BOSTON GLOBE’S TALK RADIO BAN STILL HOT TOPIC

By: Lucia Moses

Columnist Cries Foul After Editor Spikes Copy


The Boston Globe, which ousted columnists Patricia Smith
and Mike Barnicle for fabricating stories, is no stranger to
controversy. But Editor Matthew V. Storin thought enough had been
written about a Globe policy banning sportswriters from a
local talk-radio station when he spiked a column by Pulitzer
Prize-winner Eileen McNamara criticizing the rule.

Storin’s decision backfired – big time. An incensed McNamara
went on one of the shows crying censorship, and other local media
jumped on the story. The ensuing flap forced the Globe to
give it full play in its news pages.

“If Matt Storin had not killed this column, many fish would have
been wrapped in it,” McNamara said. “By killing it, he’s elevated
it.”

Defending his decision, Storin said the column also had the
appearance of a conflict of interest because McNamara’s husband
is a sportswriter; she said that’s a red herring, as her husband
doesn’t appear on the shows. Further, Storin said, the paper has
a strong record of covering, and criticizing, itself: “If she
thinks this place engages in censorship, she should leave.”
McNamara pointed out that columnists weren’t allowed to write on
the Barnicle fabrications.

The controversy started March 16 when Globe Sports Editor
Don Skwar banned his staffers from two sports-talk shows on WEEI
850-AM because he considered the shows’ content raunchy and
offensive.

Storin said McNamara won’t lose her job or column, even though
outside appearances are supposed to be cleared beforehand.
However, the Globe’s Newspaper Guild unit plans to contest
the ban.



Lucia Moses (lmoses@editorandpublisher.com) is an associate editor covering business for E&P.



Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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