'Spotlight' Screenwriter: "There's More Information Than Ever, but How Valid Is It?"

"So who is supplying the news anymore?"

“I think there’s a little bit of a disconnect with the general public of understanding new media," says Spotlight screenwriter Tom McCarthy during The Hollywood Reporter's Writers Roundtable. 

Spotlight, he describes, centers on "the 2001 investigation into the Catholic Church by The Boston Globe Spotlight team, a four-person investigative unit."

Continues McCarthy: “In 2001, newspapers were at the height of their power. This was before the crash of 2005-2006, so we don’t really deal with where we are now, we just sort of show by example when things worked, and this investigation worked extremely well."

The film doesn't editorialize on new media versus legacy journalism, he argues: "We just said we’ll show by example what it is and hope during discussion follows afterwards that people would say, ‘Where are we now?’ Which is, it’s pretty dire, the journalism industry.”

While the subject of the Catholic Church investigation deals with the difficult subject of pedophilia, McCarthy says there's no reason to be uncomfortable with the film. “The survivors they were sitting with at this point had come forward 20, 30 years later, so we’re meeting men, particularly, in their 30s and 40s, who were now coming forth with their stories," the filmmaker says. "There are a couple scenes when we see children, but we never see the acts, so it wasn’t really about that; it wasn’t relative to the story or the reporters’ experience.”

THR's Roundtables air on Sundance TV. The shows air Sunday at 8 a.m. PT on channel 557 on DirecTV, 126 on Dish nationwide and at 11 a.m. ET/PT on cable (channel 625 on TWC in L.A., 94 in NYC).

SundanceTV’s HD Channels (for National Providers):

AT&T U-verse 1798

Verizon FIOS 735

DirecTV 557

DISH 126

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