Journalists have often gone above and beyond to tell a story. The lengths some journalists have gone to tell their story have become stories in their own right.

2016 is a year to forget for many. The political and cultural landscape of the UK was shaken by the news that we will indeed be divorcing from our continental cousins across the channel, and the whole world watched on as the residency of the White House was reserved by a man so entrenched in controversy it was almost laughable, almost.

Those put out by the fallout from the world’s seeming political recklessness have questioned the information that has led so many to back people and ideals that, not long ago, would have seemed ludicrous to comprehend. In the age of citizen journalism and smartphones, there is now an increase in public news gathering meaning that sources of news are sometimes less than credible. While often under scrutiny, journalists are trained to do one thing above all else, tell a story with accuracy and truth.

Through films and documentaries, journalists have helped provide a public service telling the stories that not only provide us valuable information, expand our knowledge and pull on our heart strings but are also telling the stories that need to be told.

 

Spotlight (15) 2015

Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schieber, Rachel McAdams and Brian D’Arcy James, Spotlight tells the story of the Boston Globe’s investigative journalist team and their pursuit of uncovering the sexual abuse of children by Catholic Priests in the Boston area.

With what starts as an investigation into the sexual abuse of children committed by one priest, the spotlight team uncovers that the story is much more than an individual case and that sexual abuse is rife in the Boston area and runs right to the top of the Catholic Church’s institution.

Spotlight uses a fast paced method of delivering scene after scene of new information gathered by the investigative team, the film is thrilling in the sense that the audience feels a part of the chase. Each phone call, every meeting, every new lead feels like the story is building towards the bigger picture. It is hard to watch and not sit there waiting and willing the team to get their story.

“If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one,” says Stanley Tucci’s Mitchell Garabedian.

The investigation by the paper kick-started what became a global sensation. This helped start the process of uncovering the issues raised by the team, the film ends with a list of places across the globe affected by the sexual abuse committed by priests. This was highlighted by the spotlight team, which may have taken much longer to surface, or perhaps never at all. The Globe’s investigation won the paper the Pulitzer prize for public service in 2003.

Spotlight winner of two academy awards for best picture and best original screenplay, offers an incredible insight into the highs and lows of investigative journalism coupled with the incredible and harrowing story of the sexual abuse carried out by Catholic priests.

 

Only the dead (15) 2015

Often the Western world’s knowledge of the trials and horrors of the wars in the Middle East come from a TV reporter outside battle scenes and towns affected by conflict. Michael Wares ‘Only The Dead’ not only throws the book out the window of war reporting, but it rips it up as well.

After embedding himself to report on the Iraq war with the Kurdish Peshmerga, Ware gets an astounding offer from terrorist leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to portray his message and images of their war to the West.

Ware crosses the line of conventional journalism, to find out who these men are, why the terrorists are fighting and is present while they carry out their attacks.

Ware literally puts his life on the line in his pursuit of this story and at one point is moments away from facing death, depicted in the filmwhen Ware is pulled from his car by Zarqawi’s men with the intention of executing him and recording it with his won camera.

Ware also embeds himself with American forces and the viewer is taken along as a part of an American assault on a terrorist held village.

“We all have dark places I know I find mine a place inside me I never knew I had.’’ – Michael Ware

The documentary film bears a very raw feeling, the bullets are real, the death is real.

Ware’s ‘Only The Dead’ helps paint a very authentic image of what life in wartime Iraq is like, not only from the point of view of western soldiers but also the terrorists and people of Iraq themselves.