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Full disclosure, even when it hurts

by on February 16, 2014

I read a Boston Globe article called “When teens took on tobacco,” which talks about Breath of Life Dorchester (BOLD), an advocacy group started by a “bunch of kids” who didn’t like that their neighborhood was being targeted by “Big Tobacco.”

Cynthia Loesch was a 13-year-old when she decided to combat advertising on storefronts and even in a “certain broadsheet,” meaning the Globe.

Yvonne Abraham, the Globe columnist who wrote the article, also continued to mention that Loesch tried to take her case to the Globe and nothing happened. Loesch then held a press conference to “call the paper out,” which led the Globe to change its policy and stop carrying tobacco ads.

I personally appreciated the transparency on the Globe’s part. Mentioning their conflict of interest seemed unavoidable, but it doesn’t seem like there was an effort to skirt responsibility. It’s spelled out that it took a press conference to create the change that Loesch wanted.

Was this disclosure appropriate or necessary in this context or was it a tool to segue into a new point by bridging parts of the story? How often have you seen a publication admit unflattering truths about itself and what degree should disclosures like this happen? As long as they are true and don’t create a danger to any party involved,  what is the extent that disclosures like this should happen?


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  1. Christina Gregg permalink

    I love that the Globe published this piece despite their involvement in the story. A noteworthy story to tell, the Globe’s ability to publish this is a breath of fresh air in an industry too often dominated by revenue based decisions surrounding the pros and cons of profit margins.

  2. ccorso permalink

    I agree that I love the Globe’s decision to publish this piece even though it may have not been in the best interest for them profit wise. This is a change from some of the stories that are published by newspapers just to help the paper make money or to get more page views on the paper’s website. It’s not to often in this country that you see an organization publish something that doesn’t show them in the best light.

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