Spotlight Journalist Speaks on the Future of News

Rarely do you get to meet the heroes who took part in exposing such huge stories as the Watergate scandal or the ordeal of the Chicago’s meatpacking plants. This past Monday evening, however, Gordon students got their chance.

Matt Carroll, former investigative journalist at The Boston Globe, spoke on “Spotlight and the Future of News: How Technology is Changing Both the Pursuit of Big Stories and the Presentation of Them.” Eric Convey, adjunct in communication arts at Gordon, described Carroll as a rare journalist who is “comfortable with people and comfortable with data.”

Carroll was a member of the Globe’s original Spotlight team that uncovered and exposed the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandal back in 2002. This fascinating case was recently chronicled in the hit movie Spotlight, which won Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards. Carroll was portrayed by Brian d’Arcy James, who acted alongside Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers), Michael Keaton (Batman Returns), Rachel McAdams (The Notebook) and Live Schrieber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Although some details were changed in the movie, Carroll affirmed that it was very truthful, and he was pleased with how it turned out.

“Our investigation was set in a very particular time and place,” Carroll said. “It was time when the Internet was growing very fast and it was clear that it was going to become the dominate media. But it wasn’t yet. It was still very much a print world.”

Carroll not only shared how the Spotlight story was developed 14 years ago, but also spoke on the future of journalism. Despite the current struggle of print media to stay afloat in a digital age, he has great hope for the future of news. In fact, after 26 years at the Globe, Carroll is currently working to help MIT students develop innovative ways of telling stories through new media forms.

This public lecture was sponsored by Gordon College’s Communication Arts Department as part of a semester-long series of Master Classes, which also welcomed Dr. Christine Gardner of the University of Notre Dame Christian Studies Center in September. Dr. Lynn Clark, a professor at the University of Denver, will speak on November 17 and Paul Van Ness ’73, founder of Van Ness Creative, on December 5.

By Veronica Andreades ’19