I haven't seen State of Play yet, but this review essay by Alyssa Rosenberg at the Atlantic makes some interesting observations about the journalistic enterprise. Two are worth highlighting. The first is on the humanness of reporters:
In a climate in which reporters are expected to be as detached as jurors, and against the backdrop of a flailing industry, State of Play dares to suggest that journalists, like the people they cover, have messy and complicated personal lives that affect and interact with their work.
Rosenberg also recognizes that there is usually no glory for a reporter who has nailed a story, and often little chance that anything will come of it:
The problem with journalism"”and with journalism movies"”is that getting the story isn't the same thing as getting the girl, or getting the bad guy. You file a story, and if you're very, very lucky, and have done a very, very good job with your reporting, the cavalry follows your pointed finger into town. Someone better-looking than you unties the pretty girl from the train tracks, and a prosecutor in a better suit than you can afford puts the criminal away.