Return in four episodes on this exceptional investigation which led them from the offices of the Boston Globe to the Pulitzer Prize.
The “Spotlight” cell is a small team of investigative journalists based in the offices of the American daily Boston Globe. In the early 2000s, they began to investigate Father Geoghan, suspected of sexually assaulting several children.
The reporters collect the first testimonies then resort to data journalism to progress in their investigations. Over the months, these four journalists discover that dozens of priests have committed rape or sexual assault on hundreds of children. The Catholic hierarchy knew and tried to cover up the facts. The diocese of Boston, then the Catholic Church in the United States and as far as the Vatican will be forced to ask for forgiveness. The investigative work of these four reporters will be highlighted in the film Spotlight, directed in 2015 by Tom McCarty.
In this season 8 of Journalism Mechanics, produced by Grégory Philipps and directed by Charlotte Roux, Matt Carroll, one of the four American journalists from the Spotlight cell, recounts his investigative work and the twists and turns of the affair:
1st episode: An accused priest
In Boston in the early 2000s, a priest was prosecuted for sexual assault on children. But did his hierarchy know? Did she try to cover up the facts? Did the diocese want to protect other pedophile priests?
2nd episode: The Boston affair becomes a national scandal
The four journalists in the Spotlight cell were all born in Boston, and are all Catholic. It is therefore within their own community that they are called upon to investigate.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, the small cell suspended its investigations for several weeks but the Boston Globe chose to publish the results of their investigation at the very beginning of 2002. The first article had the effect of a bombshell.
3rd episode: Priests on sick leave
In the little Spotlight cell, Matt Carroll has a specialty: studying data. Thanks to his knowledge of data journalism, the reporter succeeds by going through the records of the diocese of Boston to establish what he calls a “mathematical model”. In these directories, Carroll notes that some priests are regularly transferred from parish to parish – every three or four years. Each time, before their mutation is effective, they are placed on sick leave.
4th episode: An investigation rewarded
A Pulitzer Prize will reward the work of the Spotlight cell, and Hollywood will take an interest in the work of these four reporters. The film Spotlight, a fiction with almost documentary scope directed in 2015 by Tom McCarthy, won the Oscar the following year.
A series in 4 episodes of 15 minutes, produced by Grégory Philipps and directed by Charlotte Roux, online from December 2 on franceculture.fr and on the Radio France application.
Mechanics of Journalism is a collection of original podcasts. It brings to light the work of journalists, far from preconceived ideas, by drawing on the accounts of those who have carried out the investigations and revealed contemporary cases with a strong impact on democratic life.
> Discover the previous seasons:
Season 1: The Cahuzac Affair
Season 2: The Benalla Affair
Season 3: From Lux Leaks to Panama Papers
Season 4: The Fillon Affair
Season 5: Chemical Warfare in Syria
Season 6: The Poisoners of Navalny
Season 7: The Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès affair, the endless investigation
Illustration: Radio France
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New original podcast: Mechanics of Journalism Season 8 “Spotlight”