Pursuing Your Dreams as a Non-Native English Speaker in the U.S.

     How can artificial intelligence such as Google Translate help the average U.S. citizen or migrant? Google Translate has helped people such as Etan and Ed Santiago, 21 and 25, of Monterrey, Mexico, who moved to the U.S. Etan works as a graphic design artist.  Ed works at a call center for a Walmart pharmacy.

Etan Santiago uses Google Translate for his brother Ed while he makes a phone call.

     It was May 2019. The airport in Monterrey was full of oppressive humidity that covered the mountainous terrain around northern Mexico. The atmosphere enhanced Etan’s anxiety. He was a young man initiating a move to the U.S. with his family. This include his brother Ed. The plane trip was underwhelming. Their arrival in Maine was a case of culture shock. They arrived in Bangor, which is much smaller than their hometown. Santiago was used to working with clients from abroad with Google Translate. He never used it face-to-face. He had to ask a woman for directions in the airport. He pulled out his phone to help him remember a word. This was Santiago’s first interaction in the U.S. 

     Google Translate first went live in 2006. The app has become the most used multilingual translation/interpretation AI worldwide. Communication can sometimes be difficult in a multicultural country such as the U.S. Interpreters are not always available outside of government establishments. Google Translate cannot replace human interpretation. It can provide a bridge to the gap among people who speak different languages. It is a fast and easy way to communicate. 

     “Before moving here, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to have daily interactions with people. I didn’t realize how often I asked for help in the street or the grocery store or just brought up conversations with people in Mexico. I can speak English to a certain point. But my accent is heavy and I get nervous,” Etan said. 

     Santiago has taken English classes since he was young. Speaking with native English speakers is overwhelming. His father does not speak English at all. 

What We Can Learn from the Movie ‘Spotlight’

     The film “Spotlight” tells the true story of the reporters who uncovered a shocking scandal in the Catholic Church. In 2001, allegations of sexual abuse against a Boston priest surfaced. The Boston Globe reporters investigated the case and found a much bigger story. Thousands of children had been abused by priests all over the world and the Catholic Church had been covering it up. The Boston Globe Spotlight team played an important role in getting justice for these victims. 

Scene from the film.

     Many people know about this story because it was an important and heartbreaking event in history. But the film shares some information many people would not know. When serious crimes come to light, most people think of the victims, police investigators and lawyers involved. Many people would not be aware of the role journalists play. This film shows how important journalism is in the fight for justice. 

     “Spotlight” does not depict a rare example of reporters changing the world. It represents how journalism operates in society. This film will not only teach people about a tragedy uncovered by the Boston Globe. It will teach people about the endless pursuit of the truth. The job of a journalist is to tell the truth and hold people accountable for their actions at all costs. In this way, journalism is necessary to uphold democracy, justice and the greater good. 

     Robby, Mike, Sacha and Matt were all Spotlight reporters who gave up a lot to pursue this truth. Many of the reporters worked tirelessly at all hours. They received backlash from the Catholic Church and its supporters. Some even struggled to face the facts based on their own religious views. The information was shocking and the job was very demanding. They did not give up.

     Still, there was a lot for the reporters to gain. They knew that publishing this story could help thousands of people get justice. It would expose abuses of power and prevent them from happening again. Publishing the story, no matter how difficult or painful, was the right thing to do. It changed the lives of many.

     “Spotlight” is an excellent film that can teach people about the role of journalism and the importance of the First Amendment. Without freedom of the press, this story never could have been written. Without this story, positive change could not have been made in the Catholic Church. 

     The award winning movie “Spotlight” tells the true story of four Boston Globe reporters who uncover a shocking truth about the Catholic Church. After hearing of an accusation made against a local priest, the Boston Globe reporters begin investigating what they think is a single case of sexual abuse. What they find is much worse. “Spotlight” is a film that shows just how far journalists will go to uncover the truth. With one story, they can change the world.

The Investigation for the True Story of Watergate

All the President’s Men.

The Watergate Scandal is a part of history we may know. But we may not know how all the king’s horses and all the king’s men… helped the Washington Post put the story together for Ben. The 1976 movie, “All The President’s Men,” captures the importance of journalism that helped bring justice to the deep Watergate scandal.

The Watergate scandal started as five men broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building. The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward was assigned to cover the story as a rookie in the company. Woodward then discovers clues that turn the break-in into a larger story. Carl Bernstein then joins Woodward to work on the story. The duo would then risk their jobs, reputation and lives to cover a story for America.

As the story continues, Bernstein and Woodward piece together the larger story involving a scandal by the administration of US President Richard Nixon. Ben Bradlee, the Washington Post’s executive editor, needs sources to confirm the story to prevent liability for the paper. A member of the FBI, referred to as “Deep Throat,” becomes a secret informant for the investigation. Deep Throat was a source who helped guide the investigation. Intentionally, he did not give the reporters information, but only confirmed it. Deep Throat gave Woodward the advice of “follow the money.” That helped them discover the corruption. Deep Throat shows the power of a source to journalism.

The Washington Post exposed the Watergate scandal to the public to fight for freedom of speech and the press. Woodward and Bernstein investigated and wrote the story about the betrayal of their own government. “You know, there’s never been a story like this. You’re going to call the Attorney General of the United States a crook,” Bradlee said. The involvement in the scandal went all the way up to the president of the United States. This would then lead to the resignation of President Nixon.

The movie captures the true industry of journalism. Woodward and Bernstein’s reporting showed investigative journalism. They followed their journalism code of ethics and purpose to inform the public, even behind all the closed doors.

The story shines the light on the profession of journalism and its importance to the U.S. The film uses light and its absence effectively. The Post’s newsroom is brightly lit as the reporters bring forth the truth. The dark scenes are kept dark to show the shadiness and how the Washington Post brought attention to it.  The movie shows the inside of the industry in the ’70s with pay phones and notepads to put together a political thriller. The movie plays out like a documentary, as if a Go-Pro were put on to follow Woodward and Bernstein in the 1972 story.

In 2020, watching “All the President’s Men” is intriguing. At the time of the movie, Katharine Graham owned and operated the Washington Post: the newspaper that went all the way to the highest rank of the country, exposing the truth that brought down the president. Now Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, owns the Washington Post. The news company clearly has a rich history.

Understanding how investigative journalism helped end Nixon’s presidency is interesting, as we just saw President Trump acquitted after his impeachment. Nixon and Trump were both in the process of being impeached for abuse of power, yet both were not removed from office. Nixon resigned and Trump was acquitted by the senate. The Nixon and Trump presidencies have other similarities. Both campaigns had information stolen.

Many journalists were interested in Trump’s investigation. That was not the case for Nixon. The Washington Post was the only news company digging into the story of Nixon. This could be because Woodward and Bernstein brought the truth and power of the First Amendment against a President. The Washington Post’s brave move to follow the story and dig deeper showed the importance of the First Amendment. “Not that there’s a lot riding on this. Only the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press and maybe the future of our democracy,”  Ben Bradlee said.

The First Amendment grants the freedom of speech and a free press. A democracy works when people know about the government through the free flow of ideas. This is why the First Amendment was put into place for our democracy: so people can govern themselves. People need to be educated on their own government. This is where journalism takes a stand for the country. Bernstein and Woodward showed how vital the free press is to our society. Their journalism literally rewrote American history.

Journalism and the Fight for Freedom

Does journalism matter? Isn’t it just a bunch of opinions? These are very modern and pertinent questions. They aren’t new, though. Americans have been asking these questions as long as journalism has existed. Looking into the past can add more light to current situations. History has a lot to say on the topic.

Scene from All the President’s Men.

Alan J. Pakula directed the 1976 film “All the President’s Men.” The film explores these same questions many are asking in modern society. It is based on the experiences of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Woodward and Bernstein were reporters for the Washington Post. Together they brought the Watergate conspiracy to light. They showed that then-president Richard Nixon had hired people to dig up dirt on his political opponents. He wanted to rig the election so that he would be reelected.

Bernstein and Woodward stumble onto the case. At first, they think they are simply writing about a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. They soon realize that something much bigger and stranger is going on.

The film follows the reporters’ struggle to find facts on Watergate. They encounter hostility everywhere they go. They have to risk their careers, their reputations and even their lives.

Ben Bradlee was the editor of the Washington Post at the time this took place. In one tense scene he explains to Bernstein and Woodward the importance of their story. “Not that there’s a lot riding on this,” he says. “Only the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press and maybe the future of our democracy.”

The film shows how these two men were able to take down a huge government conspiracy ring. They showed how powerful telling the truth can be. In their reporting, they exposed some of the threats that attack fair elections. Many of these threats still exist today.

This sense of urgency is felt throughout the film. It shows how important it is to journalists to get the story right. This is especially valuable today. Journalists are facing more hate than ever before. Many have accused journalists of not caring about truth. The Washington Post’s response in this situation is great. Its staff members were committed to making sure their facts were correct. It’s a powerful reminder of the high ethical standards brave journalists follow.

The high stakes involved make the film captivating to watch. You’ll see Woodward and Bernstein as they follow every possible lead to find information. You’ll see them begging for information in bizarre meetings. You’ll see them going into dark parking garages to meet mysterious informants. You’ll see them piecing together clues. And you’ll see them discover a plot more sinister than they’d ever imagined. You’ll get to see a truly great moment in U.S. history.

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword

Cast from All the President’s Men.

Americans are proud people. They want to support their country however they can. Some fly American flags off their porches. Some sing the National Anthem at sporting events. Others sign up to defend the country from enemies, foreign and domestic, by joining the military. More go into politics, hoping to make the country better for all who live in it.

The world of politics does not have the same dangers as the world of war. It isn’t an easy world to navigate either, however. That fact was never clearer than after the Washington Post published a story in 1972 about a cover-up that led all the way to the Oval Office.

What was first reported as a routine break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in the Watergate Office Building soon became more. Two reporters for the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, thought there was more to that story. So, they began to dig deeper.

When some of the arrested burglars were found to be former CIA and FBI agents, Woodward went to his anonymous source, Deep Throat, for help. Deep Throat helped piece together what the reporters were missing by insisting they “follow the money.”

By following Deep Throat’s advice, Woodward and Bernstein discovered that the burglars were connected to President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign committee. Woodward and Bernstein began talking to as many people as they could to find the truth. That did not make many people happy. Soon, Woodward and Bernstein were being warned to stop investigating or risk their lives.

Woodward and Bernstein did not stop and they were finally able to put together who knew what. One of those people was President Nixon. After publicly denying that he knew anything, President Nixon was soon unable to hide his knowledge any longer. The Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn over tapes of secretly recorded conversations. Some of those conversations held undeniable evidence. President Nixon resigned from office in August 1974 rather than face impeachment.

The movie “All the President’s Men” covers Woodward and Bernstein’s actions leading to this monumental discovery. Along with Woodward and Bernstein, the movie follows Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of the Washington Post. When talking to Woodward and Bernstein about the implications the story could have, Bradlee demanded they get it right. “Not that there’s a lot riding on this. Only the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press and maybe the future of our democracy,” Bradlee said.

Woodward, Bernstein and the Washington Post were the only ones reporting on this story. Every other paper thought the burglary of the DNC’s headquarters was just that–a burglary. If it weren’t for these brave reporters or their trustful editor, Nixon’s crimes may have never been discovered. No one would know the truth, and Nixon could have gotten away with the burglary, the secret recordings, bribes and much more. Nixon was 20 months into his second term in office. He would have had two more years to manipulate the U.S. government for his benefit. Thankfully, that was not the case. And it’s due in part to two reporters from the Washington Post.

Reporting That Changed the Country

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” These are the words of philosopher George Santayana. They are the lesson from the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s. The Watergate scandal gave politicians valuable lessons. But, the most important teachings came from the reporters who exposed political fraud.

Journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward worked without rest, guided by their editor, Benjamin Bradlee. They uncovered one of the biggest political scandals in history.

In 1972 five men broke into the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., and attempted to steal files and install wire taps. These men wanted to influence the reelection of then President Richard Nixon. They were caught and brought to court. Woodward was assigned to cover their court case. This case started it all as Bradlee asked Bernstein to work with Woodward. The pair of journalists balanced each other both as reporters and as people.

Over the next two years they stayed true to their duty as journalists. Bradlee trusted his journalists. But he also made sure their sources were reliable. All three men were faithful to reporting facts and the truth. They only wrote things they could prove with two or more sources. All told, their actions changed the way Americans see their presidents.

Looking back at these events, it’s easy to see how different things could have been. If Woodward and Bernstein had listened to their critics and stopped exploring Watergate, this country could be a different place. Their work saved the First Amendment rights of free speech and free press. People might not trust the news without these reporters. The public could have lost trust if they had reported facts without proof. Their work also saved the role of newspapers as guardians and watchdogs. Without their work, corrupt politicians could continue to commit crimes without anyone knowing.

The gravity of their work is caught by Bradlee in the film “All the President’s Men.” Near the end of the film Bradlee says to his two reporters, “Not that there’s a lot riding on this. Only the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press and maybe the future of our democracy.” This marks the value of these journalists’ work. It’s safe to say that their promise to journalistic ethics and standards help saved American rights.

These men risked their careers — and their lives — to expose the truth. All writers can learn from their lessons of loyalty to thoughtful, ethical and factual writing. Beyond journalism, there are lessons for all professionals. These journalists showed what it means to believe in something. They held themselves to high standards and didn’t quit in the face of danger.

These lessons clearly show in “All the President’s Men.” This film stars Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. These actors give viewers an inside look at the events that changed the nation and showed Americans the power of good reporting. The film is based on the book written by Woodward and Bernstein.

Viewers know the film is true because the story comes directly from Woodward and Bernstein. With this first-hand account, the film draws viewers into the story. They feel as if they’re part of the search. They follow the clues along with Woodward and Bernstein. It’s an up-close and thrilling look at the time when journalism changed American politics for the better. The time when brave journalists changed American politics forever.


Scene from All the President’s Men.

Following the Money

Scene from All the President’s Men.

In the early 1970s, things were different. Computers were just getting started, and what was fashionable seems unusual to us now. The 1970s also witnessed an important event that helped change journalism for the better. The Watergate Scandal was an event that disrupted many lives, but it also helped journalism in the long run. With all the surrounding “fake news” in today’s news, it is hard to tell fact from fiction. We can learn many lessons from Watergate.

Former FBI and CIA agents had broken into offices of the Democratic National Committee. That was something Richard Nixon was involved in and helped to cover up. Nixon resigned during his second term as president. He preferred not to be impeached and charged with the crimes. One lesson to take from this is not to trust everything the government says or does. You never know what it could be hiding.

The risks that Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the two reporters from the Washington Post who uncovered the Watergate Scandal, took have some wondering how these men were not killed. “Mitchell started the cover-up early; everyone is involved in the cover- up, all the way to the top. The whole U.S. intelligence community is mixed in with the covert activities,” Robert Redford, who played Woodward, said in the film. “The extent of it is incredible. And people’s lives are in danger, maybe including ours.”

Bernstein and Woodward would not have been able to do this feat alone. Woodward received information from a secret informant who went by the name of Deep Throat. He told Woodward to “Follow the money,” which led them to uncover more than just a robbery attempt.

It might have been hard to believe the Watergate Scandal when it came to light. “Not that there’s a lot riding on this. Only the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press and maybe the future of our democracy,” Ben Bradlee, executive editor of the Post, said in the movie “All the President’s Men.” If it were not for the work of Bernstein and Woodward, the Nixon administration might have been able to get away with the crimes.

“All the President’s Men” is a must watch for not only journalists, but for everyone because it shows an important part of U.S history. It gives a behind-the-scenes look at writing for the Washington Post. With the suspense of their search for the evidence they need, Bernstein and Woodward, with the help of Deep Throat, “follow the money.” They uncovered one of the biggest scandals in U.S history.


Bringing Truth to the Community and Then the World

As of 2020, the social media “#metoo” movement of women standing up to sexual assault, USA Gymnastics’ sex abuse scandal or the Penn State football Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal may be cases we’ve heard of. But do we know or remember the child sex abuse scandal involving the Roman Catholic Church? It’s the story that was swept under the carpet but needed justice. It happened close to home: Boston.

Scene from Spotlight.

The Boston Globe Spotlight team was assigned to investigate allegations against priest John Geoghan, accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Spotlight was an investigation team that dug to expose the truth of crimes by higher powers. “If we cover this story, everybody will hear about it,” reporter Michael Rezendes said. Compared to other pieces in the paper, the Spotlight staff needs months to investigate and publish.

The Spotlight team members saw a pattern of re-assigning Geoghan to different parishes. They then found this is a systematic cover-up of repeating the process of re-assigning abusive priests to work in other parishes. “Show me the church manipulated the system so that these guys wouldn’t have to face charges,” Boston Globe executive editor Marty Baron said.  Team members then revealed the scandal that began decades ago (1930s) with step-by-step procedures by the church governance. “We need to focus on the institution, not the individual priests,” Baron said. The team uncovered 87 priests who were guilty of this misconduct, being 6 percent of Boston’s priests.

The film demonstrates the journey journalists go through when reporting sensitive subjects.  Although the records in this case were supposed to be public, the Globe had to sue to gain access.  “These exhibits you’re after, Mr. Rezendes, they’re very sensitive records,” Judge Volterra said. Spotlight faced people not wanting to release information and having to dig for records. The church had some of the information hidden and lawyers were not able to speak on the matter.

In the middle of the team members’ investigation, 9/11 happened. This put a stop to their work. “Look, I get it. No one wants to read about kids getting raped by priests, especially now. But you asked a lot of people to relive some very painful experiences,” a victim, Phil Saviano, said. The team members then faced challenges of completing the story, racing to publish before competing papers and being a voice for their victims.

Victims felt that the church had failed in its role to protect. They had nowhere to go after the abuse. “See, it is important to understand that this is not just physical abuse, it’s spiritual abuse, too. And when a priest does this to you, he robs you of your faith. So you reach for the bottle or the needle. Or if those don’t work, you jump off a bridge. That’s why we call ourselves survivors,” Saviano said.

The film powerfully showed the courage and struggle of the victims who came forward to relive their past. As the victims felt their power was taken from them, Spotlight gave a voice to help other victims and save others. This was many of the victims’ first time speaking about this experience to anyone. Prior to the peak of the internet, this story brought forth more victims from around the world after release.

The team then faced other challenges that became more personal. Marty Baron, who assigned Spotlight, is accused of not being sensitive to the Catholic community in Boston as a newbie to Boston and being Jewish. Head of Spotlight, Robby Robinson, felt pressure as an alum of B.C. High that had an administration that allowed pedophilia against some of his classmates. Mike Rezendes loses hope of returning to church and questions his youth of attending church. “They knew and they let it happen! It could’ve been you, it could’ve been me, it could’ve been any of us!” Rezendes said. Reporter Sacha Pfeiffer stopped attending church with her grandmother. Reporter Matt Carroll realized a priest treatment center was across the road from his home as the investigation became personal with his need to protect his own children. “I got one of those treatment centers a block from my house. We got neighbors with kids. I know that the work we do is confidential, but I’m feeling like…I should tell ’em,” Carroll said.

As journalists, the Spotlight team members faced the responsibility to publish this story despite their challenges. As they became aware, they needed to pursue the story. “I also know that there’s a story here. And I think it’s an important story,” Rezendes said. The team had a passion to bring forth the truth. The journalists even created a database document to organize their information. (This was during a time before databases were widespread.). Their tireless research uncovered a truth that many preferred to stay hidden.

Spotlight’s impact of bringing forth the truth affected Boston and then the world. The actual Spotlight team won the Pulitzer Prize for public service. Spotlight showed the power of investigative journalism that made a genuine change in the world.



The Story of the Nixon Administration

“All the President’s Men” is a movie that stars both Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Both of these actors are very successful and have both won the Lifetime Achievement award. In this particular movie, they both played reporters for the Washington Post investigating Watergate. The Watergate break-in was a political scandal in the United States involving the administration of President Richard Nixon. It unfolded from 1972 to 1974 and led to Nixon’s resignation. The scandal stemmed from the Nixon administration’s subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement in the June 17, 1972, failed break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. What the Post did was important to the freedoms of the First Amendment because the Post discovered the truth of the Watergate scandal.

If Bernstein, Woodward and their editor, Ben Bradlee, didn’t pursue this story, the American public wouldn’t see the presidency and the nation’s political institutions the same. A long-term effect of the Watergate scandal caused widespread distrust by the American public. They stopped trusting political institutions. If the facts of the scandal were never reported by the Washington Post, politicians would be able to get away with their lies with no consequences. So, politicians are more accountable because journalists are watching them.

One thing you can take away from what Bernstein, Woodward and the Post did is to follow your dreams no matter how hard it can be. These journalists risked their reputations and even their lives to bring the public the truth.

If you could only watch one movie, it should definitely be, “All The President’s Men.” If you take this advice to watch this movie, you’ll learn about how tough the job of being a reporter really is. You’ll also learn about the risks that come along with getting a story out there.

Scene from All the President’s Men.

Reporting the Indescribable

There are over 170,000 words in the English language. And the BBC noted in a 2018 article that most people use fewer than 20,000 words. Even with that many adjectives, it is impossible to describe the rampant atrocities and unspeakable horrors that plagued the Catholic Church for decades. There was an indescribable evil that seeped into both the church and the community. Boston fortunately had a spotlight to uncover this darkness.

This writer was born and raised in Massachusetts and is a former member of the Roman Catholic Church. This writer also clearly remembers when the Boston Globe uncovered that many priests were sexually assaulting children. The public responded to this news with anger and disgust. Many people left their faith because of this. This writer was one of those people. The church hid brutal and damaging acts. This is unforgivable. And it would have been unknown without the work of the Spotlight reporters.

The Spotlight team followed many of the same methods Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein used when they investigated the Watergate scandal. It is odd that the Catholic Church scandal and the Watergate scandal were concurrent in some ways.

Woodward and Bernstein broke the news of political fraud in the 1970s. In 2001, Walter “Robby” Robinson, Mike Rezendes, Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer of the Boston Globe Spotlight team broke the news using the same reporting tools. They did this almost 30 years later. They studied church directories. They personally interviewed victims. And they made repeated connections with people on both sides of the story.

The team never stopped. They were led by Marty Baron. Baron was new to Boston when this story surfaced for the second time. Baron worked with Walter Robinson, who led the Spotlight team. They saw the need to cover this story despite the influence of the church. Many people felt the church was too powerful. And there were examples of morally vacant clergy, lawyers and police hiding reports of pedophile priests. This did not stop the Spotlight team.

Nothing stopped the reporters’ pledge to finding the truth. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 slowed their progress. But it did not stop them. Michael Rezendes said he never saw his wife. And that did not stop him. The reporters met with victims who also suffered with substance abuse. They faced traumatic stories. And they confronted powerful institutions without wavering. The whole team put their careers, and their families, aside to face the truth and expose the terror.

The team grew professionally because of this story. They won a Pulitzer Prize and other honors for their work. They also grew personally. Each of them was changed forever by these events. This includes Matt Carol. He learned how close a treatment center for priests was to his own home.

These events changed history. This reporting rewrote the public opinion of the church. Something such as this happens once in a lifetime. This impact, and the people who made it possible, are captured in the film, “Spotlight.”

This award-winning 2015 film only shows the events leading up to the Boston Globe’s first story about this dark side of the church. That is all it needs to show. This film never hides the details of the trauma. And it is only through such a raw and honest lens that audiences fully learn about these events. Some viewers may be uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, this film gives audiences chances. It opens the story of both the news and the reporters who followed it. This film guides audiences out of the darkness and into a world that is well-informed and well-lit. A world where people can hopefully speak when they are hurt or when they have hurt someone. Spotlight gives a voice to the voiceless.