Journalism occupies a pretty odd position in the opinions of American citizens. On one hand, it's a profession that is constantly lambasted for being biased and untrustworthy, for not telling the full truth, and even for manipulating the public to serve its own interests. On the other, journalism was deemed important enough by the founding fathers to include specifically in the First Amendment of the Constitution. To them, journalism was a key line of defense against crime, tyranny, and conspiracy.
In the midst of election season, people tend to think of the former. They're not necessarily wrong, either. Like other businesses, journalism unfortunately does have its interests as well. This past December, however, we got a reminder of just how important good journalism can be.
For a horrifyingly extensive period of time, the Catholic Church in Boston and around the world covered up the sexual abuse of children by priests and monks. In 2016, most people are aware of this-all because of the hard work and dedication of the Boston Globe's Spotlight team in 2001 and 2002. Over the course of their coverage, the team wrote over 600 articles on victims, abusers, and the Church's coverup, tearing the lid off one of the mafia-like actions of a group that should have been dedicated to good.
The Spotlight team is truly the pinnacle of journalism. People like them are the reason the profession was written in to the constitution. In a time where citizens at large are extremely skeptical about the press, this year's Best Picture did an exceptional job showing just what the team had to do to bring the truth to the public. It's an important movie for both citizens and journalists.
It's easy as a journalist to just cover the stuff handed to you, to not dig any farther than what's required. Even Walter Robinson, a member of the Spotlight team, didn't originally want to investigate the abuse issue. When he and the team finally did, though, they opened the door for victims to get the help they needed, and for abusers to be prosecuted as criminals-not just in Boston, but around the nation, and even the globe. The diligent work of less than ten people was all it took.