The movie “Spotlight” featured investigative journalism. While there is always a necessity for investigative journalism it does feel archaic in the realm of New Media. Not old in the irrelevant sense but that I don’t know of many time where it can be the dominant way of covering a scoop anymore. Not once in the movie was Facebook mentioned, Twitter and no one had a blog. Its hard to believe that a story can wait so long to be discovered and written about. New Media-not always-but often concerns itself with what is happening here and now. Or what just happened or what will happen just up ahead.
However for the spotlight journalists I don’t know that it would have been helpful. Certainly the journalists couldn’t tweet their “exciting news or advances they made in the story that day”. It also wouldn’t have been advantageous to look up the Facebook accounts of the priest and victims. Rape and abuse is not something that people willingly admit to the world let alone the world wide web even anonymously. Jada Yuan, in his interview with Tom McCarthy the director of spotlight, makes the observation that the movie is about, “the quotidian craft of newspaper reporting — knocking on doors, staking out the courthouse.” Investigative journalism was essential to tell the abuse story. They had to go door to door and physically walk and talk their way through their leads. McCarthy added, “I think we’ve lost track of that a little bit with citizen journalists and everyone having a camera and a tweet.”
What I mean when I say its feel archaic is that investigative journalism feels the most primordial in the breakdown of journalism’s evolutionary history. It also was possible because they were working on an local story. So the spotlight reporters could go outside their door and fill in the pieces to the puzzle. But it is so important and the vital lifeblood of good journalism.
In light of all of this I don’t know another time when investigative journalism is relevant except with events the have already happened. Its hard to find a story that hasn’t leaked or been told online. The swiftness with which news now travels through new media doesn’t really allow a slower paced journalism. To be fair, in the movie, there was a danger of another newspaper getting access to some documents before the globe did. But because this was a scoop that happened decades earlier it wasn’t necessarily a race-the Globe and its journalists were able to take their time with the story.
Take for example Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks. He released thousands of documents to Glenn Greenwald, a journalist for The Guardian. Now before the world found out that Snowden was the leak Greenwald had ample time and less competition to print his stories. But after the world became privy New Media was ABUZZ with the scoop. It was no longer private just Greenwald’s scoop. Consequently, Greenwald was now competing for the scoop with other media outlets AROUND THE WORLD.
What is the most interesting ,however, is that a very local story in the BOSTON GLOBE that was reported on by investigative methods turned out to be a story the world over shared. This spotlight story once it went world wide through the efforts of new media gave a voice to other areas that might have been ignored otherwise.