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by on October 6, 2014

An article written by Eric Bosco (who is a member of our journalism ethics class!) and Kayla Marchetti appeared in the Boston Globe this past Sunday. I know that Eric mentioned it on the first day of class during our ethical dilemma discussion, but I think it merits further attention – hence this blog post. For those of you that haven’t read it and/or need a refresher, it is an investigative piece dealing with the heroin overdose and resultant death of a UMass student. The article suggests that UMass authorities are in part culpable for the student – Logan’s – death due to his involvement in UMass Police’s confidential informant program. His guilt for being a “snitch” combined with the lack of help offered him by authorities seems to have contributed to his overdose. Moreover, he became an informant in order to conceal his addiction from his parents, so in effect, the confidential informant program blocked any help that his friends or family could have offered had UMass brought his situation to light.

I chose to post about this article because it reveals how important journalism can be in enacting potential change. The way I see it, Eric and Kayla recognized that it was their ethical imperative to publish this story, and in doing so inform the public/generative initiative to change policies so that cases like this will be handled differently in the future.

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2 Comments
  1. I also read the article, and I thought it was very well written and touched on some important points about processes at UMass. I wish I could have read the original one with all of the original quotes and his first name to have it be even more powerful!

    I think the article raises an important point that UMass needs to not use their students as “informants” but rather get them help for such issues. In fact, I was very happy to receive an email last Tuesday, 9/30, from the Chancellor with the subject line “Campus review of confidential informants.” The Chancellor has “ordered a full review of the campus’s current confidential informant program” and also has stopped the program as of right now until they find out more information. It’s a start!

  2. mariahscafidi permalink

    I really like your point about how the police not contacting his parents blocked any help he could have received from them. I agreed for the most part on that decision, because technically he is a legal adult so telling his parents is up to him – but I never thought about how being aware of the informant process could have caused his parents to get him help. I’m also happy that UMass is reviewing its processes and informant policies…I think (especially with what’s going on re: police in today’s world), this case just made a lot of students doubt how much their personal safety and well-being means to the police. Taking a step back and examining the process thoroughly could help some other students going through the same thing in the future. I agree with Stephanie – it’s a start.

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