‘Nobody Is Minding The Store’

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From top: Colm O’Gorman and director of Spotlight Tom McCarthy at the Light House Cinema in Dublin last night; Spotlight trailer

Last night director of Oscar-nominated film Spotlight Tom McCarthy held a Q&A at the Light House Cinema in Dublin after the movie was screened.

The film tells the true story of a team of journalists from the Boston Globe and their investigation into the cover-up of widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the state – prompted by their new editor who has just joined the newspaper.

During the Q&A, New Jersey-born Irish-American Mr McCarthy, who was raised in a Catholic family and who has personal friends who’ve been abused, spoke about the importance of local journalism.

Colm O’Gorman: “That whole point about how sometimes it takes an outsider to come into a space and get us to look at ourselves, I think is something that will resonate here in Ireland, as well, in many ways for us. Because if we look at our own history on this issue, at many times, it’s not that nobody knew that these things were happening, it was almost the silence around them was accepted and acceptable.

And sometimes it takes a figure… to come in and shake things up and ask us to look at things differently. The other thing that the film is, it’s a phenomenal testament to journalism, I’ve read where you’re talked about it being a tribute to long-form journalism. How important was that for you?”

Tom McCarthy: “I think very important, obviously, this story is set in 2001/2002. The [Boston] Globe was still very much at the height of their powers. There was smoke on the horizon that bad times were coming, the internet was sort of biting into their classified revenue, which is very important to a local paper like The Boston Globe… I think specifically in our country there’s a misconception of the state of journalism, that because there’s so much information on the interweb, that we no longer need long-form, legacy journalism.

But, you know, from my experience and research, as legacy journalism, newspapers continue to decline and, you know, the internet sort of takes off. The question is where is all this information coming from. A lot of these sites are aggregate, so where are they aggregating from. It’s in decline, where’s the coal coming from? And the answer is: nowhere. It’s just diminished, there’s fewer reporters, there’s fewer boots on the ground, specifically at a local level. And the more research we did, the more alarming it was about the state of journalism. Clay Shirky who’s done a lot of writing on this, in the States, said to us, it’s a very good time to be in local corruption because, quite honestly, nobody is minding the store.”

Previously: Broadsheet Trailer Park: Spotlight

Pic: Le Cool Dublin

7 thoughts on “‘Nobody Is Minding The Store’

  1. Smith

    Hope McCarthy wins best screenplay Oscar. Nominated for ‘Up.’ I love his lower budget films though: ‘The Station Agent’ is a beautiful little film, as is ‘The Visitor’ and ‘Win Win.’

    1. cluster

      I guess he means journalism which is engaged with a specific region – i.e. they have a base, Boston, and they ‘do journalism’ within that base,

      As opposed to Buzzfeed etc. Broadsheet doesn’t do a tap of investigative journalism, although tbf it does campaign on ‘local’ issues. Unless the much-maligned RTE or Irish TImes etc. uncover it, then probably Broadsheet & by extension, their readership doesn’t know anything about it

      In ‘Page One: Inside the NY Times’ one of the journalists was pointing out how he doesn’t see many of the ‘new media’ at zoning board meetings & providing oversight to other similar mundane, resource-heavy but important activities at a city level.

  2. Barry

    Local in the USA, which has only one small national paper. Never mind the local, Spotlight clearly illustrates the cuture of courage of journalists and journalism that they have. At a point in time where “the media” are puffing and blowing abut GSOC, we need, and certainly needed at the height of the child abuse by priests, courageous journalism.

    It should be an obligation for all journalists to go and see Spotlight.

  3. formerly known as @ireland.com

    Rupert inherited a local newspaper, in Adelaide. He has bought a few more.

  4. Clampers Outside!

    “…..in our country there’s a misconception of the state of journalism, that because there’s so much information on the interweb, that we no longer need long-form, legacy journalism.”

    I like to think that that attitude isn’t the same here. Broadsheet’s chronological aggregating of stories into coherent long form threads are popular (or so I believe). And thejournal have done this on occasion too. While not exactly the same as what the man is speaking of, I do believe these show an appetite for long form.

    Soooo looking forward to seeing this movie.

    1. cluster

      I wish I agree.

      I can only think of a handful of sources of ‘long-form’ journalism these days like the New Yorker, NY Times, FT, London Review of Books…

      None of them are Irish. Does the IT do anything approaching ‘long-form’? Perhaps the lead weekend story.

      Magill did some great articles way back when. Not sure if there’s anybody about doing that sort of stuff here anymore?

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