Spotlight Real-life Journalists: Where are They Now?
Checking in on the newspaper reporters who broke the shocking story and where they are now
When the Boston Globe broke the story of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal in 2002, it rocked the world. Now 14 years later, the film adaptation of the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation is the subject of the Oscar-nominated star-studded drama, Spotlight.
With many of its subjects still very much a part of investigative journalism, here’s a look at the real-life players behind the award-winning story and where they are now.
Mike Rezendes (Played by Mark Ruffalo)
Today the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter is a senior member of The Boston Globe Spotlight Team. Recently, he’s been traveling alongside Mark Ruffalo to help promote the film and told PEOPLE in November he hopes the film highlights the need for investigative journalism. “This was a gigantic betrayal that took place,” Rezendes says of Catholic Church s sex abuse scandal. “You have the most moral institution knowingly allowing priests to systematically rape children and destroy their lives. This was an awful thing that needed to be revealed and corrected. Fortunately, my colleagues and I were able to make that happen.”
Matt Carroll (Played by Brian d’Arcy James)
Carroll was a reporter for the The Boston Globe from 1987 to 2014. He left the paper last year and now works for the MIT Media Lab. On seeing himself portrayed by James in the film he has joked, “I just wanted someone who was better looking than me, which frankly is not all that difficult. He looks great. I keep telling people he does me better than I do me.”
Marty Baron (Played by Liev Schreiber)
Baron was the editor of The Boston Globe from 2001 to 2012 and is now the editor of The Washington Post. He’s also worked for the The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times and is known for never backing down from a difficult story. “I firmly believe in the work we do,” Baron recently told Esquire. “When there’s a good story in front of you, no matter what the barriers are, no matter what the pressures are, we have an obligation to pursue it.”
Walter Robinson (Played by Michael Keaton)
Robinson, who joined the Globe staff in 1972, and in addition to covering presidential campaigns and the war in the Persian Gulf, served as editor of the Spotlight section for seven years. Robinson remains on staff as the paper’s Editor at Large. Robinson told PEOPLE he couldn’t believe Michael Keaton was going to play him in the film and was pleasantly surprised by his performance. “When I was Metro editor of the Globe, [Keaton] played Metro editor in The Paper and I just loved that movie. By the time I met him he had already spent a lot of time watching old video tapes and TV appearances I had made, and NPR appearances, so he had my voice down. He studied me intently, and he got my mannerisms so it’s eerie to see that on screen.”
Sacha Pfeiffer (Played by Rachel McAdams)
Pfeiffer spent five years working on the Globe‘s Spotlight team and is currently a columnist and reporter covering nonprofits, philanthropy and wealth. Pfeiffer said she hopes the film reminds audiences how important newspapers still are to the news business. “We love the newspaper business very dearly and it’s in very bad shape right now,” she said. “This is, we hope, showing people how important that business is. We hope people will support it as a result meaning, get subscriptions to your newspaper, digital or home delivery, because that’s the revenue that supports what we do.”
Ben Bradlee Jr. (Played by John Slattery)
Bradlee worked at the Globe for 25 years and left in 2004 to begin the ten years of research that led to his Ted Williams biography The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams. Investigative journalism runs in Bradlee’s family – his father was executive editor of The Washington Post and oversaw the publication and uncovering of the Watergate scandal. Of his contribution to the award-winning story that inspired the film, Bradlee said they never expected their work to have the impact that it did and might still have. “I like to say that you can think you have a great story but you never know exactly how it’s going to land, what the impact will be and this story took off,” said Bradlee. “It took off like a rocket ship and ultimately it was because the power of the documents, the extent of the cover-up that made the story. This has now a chance to bring a second wave of change which we are really hopeful for, both hoping the survivors have the strength to come forward more of them and to give journalism a shot here.”