Newspaper Industry News

Movie with Oscar buzz features ink-stained heroes

New York Times photo by Kerry Hayes/Films From left, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton and John Slattery as journalists in “Spotlight,” about a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation.
New York Times photo by Kerry Hayes/Films
From left, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton and John Slattery as journalists in “Spotlight,” about a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation.

LOS ANGELES — They have been whipsawed by the web and left jobless by the thousands in round after round of layoffs and early retirements.

Their public standing just barely rises above that of lobbyists and telemarketers.

But against all odds, the hottest heroes in Hollywood — at least in this early stage of the Oscar hunt — are a bunch of scruffy, middle-aged newspaper journalists.

Those reporters and editors are featured in “Spotlight,” a forthcoming film that tells how The Boston Globe managed to uncover the sexual abuse of children in the Roman Catholic Church.

It is a movie with an unusual degree of purpose, and more than a whiff of nostalgia for a newspaper business that has been radically transformed since the film’s action took place 14 years ago.

“We wanted to show the power of well-funded, boots-on-the-ground local journalism,” said Tom McCarthy, the film’s director and co-writer.

“Journalism in movies tends to either get slammed or glamorized,” he continued. “We were trying to show process, that this is hard work, that this is draining work and that this is crucial work…

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