I just watched the movie ‘Spotlight’ for the second time and a few things really stuck out, now that I’m an official journalism student:
It is realistic while maintaining a suspenseful story line: when professions are represented in the movies or TV, I’m skeptical as to how faithful they’ve been to the real thing; even if details are basically right, most jobs look really cool in movies – it’s a movie, they only show the interesting parts. In this movie, sitting around reading and writing has never looked so intense and awesome (this is a huge win for nerds). But this is perhaps as far as the dramatization of journalism careers goes. The rest of the movie is sitting around having slightly uncomfortable conversations, face-palming, and outright rage.
The story unfolds like a mystery: it shows the whole reporting process, all the weeks and months slogging away through texts, finding sources, convincing those sources to actually talk to you, convincing the higher-ups that your story is important and you don’t need to find a better one.
The whole of the investigation the Spotlight team undertakes: I grew up in a very legalistic Christian world and the hypocrisy was all around me, every day. That these four people took the time and effort to expose that, to bring it out into the open for ‘God and everybody to see’ is beautiful enough; that Hollywood made a movie about it – a HUGE, award-winning film – is vindication.
I feel the same the second time around as I did the first: I want to go into the field of journalism. I have to. I might not ever be a part of something as big as the Catholic Priest scandal, but there are endless stories someone needs to write, because people need to speak and people need to hear.