The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Popcorn and the pen: GV journalism students gather for screening of “Spotlight”

GVL | Risho Wooten

Journalism students and movie connoisseurs alike gathered in Grand Valley State University’s Lake Superior Hall to watch “Spotlight” on March 21. Based on the true story of investigative journalists on The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team from 2001-2002, the film presents their uncovering of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

The event was the second screening of a journalism-based film for students, as part of GVSU’s Journalism, Broadcasting and Digital Media (JBM) program’s “JBM Goes to the Movies” film series. With the promise of free popcorn and the opportunity to talk with one of the journalists portrayed in the film, many students seized the opportunity to learn more about their prospective field. The “Spotlight” screening was a sharp contrast to the first film shown on Feb. 21, “Almost Famous,” which encapsulates the light-hearted world of music journalism.

Matthew Carroll, one of the Spotlight reporters portrayed in the film and a current journalism professor at Northeastern University, spoke to the audience after the screening via Zoom. Carroll expanded on the details and accuracy of the film, answering questions about the movie, the journalism industry and investigative reporting. Carroll’s story and insight provided attendees with a glimpse into the often chaotic world of being an investigative journalist. 

One of the students in attendance, Sitlali Padron, a JBM student at GVSU, said the opportunity to talk with Carroll was encouraging. Padron said it was especially inspiring hearing Carroll talk about his personal challenges with balancing his personal and professional life.

“Meeting someone who has written a big story – you look up to them,” Padron said. “It’s like (talking to) a celebrity. It’s amazing to have a conversation with somebody who’s had years of experience (because) you learn things that you otherwise wouldn’t learn in the classroom.”

Padron said it is import to have events specifically geared toward JBM majors. Padron said events like the JBM film screenings create opportunities for networking and communication with fellow JBM students. 

“(Spending time with) people passionate about the same thing as you is really exciting,” Padron said. “Making connections is really good (because) networking is essential to work in journalism.”

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, associate professor in GVSU’s JBM program, helped start and facilitate the film series alongside Eric Harvey, Ph.D., associate professor in the JBM program. Lowenstein said the film series was designed to show students examples of professionals who are doing the same kind of work that they are accomplishing in the classroom now.

“When students are thinking about what they want to do (with their degree) they can say, ‘Oh, yeah, maybe I can be a music critic because I saw that movie,’” Lowenstein said. “It’s (the JBM film series) a different way of being together with faculty and students in a fun and social way.” 

Lowenstein also said events like this provide learning opportunities for himself and the other professors. 

“Hearing from colleagues I respect and admire, and some of the questions (students) might have that I might not have thought of, I learned from that,” Lowenstein said.

JBM faculty plans to continue the film series next year, with monthly screenings of journalism films already planned for the upcoming fall semester.

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