'Press' episode 2: Duncan has ulterior motives for approaching Holly again
Duncan Allen is struggling to bring quality to the Post, while his counterpart at The Herald, Amina Chaudury is trying hard to bring up sales in 'Press' episode 2.
Duncan Allen, Chief Editor of The Post and Holly Evans, the News Editor of The Herald have nothing in common. Their news values, ethics, ideals all of it falls on the opposite side of the spectrum. Yet, Duncan had decided to help Holly out in the first episode of 'Press'. In the second episode, we see Duncan continue this unexpected camaraderie with her and he definitely has ulterior motives.
Duncan is facing the pressure from the founder of the paper to turn Post into a quality publication that is not driven by sensational stories that sell. He clearly sees Holly Evans as a great addition to the team to help him build a certain level of credibility for the publication's news section.
Meanwhile, we also see the competition between Post and The Herald itself heat up. While Post reporter Ed Washburn tries hard to get a scoop at a fancy dress society party that he went to for front page, Holly is busy pitching ideas that she hopes would make a difference. Holly doesn't write the pieces that she pitches herself and instead hands them over to different people who work with her. Be the story about disability gala or the rise in mortality rate at one of the hospitals, Holly takes it upon herself to investigate before she gives it out to be filed.
Holly also struggles with a junior reporter, Leona Manning-Lynd (Ellie Kendrick) as the young reporter doesn't agree with Holly's way of investigating. She is keen on reaching out over emails, using Twitter and in essence not doing the legwork for a good story. In contradiction to this, we have another young reporter, Ed Washburn, try to do the best that he can at Post. This also includes dressing up as a polar bear to a party. By narrating the ordeals of each publication in parallel, the storytelling is effective, especially when you see moments play out that you can associate with.
This is especially true for the story that James Edwards (Al Weaver) is working on. The Herald's investigative reporter works on a story that exposes the reality of an American clothing brand, which has products manufactured in India where the company employs children. The pay is abysmal as the kids who do not have parents or guardians to take care of them are left to the mercy of the manufacturing factories. The same clothing brand happens to be The Herald's biggest client and are currently in talks for a wraparound (front page and last page) advertisement. Amina refuses to print James' piece because the children spoke to him in the presence of no one but the translator. James and Amina's struggle, as each of them tries to come to terms with the reality of sinking sales is well portrayed.
The best part of the show is how well it portrays different perspectives juxtaposed against each other. On one hand, there is a publication that tries its best to uphold values and on the other, we have Duncan who has no qualms about attacking individuals after receiving a request from the prime minister. Towards the end of the episode, we see Duncan have dinner with Amina as the two discuss the industry, front-page news among other things. Duncan has just broken up with his wife, who wanted to work out things. So the general mood of the dinner is somber as Amina wonders out loud about how the industry has made them lonely. Duncan, of course, would have none of it as he feels that it is this industry that keeps them sharp and aware of the truth about everything that is happening around them.
Even as he discusses love and life with Amina as if she were a friend, he is also doing everything that he can to poach one of The Herald's best, Holly Evans.
The next episode of 'Press' will air on Sunday at 10 pm ET on Masterpiece.