“I didn’t decide to take on the Catholic Church. I decided to pursue a story”

The JC

By Stephen Applebaum, January 29, 2016

One of the hottest contenders for the Best Picture Oscar is Spotlight, which tells the powerful, true story of how the eponymous team of investigative reporters at the Boston Globe newspaper exposed a decades-long cover-up by the Catholic Church to protect priests guilty of sexually abusing children.

That the investigation took place at all is credited to the Globe’s first Jewish editor, Marty Baron (played by Liev Schreiber in the film), who, on his first day at the paper, saw a story that he felt needed to be pursued.

Baron had come from the Miami Herald and was an unusual appointment. “The newspaper had been accustomed to having people who have a strong connection to Boston be in charge of it,” he tells me from his office at the Washington Post, where he is now executive editor, “and I think the entire community was accustomed to that as well. I had spent almost no time in the city and so I was labelled an outsider – and made to feel like an outsider.”

While being “somewhat the object of wariness” created discomfort, he had the advantage of being able to “see things through fresh eyes”, he suggests. “I didn’t have any attachments to the community at all. I had no allegiances, no obligations as a result of friendship, nothing like that. So I think that allowed me to approach things with some level of distance and objectivity.”

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