Tag Archives: Boston Globe

Michael Kranish leaves Boston Globe for Washington Post

Michael Kranish. Photo via Twitter.

Michael Kranish. Photo via Twitter.

Longtime Boston Globe reporter Michael Kranish is leaving for The Washington Post, where he will be reunited with former Globe editor Marty Baron, now the Post’s executive editor. Kranish is currently deputy chief of the Globe’s Washington bureau. Here’s the Post’s announcement:

We’re thrilled to announce that Michael Kranish will join The Washington Post as an investigative political reporter, bringing his formidable reporting and writing talents to what is already the best politics staff in American journalism.

Michael is known for anchoring the Boston Globe’s peerless in-depth biographical explorations of presidential candidates and for an impressive body of work that combines a strong focus on accountability with a gift for narrative writing. Currently deputy chief of the Globe’s Washington bureau, he has covered Congress, the White House and national politics for more than 25 years.

He was a co-winner of the 2013 Dirksen award for a series on Washington dysfunction for which he was a project leader, writing many of the stories and editing others, and has been the main writer of the Globe’s excellent 2015 series, “Divided Nation,” which has explored income inequality, racial disharmony and other areas of American discord.

His definitive piece this year on Jeb Bush’s colorful time at Andover drew a wide readership and was all the more remarkable because Michael produced it under a tight, self-imposed deadline, driven by concern that The Post might scoop him on an important political story in the Globe’s backyard. “Let’s just say I needed every one of the eight days I had,” he says.

Michael is a co-author of books that Globe reporters produced on John Kerry and Mitt Romney. He’s also the author of a work of history, “Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War,” published by Oxford University Press in 2010.

Before moving to Washington in 1988, Michael covered New England from a bureau in Concord, N.H. and business from the Boston newsroom. His run at the Globe was preceded by jobs at the Miami Herald, where his reporting helped prompt Miami Beach to abandon its plan to tear down part of what is now known as the historic Art Deco district in South Beach, and the Lakeland Ledger in Lakeland, FL.

A DC-area native and a devoted cyclist, Michael enjoys rolling with the peloton up MacArthur Boulevard early on weekend mornings. He and his wife, Sylvia, are the parents of two daughters and live in Silver Spring.

Michael will start Jan. 4. Please join us in welcoming him to our new newsroom.

Update: And here is Globe editor Brian McGrory’s memo to the staff:

‘Spotlight’ demonstrates how Hollywood distorts reality

Jack Dunn on WGBH's "Greater Boston."

Jack Dunn on WGBH’s “Greater Boston.”

Previously published at WGBHNews.org.

Consider the contradictions posed by a movie that’s based on a true story. The events are presented as real, yet they are compressed and exaggerated for dramatic effect. The characters — many of them, anyway — are stand-ins for their real-life counterparts, sharing their names and, depending on the skill of the actors, their appearance and mannerisms. Yet the words that come out of their mouths are not things they actually said; rather, they are things the filmmakers imagine they might have said.

Or, as at least four people in the film Spotlight claim, things that they never said, never would have said, and that tarnish their reputations.

  • Update: Open Road, the distributor of Spotlight, has issued a statement defending the accuracy of the portrayal of Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn. See details at the end of this post.

In fact, there is nothing new or unusual about such complaints. They are inherent to the genre of “true life” stories, quotation marks used advisedly. Spotlight is a terrific movie — maybe the best film about journalism since All the President’s Men. That doesn’t excuse smearing the names of good people, if that is indeed what has happened. But it does underline the problems that can arise in the making of fact-based fiction rooted in real events and real people.

The most aggrieved of the Spotlight four is Jack Dunn, the spokesman for Boston College and a trustee at Boston College High School. Dunn’s character is seen as minimizing the pedophile-priest scandal in a meeting attended by Boston Globe reporters Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer. It was, Dunn said in a column by the Globe’s Kevin Cullenand in an interview on WGBH’s Greater Boston, the opposite of the approach he took.

“The dialogue assigned to me is completely fabricated and represents the opposite of who I am and what I did on behalf of victims,” Dunn told Cullen, adding that he literally threw up after seeing the movie. “It makes me look callous and indifferent.”

The others who’ve spoken out are Eric MacLeish, a lawyer for many of the victims, who is cast — wrongly, he says — as helping to cover up the scandal by reaching secret settlements with the church; longtime investigative reporter Steve Kurkjian, who comes across as a skeptic of his colleagues’ work; and former Globe publisher Richard Gilman, who, in a commentary for the Arizona Daily Star, debunks a scene in the movie in which he is seen telling editor Marty Baron about his worries that going after the Catholic Church might hurt the paper’s bottom line. Gilman puts in a good word for Kurkjian as well.

Kurkjian is someone I know and respect. So I sympathize with him when he says (as he told Jack Encarnacao of the Boston Herald), “They sort of put words in our mouth. You can’t do that and not have your motives and your professionalism called into question.”

Yet such complaints are hardly unique to Spotlight. Indeed, they were an issue in All the President’s Men, the last time a movie about investigative reporting commanded the national stage. In her 2007 book Woodward and Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate, Alicia Shepard writes that fictional elements of the movie resulted in deep wounds in The Washington Post’s newsroom — wounds that, in some cases, never fully healed.

In particular, Shepard tells us, top editors Barry Sussman and Howard Simons suffered “permanent psychic damage” — Sussman for being left out of the film altogether despite playing an important role in the early days of the Watergate story, Simons for coming across as a reluctant warrior who had to be prodded by executive editor Ben Bradlee when, in fact, the opposite was true, at least early on. Shepard continues:

Bradlee and Simons had been such close friends that they had promised to take care of each other’s children if anything ever happened to one of them. Yet Simons became so embittered by the movie version co-opting the truth that their friendship was never the same, though they did make peace before Simons died in 1989.

My own encounter with the limitations of the true-life genre came in the late 1990s with the release of A Civil Action, a second-rate movie starring John Travolta that was based on a first-rate book of the same name written by the journalist Jonathan Harr. The book and movie told the story of a 1986 trial in federal court over contaminated wells in Woburn that had been linked to a number of childhood leukemia cases, some fatal. I spent years covering the story, including the trial and its aftermath, for The Daily Times Chronicle of Woburn.

The film took numerous liberties with the facts, and I wrote about some of them for The New Republic. Among other things, the judge, Walter Jay Skinner, was presented as an ogre who was out to destroy the families’ lawyer, Jan Schlichtmann. The Skinner I observed during the 78-day trial was a fair-minded jurist who occasionally became angry over Schlichtmann’s frantic, clumsy courtroom presentation. The trial didn’t end well for Schlichtmann or his clients, but that had much to do with the limits of 1980s science, not with Judge Skinner.

As for Spotlight, I suspect the controversy will blow over rather quickly. Jack Dunn has hired legal help and is demanding that the movie be edited (not likely) and that he receive an apology (possible).

“These are hard cases, emotionally and legally,” Robert Bertsche, a prominent First Amendment lawyer with the Boston law firm Prince Lobel, told me by email. “If they pressed their claims in court, those who claim they are injured by their portrayal in this film would have to prove that the depiction of them was not protected opinion, and not based on facts that are substantially true. Thirteen years later, that will be an immensely difficult task.”

The thing is, Spotlight is a hell of a movie that tells some important truths about the role of journalism in holding powerful institutions to account. You should see it.

But a movie such as Spotlight is not a documentary. It is a work of fiction, based on true events. “Jack Dunn” is not Jack Dunn. What happened to him, Eric MacLeish, Steve Kurkjian and Richard Gilman has happened to many others in many movies over the course of many years. It may not be fair. But that’s show biz.

Update: Open Road, the distributor of Spotlightissued a statement to The Wrap earlier this week defending the accuracy of its portrayal of Jack Dunn. “The production believes in everyone’s right to speak their minds on the complicated legacy of this important story,” a spokesman is quoted as saying. “Jack Dunn is no exception. However, we disagree with his characterization of the scene as misleading.”

The statement goes on to say that Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer reviewed the scene in question, and that they believe it reflects “the substance of what occurred during this initial interview at BC High.” The statement continues that the scene “portrays Mr. Dunn acting as any reasonably cautious representive of BC High would have during a first meeting, especially one who is a public relations professional, alumnus, and trustee.”

Update II: Lawyers for Jack Dunn and for the filmmakers have exchanged letters as the war of words heats up. The Globe has now published an article on the dispute as well.


The Globe makes some headway on digital subscriptions

Photo (cc) by Tom Cole.

Photo (cc) by Tom Cole.

Also published at WGBHNews.org.

Newspaper analyst Ken Doctor takes a look at The Boston Globe’s strategy of charging 99 cents a day for digital access and pronounces it promising. Indeed, at a time when advertising in print newspapers is on the decline and digital advertising seems unlikely ever to make up the difference, it seems clear that large regional newspapers like the Globe have got to persuade their audience to pick up a bigger share of the tab if they’re going to survive.

The article is well worth reading in full. Here are a few takeaways.

1. As Doctor notes, The New York Times now has more than 1 million digital-only subscribers. The Globe has just 65,000. That’s not a gap — it’s a chasm. Yet the Globe has proved to be the most successful regional paper in the country at selling digital subscriptions. Doctor attributes the difference to dramatically less interest in local and regional news than in national and international news.

Doctor adds: “The Globe, under editor Brian McGrory’s direction, produces a high volume of high-quality content each day.” True. Unfortunately, you can pick up the regional paper in nearly any city and find a lot less than what you’ll find in the Globe, which would make the dollar-a-day strategy a dubious proposition in most places.

2. Who exactly is paying 99 cents a day for the digital Globe? Not me. We’ve been subscribers since the 1980s. We currently receive the Sunday print edition, which gives us seven-day digital access. The price has crept up gradually, but we’re still paying just $19.96 a month. That works out to a little less than 66 cents a day.

My point is that the Globe does not have 65,000 readers paying 99 cents a day for digital access. Some percentage of them are paying less than that. Doctor does make it clear that there’s a transition in the works, but he doesn’t break down the numbers. Eventually, he adds, the Globe needs to hit 200,000 digital subscribers in order to claim success.

3. The big question, which Doctor doesn’t broach, is whether anyone under 40 is even interested in an aggregated news package, or if instead they’re content to get news from a variety of different sources such as Facebook or Apple News. By far the biggest challenge faced by the news business as we used to know it is not the shift from print to digital, but from reliance on a few branded news organizations to a cacophony mediated by tech companies.

In other words, what the Globe is doing may well work for older subscribers like me. But what happens when people in their 20s and 30s, whose main exposure to the Globe is through social sharing, enter their 40s and 50s? Are they going to change their news consumption habits? Probably not.

Globe watch: A lawyer’s lament, and Stat’s discontents

Two items of note regarding The Boston Globe.

1. Eric MacLeish, a prominent lawyer who represented numerous victims of pedophile priests, is objecting to his portrayal in the movie “Spotlight.” An item in the Globe’s “Names” column notes, “Curiously, MacLeish hasn’t seen the movie.” Yet someone must have given MacLeish a good briefing, as the bill of particulars he posted on Facebook is pretty accurate in summarizing his character in the film: a lawyer who reached confidential settlements with the Catholic Church on behalf of his clients, thus helping to delay the truth from coming out.

Also of note is that Stephen Kurkjian, a legendary Globe investigative reporter who also does not come off well in “Spotlight,” has posted a comment saying in part: “I can attest to how committed you [MacLeish] were — within the confines of attorney-client relationships — to assisting The Globe in getting the story out.”

Of course, such complaints are to be expected when a fictional movie is made about a real-life story and actual people. I experienced this first-hand when the movie about the Woburn toxic-waste story, “A Civil Action,” came out. (I covered the story for The Daily Times Chronicle of Woburn.) I was so incensed by some of what I saw that I wrote about it for The New Republic.

“Spotlight” is a far better — and truer — movie than “A Civil Action.” But it’s not a documentary.

2. Craig Douglas of The Boston Business Journal reports that the Newspaper Guild has some issues with Stat, a website covering health, medicine and life sciences that is part of John Henry’s Boston Globe Media holdings.

As I wrote last week for WGBHNews.org, Stat launched with about 40 journalists just weeks after the Globe eliminated about 40 newsroom positions through buyouts and layoffs. The two developments are said to be unrelated in the sense that Henry is not funding Stat through cuts at the Globe. As Gideon Gil, Stat’s managing editor for enterprise and partnerships, told me, each property has to pursue its own business plan.

Still, Douglas reports, it has not gone unnoticed that union jobs at the Globe have been eliminated while positions at Stat are non-union. Douglas quotes an anonymous union official as saying: “The feeling is, those weren’t the last layoffs we’re going to see. It feels like they are trying to expand by killing us from inside.”

Surely Henry can’t be blamed for making cuts in a shrinking business while trying to find innovative ideas that could lead to growth and profitability. But it’s not hard to sympathize with the fears voiced in Douglas’ article.

The Globe’s mobile-first Stat seeks profits in life sciences

Stats top editors, from left, are Stephanie Simon, managing editor for news; Rick Berke, executive editor; and Gideon Gil, managing editor for enterprise and partnerships. Photo by Dan Kennedy.

Stat’s top editors, from left, are Stephanie Simon, managing editor for news; Rick Berke, executive editor; and Gideon Gil, managing editor for enterprise and partnerships. Photo by Dan Kennedy.

Previously published at WGBHNews.org.

Nearly three weeks ago The Boston Globe said goodbye to about 40 full- and part-time staff members as the paper’s executives struggle to keep up with declining revenues and a shrinking ad market.

Today a sister project, Stat, makes its bright and shiny debut. The site covers medicine, health and life sciences with a staff of nearly 40 journalists recruited from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post as well as smaller news organizations. There are another 10 or so employees on the business side.

The two developments shouldn’t be linked except for the timing, according to Stat’s editors. The Globe isn’t being cut in order to fund Stat. Rather, Globe owner John Henry’s decision to launch an ambitious new project shows that he’s willing to experiment with new models of journalism even as the newspaper business contracts. (Henry explains his reasoning in a letter to readers.)

“I see great potential in what we’re doing for the Globe,” says Stat executive editor Rick Berke, a former top editor with The New York Times and, more recently, Politico. “If we can have a sustainable business model here and pull in revenues, that could ultimately help the whole Globe Media organization across the board.”

Adds Gideon Gil, a longtime Globe editor who is now Stat’s managing editor for enterprise and partnerships: “I’m sad about people losing their jobs in the Globe newsroom. Some are longtime colleagues of mine. I feel fortunate that I’m working at Stat, because we have great ambition and a vision to really cover this area. I understand why you and others try to make a connection between them, but we’re separate businesses. We each have our own business plans and have to succeed on our own.”

Stat’s website formally debuted at midnight today, though since August the staff has been producing stories that have run in the Globe. On Tuesday afternoon, the atmosphere in Stat’s interconnected newsrooms on the third floor of the Globe’s Dorchester headquarters was busy but surprisingly non-chaotic given that the launch was less than 10 hours away.

Berke, Gil and Stephanie Simon, another former Politico editor who is the site’s managing editor for news, checked out a promotional video that was near completion. Afterward, the four of us gathered in Berke’s office, dominated by a large, heavily used whiteboard. A bottle of champagne stood unopened on his desk; a gray Stat fleece hung from a hook on his door.

The business model is clearly the most important question facing Stat. If you look at other, smaller verticals the Globe has launched — Crux, which covers the Catholic Church, and BetaBoston, which follows the local innovation economy — you find quality journalism but just a smattering of ads. Indeed, free, advertiser-supported websites are currently out of favor in some circles, since it is thought that you need scale on the order of megasites like The Huffington Post or BuzzFeed to make money.

Gil, though, offers some intriguing ideas. For one thing, he says, Stat is being launched as a free website in part so that its audience can become familiar with the content and so that the staff can collect data on what’s working and what isn’t. Later, he says, Stat will start charging for some of the site’s more specialized content. In addition, a print component — perhaps a monthly or every-other-month magazine — is being considered as a way of reaching a different audience and appealing to print advertisers. (Stat’s chief revenue officer, Angus Macaulay, expands on those ideas in this article by Joseph Lichterman of the Nieman Journalism Lab.)

As for who comprises Stat’s potential audience, Simon has an optimistic answer: pretty much everyone. “We’re looking for ordinary readers who are interested in anything related to health or medicine,” she says. “And we’re for professionals, too. It’s not at all a trade publication or a niche publication. It’s really meant to appeal to a broad audience.”

The lead article in Stat right now — as well as the top story in today’s Globe — is an investigation by Ike Swetlitz into a dubious vitamin company promoted by Donald Trump that later failed. Another feature, by Bob Tedeschi, focuses on the emotional toll for cancer patients who are repeatedly brought back from the brink of death through the use of cutting-edge targeted therapies. Coverage ranges from local to national; Stat has three reporters in Washington and one each in New York and San Francisco, and there are plans for international outposts as well. There’s a daily 6 a.m. email newsletter by Megan Thielking called “Morning Rounds” and a number of other regular features, the full panoply of which is described in this press release.

The site itself is mobile-first, which Gil says is a necessity given that people increasingly do most of their reading on their phones. “People spend so much time focused on what their home page looks like on a desktop,” he says. “And fewer and fewer people actually go to the home page.” As a result, Stat is attractive but a bit random on a desktop computer or a phone. And reading it horizontally on my iPad, which is how I consume a lot of news, is a fairly miserable experience, as tiny rows of type stretch from one margin to the other.

There’s also a lot of video, the better to share on social media — indeed, the editors say about a quarter of the staff consists of multimedia producers.

Unlike Crux or BetaBoston (but like Boston.com), Stat is a separate entity within Boston Globe Media Partners and is more or less independent from the Globe, though the Globe is free to run Stat stories and vice-versa. There are also joint meetings and shared story budgets. In his letter to readers, John Henry writes that he and other Globe executives believe that “a news organization can be most nimble when it is built organically for the digital age.”

At its heart, Stat isn’t really an experiment in providing quality journalism. A large, talented, experienced staff shouldn’t have any trouble doing that. Rather, it’s an experiment in finding a way out of the crisis facing professional news organizations — a crisis defined by the technology-fueled collapse of revenue sources.

“My dream,” says Berke, “is not only to deliver head-turning journalism that you can’t find anywhere else but to find a sustainable business model. And my dream would be to prove that people will pay for important, vital, ambitious journalism.”

Boston Globe Media’s life-sciences site, Stat, makes its debut

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 8.30.03 PM

Stat, a long-in-the-making website covering health and life sciences, debuts today. The site, which employs nearly 40 journalists, is part of The Boston Globe’s media properties and is based mainly at the paper’s headquarters at 135 Morrissey Blvd.

The news was embargoed until midnight.

On Tuesday afternoon I had a chance to interview Stat’s executive editor, Rick Berke, and two of his top deputies. Look for my report around mid-morning Wednesday at WGBHNews.org. Below is a press release from Boston Globe Media Partners.

John Henry and Rick Berke Launch Stat

A Publication Dedicated to Health, Medicine and Life Sciences

November 4, 2015 — Boston — John W. Henry, owner of The Boston Globe and principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, and longtime reporter and editor Rick Berke today launched Stat, a national publication reporting from the frontiers of health, medicine and life sciences. The publication has assembled a news team of nearly 40 top journalists, as well as an engineering team, an advertising team, and a marketing team.

Delivering fast, deep and tough-minded journalism, Stat will take readers inside science labs and hospitals, biotech boardrooms and political backrooms. It will publish breaking news, richly reported feature stories, investigative projects and multimedia presentations throughout the day at Statnews.com.

“Over the next 20 years, some of the most important stories in the world are going to emerge in the life sciences arena. Stat has a tremendous opportunity to uncover vital issues that touch the lives of every human being,” Henry said. “We realized that there was no one doing what we aim to do: be the country’s go-to news source for the life sciences.”

Stat is headquartered in Boston, with additional reporters in New York, San Francisco and Washington, and more to follow in other cities around the world.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to hire dozens of the most talented reporters, writers and multimedia phenoms in the country to join our quest to create a news site with stories you won’t find anywhere else,” said Berke, a former assistant managing editor at The New York Times and executive editor at Politico. “We will take readers behind the scenes of the worlds of science and medicine and introduce them to patients and personalities who are driving a revolution in human health.”

Stat reporters have wasted no time breaking news even before today’s launch. Initial stories, published through its sister publication, The Boston Globe, included an exclusive on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders rejecting a campaign donation from price-hiking pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli; a scoop on President Obama’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration pulling his name off several scientific papers that were critical of the agency; a fascinating deep dive into clinical trials in the age of social media; and an important examination of the shortcomings of precision medicine. Stat has also launched a fast-paced email newsletter, “Morning Rounds,” which has quickly become a must-read.

The Stat editing team is led by three accomplished journalists: The managing editor for news, Stephanie Simon, has been a national reporter for The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and, most recently, Politico. The managing editor for enterprise, Gideon Gil, was the Boston Globe’s health and science editor. Jason Ukman, the senior news editor, was an editor at the Washington Post for 14 years. Gil and Ukman played important roles in editing Pulitzer Prize-winning stories for their organizations.

Stat has developed a sleek website with an emphasis on its mobile version. It has also built out an extensive multimedia unit including animators, a data visualization editor and videographers. Led by New York Times veterans Jeffery DelViscio and Matthew Orr, the team will bring stories to visual life, creating everything from short, social-media-focused video explainers to mini-documentaries to interactive reader experiences.

A strong lineup of regular features is also in the works:

  • Carl Zimmer, Stat national correspondent and a New York Times columnist, will host a monthly video feature called “Science Happens” that will take viewers inside laboratories conducting cutting-edge biomedical research.
  • Veteran pharmaceutical industry reporter Ed Silverman will revive his blog Pharmalot, last at The Wall Street Journal, and will write a weekly column.
  • Sharon Begley, a nationally renowned science writer and formerly an editor at Newsweek, will puncture myths and question conventional wisdom in her column “Gut Check.”
  • Stat will conduct monthly nationwide polling on health and medicine issues in partnership with Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
  • In a new biweekly podcast, “Signal,” leading biotech reporters Meg Tirrell of CNBC and Luke Timmerman of the Timmerman Report will deliver a high-energy mix of news analysis, feature stories and interviews with movers and shakers in the biotech industry.
  • A section called “First Opinion,” overseen by Patrick Skerrett, previously executive editor for Harvard Health Publications, will feature science, medical and financial experts weighing in on the news of the day.
  • Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, of the popular site “Retraction Watch,” will write “The Watchdogs,” focusing on issues of misconduct, fraud and scientific integrity.

In addition, the reporting staff includes former Politico reporter David Nather, a health policy expert who will lead the Stat Washington bureau; Helen Branswell, a renowned global health reporter who comes from The Canadian Press; enterprise reporter David Armstrong, who covered health care on the projects team for Bloomberg News and The Wall Street Journal; senior writer Bob Tedeschi, a longtime New York Times columnist who will write about patients and clinicians; Charles Piller, an award-winning investigative reporter for The Sacramento Bee and The Los Angeles Times; and Seth Mnookin, a contributing writer and prominent author.

Other editors include Elie Dolgin, PhD in evolutionary genetics who was previously an associate editor at The Scientist and senior news editor at Nature Medicine; Lisa Raffensperger, a former web editor at Discover Magazine; and Tony Fong, previously a senior editor at GenomeWeb.

Chief Revenue Officer Angus Macaulay, a veteran executive of publishing companies including Rodale, Hearst Magazines and Time, Inc., leads the business team. Michele Staats, the former head of integrated marketing at Massachusetts General Hospital, is the marketing director at Stat. Peter Bless, a 16-year veteran of scientific and healthcare advertising, is sales director.

For more information please go to Statnews.com, or visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Statnews, or Twitter: https://twitter.com/Statnews.

“Spotlight” is “All the President’s Men” for a new generation

MV5BMjIyOTM5OTIzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDkzODE2NjE@._V1__SX1152_SY632_On Thursday night I had a chance to see an advance screening of “Spotlight,” sponsored by Northeastern’s School of Journalism and the College of Arts, Media and Design. And I was blown away. How often does a movie for which you have high expectations actually live up to them?

As soon as it was over, Northeastern’s Barry Bluestone said something that I was thinking: this is “All the President’s Men” for a new generation. It is at least as good a piece of filmmaking. And it underscores the vital role that journalism plays in hold powerful institutions to account — in this case the Catholic Church, which at one time was the most powerful Boston institution of all.

After the film, five of the Globe journalists portrayed in the film — Walter Robinson, Michael Rezendes, Matt Carroll, Sacha Pfeiffer and Ben Bradlee Jr. — stuck around for a brief discussion. (By the way, I know Robinson fairly well, and Michael Keaton is scary-good at capturing his demeanor.) Two of them, Robinson and Carroll, are Northeastern graduates. Robinson also worked as a journalism professor at Northeastern for seven years before returning to the Globe in 2014.

Congratulations to everyone involved in “Spotlight.” I hope it helps the public understand why the work that great journalists do matters to all of us.