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Cover Story

The action takes place in the offices of a newsroom.

  • Download the free .pdf screenplay version: Cover Story

Logan: You wasted so much time Jimmy, so much time.  You knew we could have beat them to the punch.
Jimmy: I made every effort–
Logan: You sat on that lead one afternoon too long. You should have called him–
Jimmy: I called and called and waited and waited.
Logan: We aren’t in the business of waiting!
Jimmy: I couldn’t leave my post—if he had called, I would have missed–
Logan: You should have went directly to the source–
Jimmy: Fly to Boston?
Logan: Fly, car, walk, I don’t give a damn. Just get there and get out!

(pause.)

Jimmy: I blew it, I’m sorry.
Logan: Sorry doesn’t get us the cover story, does it?

Jimmy puts his head down.

To staff.

Logan: This isn’t a Jimmy problem folks. This is an OUR problem. Each and every one of you refuse to dig deeper inside yourselves. Where’s the extra step? Where’s the risk? Where’s the JOURNALISM?! We talk quality, facts, you name it, I get that but where’s the hunger, the drive to show the truth? Where’s the courage? Yeah, well, I am to blame. I’m the one aiming this ship and I’ll be damned if I allow us to settle for less than what we are, less than what we believe in. If we have an opportunity we take it. We cannot stand idle and play it safe. (like a rhyme) “If we see the opportunity…

The Staff: “We take it.”
Logan: That’s right. Back to work. (his eyes connect with Paul) PAUL, I need a word.

Logan leads Paul into his office.

Logan: Shut the door.

Paul closes door.

You get that cover story for me?
Paul: I was able to get these photos (takes them out of envelope and spreads them on Logan’s desk)
Logan: Easy, get the blinds.

Paul closes the blinds.

Logan observes the photos. He holds one in his hand of a woman and man.

Paul: That was taken at the Carlton yesterday at two o’clock.
Logan: Two o’clock. Who is he?
Paul: His name is Mark Rutherford. He’s a big shot over at Mart and Stewarts.
Logan: Rutherford…
Paul: Yes, sir. (cautiously) I was able to overhear part of their conversation in the cocktail lounge.
Logan: (puts photo down and sits) Did you?
Paul: They were talking about going away together, somewhere sunny, your wife–um–she mentioned Hawaii and he—
Logan: Okay, I get it. So…you’re certain?
Paul: Yes, sir, I’m afraid so.

Logan pulls out a wad of cash.

Logan: You did good, Paul.

Logan hands Paul a few bills.  He escorts him out.

That will be all.
Paul: Oh, okay, sir. Thanks, um, I’m sorry for the—
Logan: Not a word of this to anyone, is that clear?
Paul: Yes, sir. Not a word.
Logan: Has everything been erased?
Paul: Erased?
Logan: Do I have the only set of photos?
Paul: Yes, sir.
Logan: Keep it that way.

Logan closes door on Paul’s face.

Joseph Arnone

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