Boston Papers Produce Extras On Law’s Resignation

By: Joe Strupp

Updated at 12 noon EST

Boston’s two daily newspapers reacted quickly to Friday’s news that embattled Cardinal Bernard Law had resigned his post as archbishop of Boston, with each paper producing two extra editions that hit the streets within two hours of the announcement from the Vatican.

“We knew this might come down today and we decided yesterday to do it and there was plenty of planning with circulation, production, and promotion,” Boston Globe Editor Martin Baron said Friday morning. The Globe first broke the story last winter that Law had systematically covered up accusations of child molestation by priests for years. “The announcement came at 6 a.m. and we had people here ready to handle it,” Baron said.

The Globe had its first extra edition on the street at 8:30 a.m., according to Baron. It included the regular Friday paper with a new front page. A second extra hit the streets at 9:45 a.m. with two inside pages of news on the resignation.

The Boston Herald‘s first extra edition hit the streets just before 8 a.m., according to Editor Andrew Costello, who said it included six new pages of news that were not in the regular Friday edition. He said the second extra was set to roll off the presses by 10:30 a.m., with eight pages on the Law resignation. “It is an extraordinary event in the Catholic church and in Boston,” Costello said about the decision to run extras. “It is a momentous event for our readers. A lot of families are affected.”

Costello said about 18,000 copies of the first extra were printed, with about 15,000 planned for the second version. The paper’s normal press run is about 290,000, he said. The Globe‘s first extra included about 22,000 copies, with the second offering 20,000. At press time, a third Globe extra was planned for later Friday.

Although both the Herald and Globe have covered the Catholic Church crisis in Boston closely, the Globe has been credited with leading the charge after suing in late 2001 for access to documents from dozens of lawsuits against the Boston Archdiocese by plaintiffs accusing priests of child molestation. The Globe eventually produced a book compiling its investigative work that is among the strong contenders for a Pulitzer Prize.

The Herald was the first of the two papers to editorialize in favor of Law stepping down, which the Globe did later.

“Bringing down the cardinal is not what the Globe set out to do,” said Walter Robinson, editor of the newspaper’s investigative team. “It would be wrong to say there is any satisfaction in the cardinal resigning. Our satisfaction is that we did what we were supposed to do.”

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