Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Transparency? Not at the Boston Globe!

NY Times "A" Share Price vs. S&P 500 Index - 2 year Trend


A letter writer who should be a blogger writes in today’s Boston Globe:

I FIND it hard to believe that Globe editors decided not to pursue the story of Deval Patrick's brother-in-law , who reportedly had pleaded guilty to raping his wife while they were separated ("Patrick, Healey spar over report on kin," City & Region, Oct. 14).

Sure, the crime itself has no bearing on Patrick's qualifications as a gubernatorial candidate, but the ramifications do.

While Patrick decries the current sex-offenders' registration system as lax and calls for reform, he finds no issue with his brother-in-law's failure to register as a sex offender for the past nine years.

And the Globe finds this news irrelevant to its campaign coverage?

I'm not surprised. I can only imagine what would have been written had this been Kerry Healey's family.

KAREN LONG
Concord

Note that the lady’s main point in writing the letter is that she distrusts the Globe’s professed ‘objectivity’ in the matter of the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign. Who in their right mind does not?

While the NY Times corporation’s stock erodes in value (see above) the Globe and other NYT organs maintain a quite unconvincing fa├žade of objectivity while promoting what many readers see as a relentless barrage of liberal propaganda. Is there a better way to operate? Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine posts about a recent weekend of newspaper navel-gazing at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. Writing about the Guardian he notes:

Each year for the last three, the Guardian has issued a “social, ethical, and environmental audit” of itself, publishing it online and in print and hiring an independent auditor to check them on it. It is an impressive document that sets context by explaining the mission of the Scott Trust that owns the paper and by reviewing the changes in the business in the last year, trying to open the door on debates within the institution…

Jeff blogged the weekend meeting and quotes the editor of the Guardian:

“Newspaper people are talking more about rights and less about transparency and responsibility. But the explosion of the web has changed all that, allowed readers to challenge us… or to bypass us altogether…. It boils down to the word we have been using a lot this weekend: trust. We should think rather more about trust than we used to.”

So how much does a reader trust a newspaper that claims to be objective yet keeps even its own style guide unpublished while the corporate parent maintains 2 classes of stock – a situation that empowers the family owners but disarms other shareholders?

Look again at that chart. I submit that readers and shareholders alike are voting with their feet.

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