SOURCE: Online News Association

Online News Association

July 15, 2015 12:00 ET

ONA15 Puts 'Spotlight' on Award-Winning Boston Globe Investigation and New Movie

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Jul 15, 2015) - The award-winning team behind the Boston Globe's intensive investigation into Catholic Church abuses will reunite for a keynote conversation at the 2015 Online News Association Conference & Awards Banquet in Los Angeles.

The Globe's Spotlight team will be joined by moderator and screenwriter Josh Singer on Saturday, Sept. 26, as they recount their experiences reporting on the complex story -- which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003 -- interspersed with clips from "Spotlight," the upcoming movie about the project. Singer will talk with the journalists about how the film, starring Liev Schrieber, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, compares and contrast with real-life reporting as the secrecy and cover-ups unfolded.

"Spotlight" tells the story of then-Boston Globe Editor Marty Baron (played by Schreiber), Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery) and the four members of the Globe's investigative Spotlight team -- Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), Mike Rezendes (Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d'Arcy James) -- who work to expose the Boston Archdiocese's systemic cover-up of sexual abuse of children by ordained priests, which went undetected for decades.

"We're seeing a vital renaissance in investigative journalism in the nonprofit, major media and start-up world," said ONA Executive Director Jane McDonnell. "We're delighted this inspiring team will be in Los Angeles to share its expertise."

On the panel will be:

Walter Robinson, the Boston Globe's Editor at Large, who has worked at the Globe as reporter and editor for 43 years. He covered city, state and national politics and government, including four presidential elections and two presidencies. He was the Middle East correspondent during the First Gulf War, and was city editor, metro editor, roving foreign correspondent and an investigative reporter. He headed the Globe Spotlight Team from 1999 to 2006, and led the investigation that exposed the Catholic Church's coverup of decades of sexual abuse by nearly 200 priests.

Sacha Pfeiffer, a Boston Globe columnist and reporter covering nonprofits, philanthropy and wealth, has also been a senior reporter and host of "All Things Considered" at WBUR, Boston's NPR station, and a host of NPR's nationally syndicated "Here & Now." At WBUR, she won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for broadcast reporting. She was a John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University and co-authored "Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church."

Michael Rezendes, a senior investigative reporter for the Spotlight Team, also shared a 2014 Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Globe staff for coverage of the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Rezendes was running the marathon when the bombs exploded, then worked into the night covering the tragedy, and later linked one of the bombers to an unsolved triple homicide. More recently, he produced a series of stories exposing the needless deaths of three men at a state prison for mental health patients, including a homicide. The stories resulted in a judicial inquest, criminal indictments against three guards, and proposals for major reforms at the prison known as Bridgewater State Hospital.

Josh Singer, a film and television writer who wrote the screenplay for "Spotlight," as well as "The Fifth Estate," which screened at the 2013 ONA conference. He has written and produced episodes of "The West Wing," "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," "Lie to Me" and "Fringe." In 2006, he was nominated for a WGA award for his work on the Season Five finale of "The West Wing," a teleplay that addressed the Israeli Palestinian conflict. In 2008, his first teleplay for "Law & Order: SVU" was recognized at the inaugural Television Academy Honors for considering the role American medical professionals have played in state-sponsored torture.

"Spotlight" is directed and co-written by Thomas McCarthy, who was nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay for "Up." It is a co-production of Anonymous Content and Rocklin/Faust, financed by Participant Media, and will be distributed by Open Road Films in the United States and by Entertainment One internationally.

The Online News Association is the world's largest association of digital journalists. ONA's mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. The membership includes news writers, producers, designers, editors, bloggers, developers, photographers, educators, students and others who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.

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