It is not so easy to find fascinating movies that fit into a child advocacy course on writing and analysis, but Spotlight (2015) is perfect. While it is not a documentary, it is based on an account of a real situation[i].
As of this writing, Spotlight was available for free on Netflix. It is available for $3.99 on Comcast, Amazon, Youtube, Google Play and ITunes.
As you watch this movie, ask yourself the following questions:
What is the job of a journalist?
In what ways are these journalists advocates for children?
What is the role of research in advocacy?
What aspects of movie making help to tell this story? Consider the acting, sound, editing, script and visual elements of the movie
When you have finished watching, please write a 3-5 page paper describing your thoughts about any of these aspects of the movie:
Spotlight focuses on the importance and limitations of research and journalism, as they affect important social issues such as the sexual abuse of children. In what way is the act of research an essential element of advocacy for children? What other advocates failed in their duty to protect children from sexual abuse by clergy? What forces try to prevent journalists from revealing what they have learned?
Consider how hard the journalists work to check and double check their information. In a world full of misinformation and false information, how do journalists determine when something is accurate enough to print? If you had been a journalist on the Spotlight team, what might you have done differently?
Even if you do not read newspapers, you are a consumer of news that trickles down from newspapers to television, magazines and social media. Do you believe everything you read? Personally, how do you decide whether something is accurate?
Consider film as a medium for advocacy about all of these issues. In what ways is this movie especially effective? In what ways does it fail? If you had been directing this film, what would you have done differently?