Print It Black (2024)

Print It Black (2024)

It tells a worthy story, but this documentary about the Uvalde mass shooting buckles under the weight of its ambitions



United States of America
Beto O'Rourke, Craig Garnett, Meghann Garcia
86 min


It’s a moving account of an important event, but don’t expect to learn anything new from it.

What it's about

Follows crime news reporter Kimberly Rubio and the town of Uvalde as they grapple with the shocking loss of friends and family in the Robb Elementary mass shooting of May 24th, 2022.

The take

Produced by ABC News, Print It Black is a documentary that opts for a straightforward approach instead of a stylish one. It’s more breaking news than investigative, more TV than film, but it works to highlight the urgent issue at hand. Well, two issues, which it sometimes clumsily handles. On the one hand, Print It Black is about the devastating Robb Elementary massacre and how the small town of Uvalde is further divided in the aftermath. On the other, it’s about the relevancy of the town paper, The Uvalde Leader-News, and the crucial role it plays at a time when more and more news publications are shutting down. At the intersection of these two stories is Kimberly Rubio, a staff reporter for the paper whose 10-year-old daughter was one of the victims of the massacre. Without Rubio, the two threads come undone and the documentary fails to feel like a cohesive story. Odd decisions, like leaving out the identity and motivations of the perpetrator and allotting virtually zero screentime to the other nine victims, start to become glaringly obvious. It’s a shame because both are worthy topics that deserve their own features; here, they seem unfairly smushed into a feature that’s unconfident about the way it handles them.

What stands out

Obviously, the mass shooting is a harrowing event that trumps everything else explored here, but on the other more hopeful end of the tunnel is the community that Rubio finds comfort in: the paper she works with. Refreshingly, Paint It Black is less about the death of community journalism and more about the persistence of it.


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