Class Notes 2/28/17

Spotlight- Movie based on true story

Boston Globe investigated Catholic Church priest abuse started in 2002

Hollywood version is very close to what happened in real life

Investigative techniques

role of insider and role of outsider

sometimes when you’re inside a story it’s hard to see the big picture

how does an investigative story like this get reported?

Boston, Mass.1976

jump to 2001

Spotlight team- 4 person investigative team, keep work confidential

reality of business- shrinking readers, financial problems

“we can do better”- great philosophy

Eileen MacNemara’s column led to the investigation

Baron doesn’t think they’ve done a thorough job investigating the case- outsider

started by talking to lawyers

need to be more discreet than usual

pulled clips from files

wants to sue the Catholic Church

53% of subscriber base Catholic

face to face with Cardinal

interaction between journalist and lawyer who doesn’t want to talk- lawyer doesn’t want to talk, journalist uses influence of paper, gets to talk to some of the victims

80 plaintiffs, allegations against cardinal law

SNAP- victim support group, talked to Salviano (leader) about past abuse from priest- you just go along with it because he made you feel special, robbed of innocence and faith

find another priest in old clips from own archives- story comes from their own history, individual stories are nothing compared to the whole

Church settled old cases

trying to find a pattern

Salviano sent stuff 5 years ago and they didn’t do anything with it- they run checks on him to make sure he’s a credible source

journalist following lawyer around the street to try to talk to him

lawyer gets interested when Spotlight is digging

asking permission to take notes, not using name unless victim wants to

interview victims to get their stories

correlating priests to god

victim seems surprised that the journalist really wants to hear the story

victims lives spiraled down after that- drugs/alcohol/suicide

trying to keep it quiet

look through old priest directories

no records of settlements, never filed in court

“it takes an outsider”

“if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one”

work backwards

6% of all priests

editor-outside wants to focus on institution not individual to make a difference

going after the system

going door to door to find victims

one of the priests admits it to reporter (packwin)

think that because judge was catholic, she would side with the church

everything stopped because of 9/11

business is very competitive- want to get things first and timing is right

got public records that proved law knew about the priests

“the trick is, to keep asking”

600 stories published in Boston globe

249 priests and brothers accused

1,000 survivors









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