Name two journalism lessons you learned from “Spotlight.” Describe each:

  1. Never rush a story. At times, the team wanted to publish what they had, but patience led to much more detailed findings, resulting in a much better story that garnered much more success.
  2. Never give up. This team went up against one of the most powerful churches in the world, and despite so many people telling them to let the story go, they stuck with it. Even when threats came their way, they still followed through with it.
  3. Good always defeats bad. Bad people may exist in the world, but the extent that good people are willing to go in order to achieve justice will always outweigh the bad.
  4. Never take no for an answer. Even if people are hesitant to talk to you or even outright rude, there is always a way to get the information you need, ethically of course.
  5. Write about something you are passionate about. It will cause you to really be dedicated to the story, and be interested in getting the whole truth, no matter the cost. When you are tired, frustrated, discouraged, etc., your passion will drive you to continue pushing until you have the story completed, even if it takes a long time.
  6. Do what it takes. Although there were situations where doors were slammed in the journalists’ face, they did what it took to obtain the story.
  7. Keep going. No matter what obstacle presented itself, the team continued to aim for the truth. Determination was a drive they inspired me to develop.
  8. Know your readers. The best reporting and stories are the ones that have a direct affect on readers and may even lead readers to speak up about the topic. This happened with the story in “Spotlight.” The rest of the victims would have never come out if the story wasn’t published.
  9. Be thorough. Journalists must have all of the pieces together before presenting their work to the public, which can be time consuming. Knowing when to publish something at the right time is important for a journalist too. – Destiny Walsh
  10. Take risks. You have to take risks in journalism to get life changing stories, and if you take risks, you may uncover something really important. – Margaret Wallace
  11. Integrity. The “Spotlight” team had integrity. They did what it took to get the truth out to the public and expose the wrongdoers. – Margaret Wallace
  12. Don’t be afraid to shine a light on what is hidden. When we hide in the darkness, we are doing nothing more than suppressing the truth. When this team shined the light on the truth, the victims had a sense of freedom. With their persistence, an extremely serious issue was surfaced. We can’t hide in the dark. Never. No matter the issue. – Abby Vance
  13. Journalists have a bigger affect than most people may think. To be honest, I had no idea the influence journalists had could be so monumental before watching this movie. If one of the editors hadn’t had this idea, the issue would have been overlooked forever – or until someone else was brave enough to shine that light. Journalists have a vision. They’re persistent and chase their goals. – Abby Vance
  14. Firsthand sources are the most reliable. When we get the information straight from people who have experienced things, it makes the story more credible. – Elizabeth Toso
  15. Go for it. If there is a story you feel passionate about, but it would be risky, go for it. Stepping outside of the box and talking about things that are important can make a difference. – Elizabeth Toso
  16. Teamwork and patience. Both can be described easily as integral parts of journalism. It takes teamwork to gather information, check, verify and craft a message for mass distribution. Likewise, patience must accompany the teamwork. It fosters cooperation. – Matt Thompson
  17. Use sources, documents, data and facts. These journalists had to start from the bottom and gather facts, documents and data, essentially evidence, to build their case against the Catholic Church. This is an important part of journalism because, without it, there would be no case, and there would be no story. For breakthrough stories, journalists search out these people or things that can take the story from nothing to something. This is exactly what the journalists in “Spotlight” did. – Morgan Taylor
  18. Wait until all information is gathered. They had plenty of chances to expose one or two priests, but instead, they waited to be in a position to get them all. This made their story have much more impact than it initially would have. – Chauncey Taylor
  19. New terms. I had never heard of a sealed document, nor did I know the particulars of how to get access to them until I watched this movie. – Chauncey Taylor
  20. Journalists are important. A journalist has one of the most important jobs in a society. A journalist is someone who is constantly in search of the truth. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get the truth and share it with others, no matter how hard people try to conceal it. – Abby Tait
  21. No glamour. Being a journalist is not always the most glamorous job in the world. It’s long hours. It’s a lot of paperwork. You’re not always appreciated for the work you do, but you have to remember how important your contribution is, and you have to understand that if others knew the information you do, they’d know how important you are too. – Abby Tait
  22. Trust your instinct. If you believe there is a story there that can shine a light on a particularly relevant topic, then explore that instinct. If journalists ignored the instinct that there was an international story in the works, the movie would not exist today. – Elliot Sudduth
  23. Don’t stop. I learned to stop at nothing to produce a story that you are passionate about. This journalist team in “Spotlight” worked together to achieve the success of shining light on a crime. Despite many fallbacks, the journalists stopped at nothing to produce this story. – Elliot Sudduth
  24. Journalism is difficult. The most important stories to report are often the most difficult. This is why journalism is so important. Children were being abused by religious authorities, and everyone wanted to look the other way. It takes a talented and dedicated journalist to inform the masses of such occurrences, despite such powerful opposition. But if not them, who? If not now, when? – Ansley Stephenson
  25. Push your limits and test your boundaries or you may miss something. “Spotlight” journalists faced uncharted territory, uncertainty and newly discovered facts and details along the way. They weren’t intimidated or overwhelmed. – Ansley Stephenson
  26. Be persistent. To be a good journalist, you must be persistent and not afraid to get down and dirty. It’s not easy to produce a well written story unless you put in a lot of time and effort. – Samantha Stephans
  27. Write about what you care about. Writing about something you care about makes it much easier to work. Make sure you’re writing for the right reasons. – Samantha Stephans
  28. Don’t be scared of the public’s opinion. Publish what you feel needs to be published. – Kedrick Smith
  29. Be real. Don’t hide anything. Tell the truth. – Kedrick Smith
  30. Be respectful. Always be as respectable as possible when interviewing someone for the story. In this movie, it seemed like the best way to get the most information from the subject in the interview is to be patient and let them lead the way. Don’t be too pushy or the person conducting the interview will scare them away. – Noah Scannell
  31. Journalism is a lot of work. The investigative reporters in “Spotlight” had very long hours and a lot of work to do. Journalism is definitely not for everyone. – Noah Scannell
  32. Always keep digging for that story. Never give up, and keep asking questions. Journalists serve the people, and they can bring justice to those who need it. – C. Olivia Sanders
  33. Facts are important. When something doesn’t seem right, or it seems fishy, journalists fill in that missing link with cold, hard facts and evidence. – C. Olivia Sanders.
  34. Don’t stop until the whole truth is uncovered. People will tell you no, but there is always going to be someone who will tell the truth. Don’t be discouraged. Keep looking. – Cat Sanders
  35. There are sides to every story. It’s your job to determine which one is the truth. People will try to manipulate you, but you need to be able to see past the bluster and BS to uncover the truth. – Cat Sanders
  36. Journalism can have a positive impact. I learned that although media can be negative, journalism can impact people in such a positive way, and it is important. Through the use of journalists in the movie, many people feel freed of their sad pasts, and can live their lives in peace. – Shanleigh Roberts
  37. Multiple sources are important. I learned how important it is to have multiple sources and reliable evidence when creating a case or new story. Oftentimes, news stories are controversial, and as a writer in the movie said, ‘If there’s one flaw, they’ll pick the entire case apart.’ Shanleigh Roberts
  38. I learned about investigative journalism. It is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate topics, such as crimes, political corruption, etc. I also learned about local journalism, which is reporting of the news in a certain (local) area. – Ashtin Riad
  39. Every story must be told. These allegations needed to be told to the public to better the world to get justice for these innocent young boys. – Madison Rettig
  40. Sometimes a story can hurt others. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell a story because it will hurt people close to you. You have to put those emotions aside and get the story out there to be heard. – Madison Rettig
  41. If it’s important, don’t give up. The writers of “Spotlight” wanted that story to be published regardless how many people kept telling them to stop looking into the cases within the church. They were adamant about getting justice for the boys who were affected by these cases, and they didn’t care about the possible consequences. They worked long hours and met with so many different people multiple times to make sure they got everything right. It truly was inspiring to watch. – Ashton Rawls
  42. No story is too small. In “Spotlight,” they discover they had a lot of the information of this case right under their noses for years. They even posted a couple of stories about it, but nothing to the extent that it needed to be. It wasn’t until they really dug deep that they realized just how big this thing was about to become. It went from one or two priests to around 90 or so. Lesson being, no one story is too small to just be pushed under the rug because you never know what you are going to find. – Ashton R
  43. Perseverance. Even when some things blocked the journalists’ ability to continue their research, or finish the story, they never stopped trying or stopped finding different ways to get around the obstacles. – Emily Reynolds
  44. Don’t take it personal. Even when the story is hard, you can’t let it interfere with your personal life, or let your beliefs get in the way. One of the journalists found it very difficult when researching and writing because she was Catholic. Her grandmother was also a strong believer in the Catholic Church and went every week. Even though the story was hard to write, and she knew the news would be devastating to her grandma. The journalist knew she must continue with the story. – Emily Reynolds
  45. Persistence is key. The more you push and the harder you work, the better your results. The church could’ve and would’ve easily squashed the team’s story if the journalists were not all extremely tenacious. – Reagan Pepper
  46. Sensitivity. It doesn’t matter if you’re just there to “get the story.” You have to establish some sort of relationship with the people you interview. The more comfortable they are, the more they are willing to tell you. – Reagan Pepper
  47. Always do what is right, no matter the circumstances. That is sometimes hard because people of power will do everything to stop you, but you have to do the right thing like this group of journalists did. – Seth Mohundro
  48. Always tell the truth. The editor would not put out this story to the public until he had proof that it was absolutely true. A source on the inside confirmed the truth, then they came out with it. – Seth Mohundro
  49. Keep looking for doors. No matter how many walls they ran into, they kept getting up and finding a door. That really has stuck with me. Also, just because they were going against a big power, that did not deter them from uncovering the truth and doing their jobs. – Seth Monhundro
  50. The power of journalism. An investigative journalist has the ability to prevent tragedy, scandal, abuse and conflict by informing the public. – Brantley Meaders
  51. Strength. A good journalist is not coerced or bought out by powerful institutions who need silence, secrecy or good PR. – Brantley Meaders
  52. Get the whole story. “Spotlight” taught me that if you want to have a news story exposing something that really hits and resonates, it must be fully formed and show the entire scope of a story to make a major impact. At anytime, the team could have published bits and pieces of their story, but they knew this wouldn’t have had the same effect. – Eoin McKenna
  53. Legal issues. “Spotlight” also taught me about the intense legality which can be tied up in a story like this, and you can’t publish whatever you want or you will be sued. – Eoin McKenna
  54. Compete against yourself. I learned that your biggest competition should be yourself. You should always strive to be better than yesterday, and strive to be even better tomorrow. – Lexi McCoy
  55. The trail of accountability. The journalists’ didn’t want to just solve who raped/molested these children. They wanted to find out the greater scheme of why this is happening and how to stop it. They want to find out who is truly accountable. That is a good journalist – not someone who just gets enough information about the story, but someone who solves problems. – Laine-Alden Mansour
  56. Teamwork. Another lesson I learned is how important it is for reporters to work as a team. The team in “Spotlight” is diverse, but they overcame their diversities for a bigger purpose. – Laine Alden-Mansour
  57. Timing is everything. They couldn’t run the story after 9/11, and they couldn’t run it around Christmas. They had to be strategic and sensitive to what was already happening in the news. They wanted to generate the most buzz, and timing mattered. – Brittney N. Jackson
  58. Be credible. When dealing with a large, powerful group, have credible information. Much of the movie was the journalists researching and finding information about the legitimacy of the rape cases. They were making huge allegations against a powerful group. – Brittney N. Jackson
  59. Remove yourself from the equation. Do not let your emotions, opinions, feelings, color your piece. Present the facts. It’s your job to inform the public, and it’s there job to form an opinion. – Isaac Harrelson
  60. Journalists are not always going to be liked. Oftentimes, journalists must write on a controversial topic, and others will give them hate for not agreeing with their opinions. A journalist might also have to do a risky or investigative story that a whole society will give you hate about, so they must keep a thick skin and not worry too much about others’ opinions.