of the town (“who’s getting married and buried”). Cullen manages to put out the biweekly paper with just a ten-person staff, half of whom are members of his family. 27-year-old son Tom is the paper’s lead reporter, wife Dolores is the photographer and culture reporter, older brother John is the publisher, and John’s wife Mary is the food columnist. They persist in reporting on the significant issues facing their community, even as other local papers die off and the economic odds grow more daunting. Despite the setbacks, the financial losses, and even the pandemic, the Cullens continue to doggedly, passionately deliver the news, truly keeping the spirit of local journalism alive.
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