In the 2015 Oscar winning film Spotlight he was portrayed by Michael Keaton as the tough reporter heading an investigative team of the Boston Globe. In real life, Walter V Robinson (also known as “Robbie”) came across to me as a tall, physically imposing yet softly spoken and humble man. You wouldn’t assume he was a giant of journalism with a stellar career at one of America’s greatest newspapers, one that has taken him across the US and to over 30 countries; a man who led a massive investigation and exposé of child sexual assault in America’s most Catholic city, one that led to further investigations in religious denominations across the globe.
On Monday, at an event hosted by the US Studies Centre at Sydney University, Robinson shared his insights on the Spotlight expose of systemic child abuse in the Boston Catholic Church, on media and the law and on the continued relevance of investigative reporting in keeping a check on power and those who wield it. And all in 30 minutes.