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Start the Presses

Today I finally got around to seeing Spotlight (2015).

Probably more tidy than a real newsroom.

I have to admit I had twitches once it was revealed in this movie that one of the main predatory priests was named Father Talbot. It's a weird thing to hear your own name on screen. I was actually working in a newsroom back when Lost was airing and there was a single episode where a character named Peter Talbot showed up. I understand his role was to step on set, say his name, and die. I wasn't watching the show at that time so when I came in the next day to work I heard a few odd remarks from co-workers telling me how it was a funny experience for them. Funny because there was no diddling involved, I'm sure.

This is a beautifully shot film that somehow makes the drabness of a newsroom crystal clear. There is a brightness in a newsroom from the florescent lights. I used to work in sports data in Connecticut and we would have dozens of TV's on at a time, dual monitors for everyone, and yet another TV or two at every work station. There was a constant ring and hum in the room from the phones, monitors, TV's and various computers. I say various because we were transferring 3.5" floppy disks across the room for certain transmissions after typing commands in DOS.

On a couple of occasions we were hit with snow storms that would cover the dishes on the roof and winds that blew out the power and everything electronic would go dark. In the yellow haze of the emergency lights everyone would stop and go quiet in shock that we were no longer in control of the work we were doing. The room would go silent. A silence more quiet than you expect silence to be. A silence where the resonanse in your bones is all you can hear. There was nothing you could do, you couldn't even panic that you'd lost your work or lost the stringer on the phone or lost track of the game you were updating. It was the only time of complete relaxation in that job. It only happened a couple of times and it was never expected. That silence was not what killed that newsroom, but it ultimately found it's own silence as bureau reporters slowly trickled out for the last time, and trickled into a nearby bar for one last sendoff for the Ticker.

Spotlight is a great movie. It captures a period of time when stories of abusive priests trickled out of Boston until the names of a few of the many priests became well known fixtures of national news. It wasn't really a surprise at the time. I feel as though it was like the Tobacco industry finally publicly admitting they were harming their users. It's a beautiful movie and although it has some sad touches, it's an accessible entry into the story of the abuse.

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