by Megan Tambio
While the new movie Spotlight depicts the Boston Globe journalists who uncovered the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal in 2002, it’s really a testament to mindful reporting. A running theme in the film is waiting — waiting to get the right information and waiting to find the source of the problem. But waiting isn’t valued much anymore, in our news or anything else.
Which isn’t automatically bad. As details of the terror attacks on Paris unfolded, people all around the world have been able to show support in real time. But quantity doesn’t always mean quality. Amidst the constant live-updates came the report of a Syrian passport found on one of the supposed attackers, whipping up an outcry to keep that war-torn country’s refugees out of the U.S. The reporting was so instantaneous it framed a story while it remained unclear whether the passport even belonged to the attacker, or was merely stolen from a real refugee.
Today, there’s digital space that needs constant filling for news sites to even stay afloat, leading to “top” stories that shouldn’t even be stories — they’re only an issue for, like, 10 idiots on Instagram (Starbucks’ red cups, anyone?).
The downside to instant, infinitely available information is infinite noise. In Spotlight, waiting pays off when the news team uncovers the full story. It’s doubtful that could happen today and the 24-hour news cycle isn’t going anywhere. All we can do is reserve judgment until the full story’s out.
Search the Causes directory at giive.org and volunteer for a nonprofit in your community that patiently works towards effecting change.