Hooray, daily journalism. Boo, Catholic Church.
That would be the easy way to review the award-winning Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy from the script he co-wrote with Josh Singer about the true tale of how Boston Globe’s investigative team painfully and pain-stakingly put together the series that once and for all brought the decades of abuse and cover-ups by priests and those above them in the Catholic Church and positions of power.
Indeed, those emotions were swirling in the stomach and rattling around the brain and soul of this raised but non-practicing by choice Catholic and college-educated but ousted by industry shrinkage 30-year reporter/editor.
So much so that I even passed on seeing this one when it came out in the theaters in 2015. Too close to the bone still from the 2013 layoff after 30 years in the same newsroom. And what priests were trespassing upon young parishioners was an everywhere story, not just in Boston …
But I heard the buzz, and took the Blu-Ray out of the MediaBank machine and home from the new job at the library so my dear wife Karen and I could catch up to this award winner.
And it was told so well, this story of digging hard, doing what your gut tells you is right despite knowing there are a whole lot of people out there who feel otherwise.
The sins of the church are plain and evident, but not exploited upon. And it’s quite evident that there was enough guilt to spread around in other institutions, too. Yes, even the Boston Globe. Because with a big, thick issue like this, things get messy and complicated.
The cast is fantastic, starting with Michael Keaton as the Boston-bred, should-be wise editor, moving to Mark Ruffalo as the younger buck, won’t-ever-stop reporter and also shining on Liev Schriever as the new-man-in-town top dog who’s got to prove that it’s more than a money matter to the newsroom and the constituency.
All true, this.
This is why we need daily journalism, I thought as the credits rolled. Hooray, indeed.
Yet things have changed so much already since this breaking story, I thought. It is about money, in and out, in this digital age, I know very well. May there still be enough somehow to pay Spotlight teams to turn over rocks so readers can find out about the worms crawling out from underneath.
Do you subscribe or pay somehow for any news-gathering organization, or get your news free online? Would you come down on the side of a self-policing and -protecting church or tell-it-all media? What is or was your favorite newspaper, and why?