Michael Rezendes, played by Mark Ruffalo in the film Spotlight, is a passionate journalist working for The Globe, a newspaper in Boston Maryland. He is one of four investigative journalists on the specialize team, Spotlight, which investigates sensitive topics of great importance. His part in the team is as the go-to guy for getting things done.
I connected with his character a lot in the movie because of his passion and tenacity. He was the one who took the hardest sources and worked with them until they gave him the information that he needed. One of the characters that he worked with the most was with Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer who had worked with victims of priest molestation. Garabedian refused to talk with him at first, saying that he was too busy and did not want to answer any questions. Rezendes, however, was not daunted and persistently contacted Garabedian to get information, asking questions until he got answers but also forming a sort of relationship with him. Garabedian’s work was too sensitive to just give away to anybody so he had to make sure that Rezendes was genuine in his mission to uncover the truth and expose the system for what it is.
This exemplifies good journalism because although he broke some of the Journalism rules in terms of how he got information and how he pressured his sources, it also gave him the information he needed to prove that the Catholic church had been intentionally hiding the fact that 79 priests in Boston alone were molesting children and were still allowed to molest children. It was the story of the century and he was in charge of getting the evidence to back the victim’s statements so that they could run the story. in other words, he had the most important job of the four people on the Spotlight team.
Rezendes also knew how to navigate the complicated legalistic structure that he had to work with in order to get the documents he needed as proof. He knew that in order to get them, he had to get there before another journalist could get to them. He also knew that if the desk clerk was not willing to give him the documents, that he could talk to a judge and get them pushed through. Rezendes met with some resistance when he met with the judge in order to get the documents released because the Judge questioned his intentions with the documents since they were of such a sensitive nature and directly challenged the power of the Catholic Church, which the judge was a member. He did eventually get the information but he had to tread carefully in order to get them.
Mike Rezendes was an essential part of the team because he was the one to get the legal proof that Spotlight needed in order to further the investigation not for a few priests in Boston, but for all of them and force the Catholic Church to take responsibility of the thousands of lives that they destroyed by allowing these priests to continue molesting children. It was a historical moment and it was all thanks to Rezendes’ persistence, determination, passion, and empathy that made him so good at his job. The Spotlight team changed the view of the Catholic Church forever.