Trial and Error: Boston Globe Catches Up

August 26, 2015

As the hard reading staff noted yesterday, the Boston dailies have reached a split decision on which high-profile local trials they’re covering: The Globe has been on the Owen Labrie alleged rape trial, while the Herald has been all over the Michelle Carter alleged text-message manslaughter case.

Today, though, the Globe doubled down with Laura Crimaldi’s piece on Metro Page One:

‘It’s now or never,’ text said to friend

Teen urged to kill himself, DA alleges

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NEW BEDFORD — She professed her love for him and promised to care for his grieving family when he was gone. All he had to do, she said, was take some Benadryl and let a combustion engine poison him with carbon monoxide. A life without pain awaited in heaven, she said.

“You have to just do it. . . . Tonight is the night. It’s now or never,” said one of the text messages Michelle Carter, then 17, is alleged to have sent to Conrad Henri Roy III in the days before his 2014 suicide.

The text message, among thousands the pair was said to have exchanged before Roy, 18, was found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in his truck in Fairhaven on July 13, 2014, has become public as Bristol County prosecutors fight a defense request to have the involuntary manslaughter case against Carter thrown out.

 

Not to get technical about it, but the Herald’s Jessica Heslam had that story yesterday.

Then again, at least the lately local broadsheet did something on the trial it’s been largely ignoring.

The same cannot be said for the fusty local tabloid. The Herald is still not covering the St. Paul’s School case in New Hampshire, which is odd since you’d think the class issue – fancy prep school, entitled tradition of the senior salute, etc. – would appeal to the Heraldniks.

No? Huh.


A Trial of Two Cities

August 25, 2015

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

There are currently two high-profile trials in the Boston area involving young people, but the local dailies only see one. Different ones.

The Boston Herald has gone all in on the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michelle Carter, who prosecutors say hounded New Bedford teen Conrad Roy into committing suicide last year.

Saturday’s Page One:

 

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And page 5:

 

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Today’s Herald gives Jessica Heslam’s piece all of page 3.

‘We’re doing horrible’

Grandmother: No ‘moving on’ from tragic death

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Janice Roy stood in her Mattapoisett backyard looking out at beautiful Buzzards Bay as she 
recalled her oldest grandchild, who prosecutors say took his own life last summer under pressure from his girlfriend.

A few hours earlier yesterday, Janice had sat through a gut-wrenching hearing in New Bedford Juvenile Court, where the attorney for Michelle 
Carter — the Plainville teen charged with causing the death of her beloved grandson — argued to have the involuntary manslaughter charge against her thrown out.

In one of thousands of text message exchanges, Carter told 18-year-old Conrad Roy III that his family would “get over” his suicide and “move on.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

 

Crosstown, the Boston Globe has limited its coverage of the Michelle Carter trial to a B2 news brief today.

 

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On the other hand, the stately local broadsheet is all over the case of Owen Labrie, the prep-school graduate accused of raping a 15-year old girl last year. We count seven pieces on the trial in the past week, with this one on Metro Page One today.

Labrie said he had sex with girl, peers testify

N.H. prep school classmates recall night of alleged rape

CONCORD, N.H. — In often crude language, four current and former students at St. Paul’s School testified Monday that Owen Labrie told them he had sex with a 15-year-old ed789e33046541b9ba64600606788ffe-3917df13d7c9453ea550a242d1384656-0girl who accuses him of rape, undercutting claims by Labrie’s defense team that the two did not have intercourse.

Andrew Thomson, who was Labrie’s roommate at the elite Concord prep school, testified that Labrie told him on the night of the alleged attack in May 2014 that he had taken the teenager’s virginity.

“He seemed a little taken aback, but overall happy” after the encounter, said Thomson, now a student at Brown University. “He seemed to be in a good mood.”

 

Not so much anymore, though.

The feisty local tabloid, meanwhile, has had nothing about the Labrie trial in its print edition, and just this Associated Press report on the web.

The hardreading staff isn’t sure there’s some deeper meaning in the split decision by the papers; we just know – say it with us – it’s good to live in a two-daily town.


Boston Herald: Boston.com Credibility Went Southie in St. Pat’s Coverage

March 18, 2015

No question: Boston.com has had its troubles lately.

And here comes more. From Boston Herald scribe Jessica Heslam’s column in today’s edition of the failly local tabloid:

Boston.com lowers the bar

Another kerfuffle after Southie 
post: ‘Every day is a drunk day’

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One day after a new editor took charge to impose standards at the Boston Globe’s beleaguered Boston.com, the website is drawing fire again — this time for posting a story that stated, “Every day is a drunk day in Southie.”

Headlined “True Life: I Was a Bartender In Southie During the St. Paddy’s Day Parade,” the post was written by Boston.com wire staff writer Jamie Loftus, who wrote about her experience at a South Boston restaurant during Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“Every day is a drunk day in Southie, but St. Paddy’s Day runs by a completely separate set of laws,” wrote Loftus, whose website bio says she is also a “standup and sketch performer.” “Sure, the tips are good, but servers earn every cent when it comes to dealing with the drunk masses first thing in the morning.”

 

Money quote: “I’m surprised such bigoted views are still tolerated at Boston.com,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston).

There’s also a tsk-tsk from former Boston mayor/current Herald contributor Ray Flynn, but it’s not worth repeating.

What is worth repeating: Boston.com needs some serious adult supervision.

Either that, or the Boston Globe should tear the sheets with Buston.com.


Herald Still Fired Up About Boston.com

January 16, 2015

As you would expect, the tsky local tabloid is on the Boston.com rumpus like Brown on Williamson.

From Jessica Heslam:

New Boston.com editor needs cred

Boston Globe’s beleaguered online sister site, Boston.com, is reeling from its latest viral blunder, and it’s high time the rudderless ship finds an experienced captain.

Boston.com yesterday fired Victor Paul Alvarez, an associate editor who posted a story making fun of death threats against House Speaker John Boehner and accusing the Ohio Republican of being a heavy drinker with a “pickled liver” who could survive being poisoned.

Globe CEO Mike Sheehan wouldn’t comment on Alvarez’s ouster but said no other Boston.com staffers were disciplined over the site’s latest mishap.

“It’s onward and upward,” Sheehan said.

 

As opposed to the last month’s downward, yeah?

Heslam also reports, “A contrite Alvarez took to Twitter to address his firing — and critics. ‘The story I wrote was awful. Tasteless. Mean. Bosses felt it was inexcusable. They fired me,’ Alvarez wrote in a tweet. ‘I did not pine for murder. I made a tasteless joke that I clearly regret. Before I was fired and now.'”

And then there’s this:

 

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Crosstown at the Boston Globe, there’s only this:

 

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Explanation? Boston.com GM Corey Gottlieb told Heslam, “We do not comment on individual personnel matters. Any decisions made are far less about one employee than they are about the collective Boston.com team and maintaining and strengthening the standards and values they share.”

But haven’t up to this point, eh?


Empathy Gap in Boston Dailies’ Colleen Ritzer Coverage?

January 11, 2015

From our Late to the Party of the First Part desk

The savage 2013 murder of Danvers High School teacher Colleen Ritzer has finally wended its way into court, and yesterday’s local dailies presented very different pictures of the initial legal proceedings and their effects on Colleen’s mother, Peggie Ritzer.

Jessica Heslam’s column in the Boston Herald:

Voice connects moms in teacher tragedy

Peggie Ritzer’s face creased with anguish as the recorded voice of another mother on the other side of the 010915chism008courtroom — the mom of the teenager charged with raping and killing Ritzer’s beloved daughter Colleen — brought her to tears . . .

Diana Chism was at the Danvers police station. Her son Philip had been found, the cops told her, but he was under arrest and they believed he had hurt somebody — a teacher.

“Oh my God, please don’t tell me somebody’s dead. Oh my God, I’m going to pass out,” Diana said on the dramatic recording, played in Salem Superior Court yesterday at a hearing to determine whether the teen’s statements to police will be tossed out.

Peggie Ritzer shed many tears yesterday, often cupping her face in her hands . . .

 

From the Boston Globe piece:

Ritzer’s parents, Peggie and Tom, were also there. When details of her daughter’s death emerged, Peggie Ritzer sometimes wept or hunched over and hung her head low.

 

Not judging. Just noting.


Wahlberg Finally a Marked Man in Boston Herald

December 9, 2014

The feisty local tabloid has been something of a Wahlflower in the past week’s Marky Mark rumpus, but today’s edition jumps into the pool with this column from Jessica Heslam.

Clean slate requires coming clean

Wahlberg’s records still sealed

Mark Wahlberg, Marky Mark

Mark Wahlberg wants the commonwealth of Massachusetts to wipe his violent, racially fueled criminal record clean — but the state won’t let you see what’s in his court files.

The Dorchester thug turned Hollywood star’s criminal and civil files in Boston courthouses have been sealed shut as the former rapper known as Marky Mark seeks a pardon.

It’s not surprising. His crimes are disturbing.

 

To detail just how disturbing those crimes were, Heslam draws on court papers posted on The Smoking Gun website in 1997. But we’re not like to see any more, Heslam reports.

The Probation Department couldn’t say when or why Wahlberg’s cases were sealed, citing privacy laws. The Parole Board said his criminal records are protected by the state’s Criminal Offender Record Information law.

 

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, those zany Namesniks add yet another wrinkle to the Ballad of Marked Mark.

 

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Huh. Life imitates art, eh? Or at least melodrama.


Charlie Baker: Sweetheart of the Herald’s Rodeo

September 24, 2014

This is mother’s milk to the feisty local tabloid.

‘Sweetheart’? C’mon, Charlie

Gaffe could haunt Baker

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Charlie Baker just can’t get it right when it comes to women.

The GOP gubernatorial candidate is desperately seeking female votes, but his latest gaffe — calling FOX 25 political ace Sharman Sacchetti a “sweetheart” — is sure to land him in the doghouse with some women voters.

 

Woof woof.

The Jessica Heslam piece in today’s Boston Herald, not surprisingly, contains the obligatory apology from Baker, whose campaign seems to be choreographed by Joe Cocker.

“I apologize to Sharman, as she is an accomplished professional and someone who I have come to both respect and consider a friend,” Baker said in a statement.

 

There are also the usual statements from the usual suspects in the umbrage-industrial complex.

Just for the record, here’s the incriminating video (see 1:03).

 

 

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, not a peep.

 

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C’mon, cupcakes – get on the stick, eh?


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