Spotlight deserves it

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November 24, 2015 by jacklovelace

My anticipation was high when I went to see Spotlight. When you live and breathe journalism for a career, and then use journalism movies to teach it, you care.

Spotlight is so deserving of praise. It is being billed as the best journalism movie since All The President’s Men, and that is a fair comparison.

This time we follow reporters for the Boston Globe going after sexual abuse by priests.

One of the many great things about the movie is how the reporters are not just noble and certainly not perfect. Michael Keaton deserves an Oscar nomination and so does Mark Ruffalo. And Rachel McAdam was my biggest surprise, she is especially good too.

My quibble is almost funny. Reporters at the time the movie takes place relied primarily on taking handwritten notes.

So we get scene after scene of them scribbling while these revelations pour out of the people they interview. But there is no way, even with the best shorthand, they actually were transcribing what was being said.

It is a movie and the real-time it takes to slow interviews down and not make eye contact while you write, just doesn’t fit with movie speed.

When I told my wife this she rolled her eyes and pointed out how few would be aware of this, much less care. And she’s right.

Great movie. I hope it wins a lot of awards.

It also serves as a reminder how we need journalism to be able to take the time to dig deep, something in shorter and shorter supply.

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