John Oliver Reimagines ‘Spotlight’ And Journalism In The Click-centered Digital Age. | Gradient

John Oliver reimagines ‘Spotlight’ and journalism in the click-centered digital age.


“Spotlight,” 2015’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, tells the story of an investigative journalist team that uncovers a massive sex abuse cover-up in the Catholic Church. The film is lauded for its excellent performances, accurate depiction of the crimes at hand, and stirring portrayal of the importance of local, print-based journalism. Of course, the Boston Globe’s expose was printed in 2001 — well before YouTube launched and “virality” and “clickbait” became the goal. Local papers are rapidly downsizing and dying as they struggle to keep up with the digital age, John Oliver humorously probes the future of our newspapers, using Jason Sudeikis, Bobby Cannavale, and other stars to drive the point home.

Oliver correctly points out that many of the trending stories we share on Facebook, including the ones that source his show, Last Week Tonight (and, shoot, Gradient) are indebted to local reporters. But, established papers like the Oregonian have a difficult time keeping up with the BuzzFeeds and Huffington Posts, the latter of which John Oliver, lacking a hint of endearment, refers to as “Arianna Huffington’s Blockquote Junction And Book Excerpt Clearing House.”

After exploring the ways papers have been forced to reduce staff and coverage, especially local and state politics, something David Simon (creator of “The Wire” and former Baltimore Sun reporter) warned would lead to “halcyon era for state and local political corruption.” Oliver likened the decline of journalistic accountability to a seventh-grade classroom left without a teacher. “Best case scenario: Brittany gets gum in her hair. Worst case scenario: you no longer have a school!”

We all have to keep our lights on, but Oliver’s segment is necessary to understand. The problem is so complex, Oliver doesn’t offer actionable solutions; all he provides is lament for a critical institution striving to embrace the demand for both viral puppy videos and politics in Iraq.  The show ends with Canavale, Sudekis, and Rose Byrne reenacting “Spotlight” in a media landscape dominated by silly animal videos and TRONC.

Watch the video below.

If you enjoy ‘Reactions’, subscribe to our podcast, In Case You Missed It.  

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Jason Russell”


Jason is the cofounder of the iconic non-profit Invisible Children which was founded to increase awareness of the horrendous activities of the LRA in Central Africa. Jason was also the director of the iconic Kony 2012 film that took the world by storm. In this two-part interview Jason and Branden talk about what it means to create a movement, what Jason experienced during his breakdown and subsequent recovery, and Jason’s experience in the world of theater.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “ Aharon Rabinowitz”


Aharon Rabinowitz is the head of marketing for Red Giant based in New York City. During our conversation, we discussed the importance of work life balance, his start as a production intern at Sesame Street and why artist’s feel personally offended when you reject their work.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 040


United gets their cheap on, fake news, and Trump hired who?

New Pod Flow: Scribble & Jam, “Artist Matthew Perryman Jones”


Welcome to Episode IV. This week, Dan spends some time with his favorite singer/songwriter, Matthew Perryman Jones. Matthew and Dan talk about panic attacks, growing up in Atlanta, the way music is informed by pain and suffering and the way music gives freedom.

If you have spent any time watching television in the last decade you have most likely heard one of Mattew’s songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill and many others. His insightful writing and voice have drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley, and he is on the short list of songwriters who skillfully weave the deeply philosophical and the vivid utterly human without ever losing sight of either.

To get his new album Cold Answer, (which features the three songs from him you heard on this episode), visit

Subscribe on iTunes.

New Pod Flow: Sounds Good With Branden Harvey “Next Steps After the Presidential Election”


Branden sits down with writer and speaker Tyler Huckabee days after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States to talk about empathy, justice, listening, and where we go from here.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 039


Special Election Edition, President Trump to legalized weed and everything in between.

This week we reflect on the election and discuss our strategies for staying sane.

New Pod Flow: Animalators, “Illo


Luca and Ilenia are the founders of Illo, a studio based in Turin, Italy.  During our conversation, we discussed their self-driving video bot named Algo, how Illo was formed and how they’ve crafted a unique office culture.

New Pod Flow: In Case You Missed It, Episode 038


This week we discuss Beyonce’s night at the CMAs, last minute election plans and how SNL might save us all.

Subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher.

New Pod Flow: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Podcast: Doctor Strange


We appreciate everyone sticking with us through this long hiatus but are planning our return even as we speak, with a bunch of new goodies and an updated format. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange — just so you can go into the movie knowing what you’re getting yourself into.