More Than a Great Story

The News & Advance

Posted: Sunday, November 29, 2015


One of the best movies of the year portrays an unlikely hero, a newspaper.

“Spotlight” is based on the true story of The Boston Globe’s painstaking investigation, starting in 2001, into child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Boston covered up for decades by local church leaders.

While not a documentary, the movie uses real names and works for verisimilitude. It keeps its focus on journalism and on how three hard-working reporters — Sacha Pfeiffer, Mike Rezendes and Matt Caroll — and editor Walter “Robby” Robinson doggedly pursued the truth and a story that was bigger than anyone imagined.

It’s being compared to “All the President’s Men.” That 1976 movie about dashing young reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s uncovering the truth behind the Watergate break-in for The Washington Post was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four. It inspired a generation of reporters.

Those still working at newspapers have seen their newsrooms shrink around them like melting ice floes as newspapers struggle to survive in the digital age. Many papers have shut down their investigative staffs to cut costs. Surveys, though, show readers want in-depth reporting.

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