Reporter Depicted in Oscar Winning ‘Spotlight’ Got Start in East Boston

Boston Globe investigative reporter Michael Rezendes (right) with Dr. Regina Marchi during a recent visit to East Boston.

Boston Globe investigative reporter Michael Rezendes (right) with Dr. Regina Marchi during a recent visit to East Boston.

By John Lynds

Michael Rezendes, who Mark Ruffalo plays in the Oscar Award winning drama about the Boston Globe’s investigative reports into the widespread Archdiocese clergy sexual abuse scandal during the early 2000s, shared a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the subject.

Spotlight, which won Best Picture Sunday night at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, has resuscitated the importance of investigative journalism in the U.S. and Rezendes has emerged as a national figure in that endeavor. Ruffalo got a Best Supporting Actor nod from the Academy for playing Rezendes.

However, some here might not know the award winning journalist got his start in Eastie first writing and later as editor of the former East Boston Community News. There is even one scene in Spotlight were Rezendes (Ruffalo) and Ben Bradlee Jr. (John Slattery) share a box of Santarpio Pizza–one of the real life Rezendes favorite haunts. Story is Rezendes brought Spotlight writers Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer to ‘Tarp’s and they loved it so much they snuck the pizza into the movie for a little more Boston authenticity.

Rezendes attended Sunday’s Academy Awards, was shown on television several times throughout the evening and even got a shout out from host Chris Rock.

Sitting at the Oscars Sunday night must have seemed a world away from the early late 1970s and early 1980s when Rezendes, a young hungry journalist, was pushing the envelop of community news and tackling issues like Logan Airport’s affects on the surrounding community.

After working as beat reporter for the East Boston Community News, Rezendes became the newspaper’s editor in 1983.

Rezendes was recently featured in Dr. Regina Marchi’s book, Legendary Locals of East Boston, where she discusses Rezendes roots in the community and his rise to Pulitzer Prize winning reporter.

Rezendes Tweeted out after the book was published, “Honored to be included in “Legendary Locals of East Boston,” a new book by Regina Marchi. Great book.”

Spotlight’s win as Best Picture Sunday even compelled Boston Archdiocese Archbishop Sean O’Malley to release at statement.

“Spotlight is an important film for all impacted by the tragedy of clergy sexual abuse. By providing in-depth reporting on the history of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, the media led the Church to acknowledge the crimes and sins of its personnel and to begin to address its failings, the harm done to victims and their families and the needs of survivors,” said in a statement by O’Malley in a statement released Monday. “In a democracy such as ours, journalism is essential to our way of life. The media’s role in revealing the sexual abuse crisis opened a door through which the Church has walked in responding to the needs of survivors.”

O’Malley went on to say, “protecting children and providing support for survivors and their families must be a priority in all aspects of the life of the Church. We are committed to vigilant implementation of policies and procedures for preventing the recurrence of the tragedy of the abuse of children. These include comprehensive child safety education programs, mandatory background checks and safe environments training, mandatory reporting to and cooperating with civil authorities with regard to allegations of abuse, and caring for survivors and their families through the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach.”

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