The Importance of Spotlight10:06 PM
Let me start off by saying I hate giving my opinion on movies or TV shows - even music. I feel like I'm not qualified to truly critique a film, and I'm always wary of the fact that I could love something that my friend hates and vice versa. So, as much as I can, I stay away from giving opinions about these things. Ask my friends how annoyed they are at my generic answers whenever they ask me if a movie is good.
But, I watched "Spotlight" yesterday with one of my journalism friends and haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. This isn't what I normally post about or remotely close to anything I ever thought I'd post about here, but it was something I've been thinking about all day at work today and needed to write after seeing the film as a journalism student in the digital age.
I think to get into how much the movie meant to me and how much of an impact it had on me, I have to disclose a couple of things if you're reading this and aren't one of the handful of friends I've given this link to: I study journalism at Northeastern University in Boston. "Spotlight" is about the true Pulitzer-winning investigation by the Boston Globe's Spotlight team led by Walter "Robby" Robinson that "uncovered massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese," quoted from IMDb, in 2002. Robby graduated from my school, Northeastern, and was a professor there for seven years before he returned to the Globe in 2014.
Now that that's out of the way, I can begin by saying I think it's amazing that there is a Hollywood production focused on journalism, more importantly a newspaper staff. Sometimes rightfully so, the public ridicules and dismisses the media, but I hope this movie sheds a light on how important journalism is when done right. I sincerely hope people walk out of theaters not only talking about their disgust for the astounding number of priests guilty of child molestation, but also discussing how much time, effort, and heart Spotlight put into the investigation.
Things are different now in the digital age when everyone is rushing to be the first to break a story, even if it may be inaccurate, but I think that is the competition, greed, and outside pressures coming into play. I believe those intrinsic values a journalist needs to have, obvious in every member of Spotlight, need to stay a priority. The reason why the public fails to trust the media these days is because these values of accuracy, thoroughness, and obligation to the public haven't been a priority.
Still, it angers me when people brush off the press like we aren't important. Yes, things have so obviously changed with the Internet boom, and there is a lot of "journalism" out there that may warrant this sort of response (I've definitely gotten frustrated with my share of outlets, just like everyone else), but I hope this movie reminds people that journalism is important. Reading the news, keeping newspapers alive, letting teams like Spotlight do their job - it's all so important.
|Michael Keaton and Walter Robinson (source)|
I've never taken one of Robby's classes while he was teaching at Northeastern, but it's still completely mind-blowing and bizarre to think that there is a movie, especially one with the cast that this one has, out nationwide based on someone that I saw constantly in our journalism building. To think that most people are going to picture Michael Keaton when they think of Robby and simply see him as a character is so strange to think about.
His investigative journalism class for upperclassmen was always the class that everyone wanted to take. I am, by no means, in the same league of journalism as my peers, seeing as my experience is rooted in entertainment media, but this class was one of those things that every single person talked about and waited for the chance to take. Unfortunately, when I hit my upperclassmen years, I stopped spending as much time in Boston because I took co-ops (essentially full-time "internships," if you're unfamiliar) outside of Boston and studied abroad, so I never had the chance to take the class with Robby before he went back to the Globe.
I know I'm not changing lives and breaking enormous scandals the way my friends working in hard-hitting journalism are, but watching this movie and seeing the work that Spotlight did so passionately made me incredibly proud to consider myself a part of this community as a whole and NU Journalism specifically, with Robby's connection to our school as an alumnus and now former professor.
I may not originally be from Boston, but that city has become my second home. The Globe is the first paper I personally ever subscribed to. My friends have been involved in Pulitzer-winning coverage at the Globe. This movie made me so proud and excited for all the stories to come. What a huge victory for journalism.