Inspired by the success of the movie “Spotlight,” The Boston Globe and the Hollywood companies behind the film have set up a $100,000 fellowship to promote investigative journalism.
The selected fellow or team of reporters will work with the Globe’s Spotlight Team on an investigative story that could be published by the paper.
The Spotlight Investigative Journalism Fellowship is being funded by Participant Media and Open Road Films, the companies behind “Spotlight,” a recent film that dramatizes the 2001 efforts of the paper’s investigative unit to uncover sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Online news publisher First Look Media is also supporting the fellowship.
“The Boston Globe has an unwavering commitment to produce high-impact investigative stories that pierce secrecy and shine a light on issues, individuals, and institutions to expose the truth,” the paper’s editor, Brian McGrory, said in a statement. “Whether it is the Spotlight Team’s investigation of the Catholic Church in 2002; its relentless reporting of the criminal dealings of James ‘Whitey’ Bulger and his ties to federal law enforcement; or its most recent report on hospitals where doctors are running two surgeries at once, accountability reporting is an integral part of The Boston Globe’s daily coverage.”
A committee of Globe reporters and editors, along with the editor-in-chief of First Look Media’s online publication, The Intercept, will choose the fellow or fellows, who must have “a substantive body of work published in major media outlets.” The committee will consider proposals for US-focused stories that involve “serious wrongdoing and abuse of power in the public or private sectors,” according to the fellowship application. Submissions are open through February 2016; the committee will announce its selection in late June.
In addition to working with the Globe Spotlight group, the chosen reporter or team will also work with an editor at First Look Media.
The announcement of the fellowship comes as the country’s newspapers continue to struggle with declining revenues, leading to layoffs and worries that important stories are going untold. The film companies said their movie highlights the value of intensive reporting, and that their support of the fellowship was an effort to help sustain such work.
“Without the brave and tenacious work of the reporters on the Spotlight Team, the true scope of the [Catholic Church sex abuse] story might never have been told,” said Tom Ortenberg, chief executive of Open Road Films. “Pursuing a story to its end takes time and resources not often available to journalists; the fellowship will enable another important story and critical issue to reach citizens.”Dan Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DanielAdams86.