Lehigh to host screening of Oscar-nominated film ‘Spotlight’ Feb. 18

Lehigh will host a free screening of the Oscar-nominated film Spotlight, which chronicles The Boston Globe’s probe into the Catholic Church’s cover-up of clergy sex abuse, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in Baker Hall in the Zoellner Arts Center. A conversation with Marty Baron ’76, ’76G, ’14H, who oversaw the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation, will follow.

The film has earned six Oscar nominations, including for best picture and best director. 

In the film, Baron is portrayed by actor Liev Schreiber, who has called Baron “a real hero” for pressing the Globe to investigate the Church’s cover-up.

Baron, who graduated from Lehigh in 1976 with both a B.A. in journalism and an MBA, is currently executive editor of The Washington Post. He has had a long and distinguished journalism career at news organizations that include The Miami Herald, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. According to Esquire, present and former colleagues consider him “the best news editor of all time.”

After the Spotlight screening, Baron will sit down with Jack Lule, professor and chairman of the Department of Journalism and Communications at Lehigh, to discuss the film and journalism. A question-and-answer segment will follow.

Spotlight gets its name from the Globe’s real Spotlight reporting team, which, in 2002, revealed the Catholic Church’s decades-long pattern of moving priests to different parishes despite their previous sexual abuse. The team’s probe led to Boston Cardinal Bernard Law’s resignation and further disclosures of clergy sexual abuse around the nation and globe.

Other Globe editors and reporters depicted in the film are played by actors Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Brian d’Arcy James, and John Slattery.

Lehigh has a number of additional connections to Spotlight. Actor Paul Guilfoyle ’72, probably best known for his role as Capt. Jim Brass in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, plays the fictional character Peter Conley, who, in the film, acts as a fixer for the Boston archdiocese. Alumnus Fred Schaufeld ’81 ‘15P ‘17P is one of the founders and managing directors of SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, and he and his wife, Karen Shihadeh Schaufeld ’83 ‘15P ‘17P, are investors in Anonymous Content, the production company behind Spotlight. Karen is a member of Lehigh’s board of trustees.

Admission to the Spotlight screening in the Zoellner Arts Center will be free.

Baron will meet with journalism students prior to the screening. While at Lehigh, he was part of The Brown and White editorial staff, becoming editor in his junior year. He returned to campus in 2014, delivering the 146th commencement address and receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

In his commencement address, Baron recounted the controversies that he and fellow editors had to navigate over the years, including the contested 2000 presidential election, the Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal and the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program made public by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“Truth must be honestly pursued,” he said in his commencement speech. “And honesty demands that we acknowledge the truth, no matter our loyalties or preconceptions or preferences. This requires you to be open to ideas and evidence and facts. Progress depends on it, as does our democracy.”

For more information on the screening, call 610-758-3898 or go to mylehigh.lehigh.edu/spotlightfilm

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