MTV’s ‘The Paper’: Where Teens, Journalism and Coolness Meet

My friend Laura called me Monday night to break the news.

“Hey Mal!” she said in a message. “There’s a new show on MTV called ‘The Paper,’ You should check it out because I think you’d find it really, really humorous.”

Considering the average age of newspaper readers is nearly 60, I find it odd that there’s a new show about teenagers working for a newspaper. The paper, called “The Circuit,” is depicted not as being old-fashioned or geeky, but rather as something that’s respected and, dare I say, cool.

When watching the show, which premiered Monday night at 10:30 p.m., I was surprised to see a group of high schoolers frantically trying to submit their applications for the editor-in-chief position. This was a big deal for them. Prior to being chosen as editor-in-chief, Amanda, the show’s main character, said that if she were to get the position it would “be the highlight of [her] life.” One boy said he would cry if he didn’t get the position. Another girl actually did cry.

The show, naturally, is overly dramatic. I don’t ever remember there being much drama in my high school newspaper’s “newsroom” (a.k.a. English classroom with a couple of computers), but I suppose no newsroom is ever completely devoid of drama. It seems the plot of future episodes will revolve around the fact that “The Circuit” staff members don’t like Amanda as an editor. It’ll be interesting to see how the show develops.

My cyber friend, Greg Linch, who is editor of the University of Miami’s student newspaper, The Hurricane, just wrote a blog post about “The Paper.” It’s worth checking out.

If you saw the show, what were your initial impressions of it?

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at

3 thoughts on “MTV’s ‘The Paper’: Where Teens, Journalism and Coolness Meet

  1. I was reading at the table in my apartment’s common room when my roommate flipped past it on T.V., and we caught the last 10 minutes or so. Looks like it will be more about the editor drama than the news, but I guess it’s good to see a newspaper being portrayed as “cool” no matter what happens with it… hopefully it will bring at least some new readership to newspapers!

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