Fallout Continues Over Retracted Boston.com Item

SichuanGardenLogoA juicy deconstruction has been shared today by Boston magazine contributing editor David S. Bernstein.

As many of you have already heard and read, Boston.com last week published and then retracted a follow-up item suggesting that a Harvard Business School professor had sent an email with racist overtones to a local Chinese restaurant. Incredibly, a subsequent editorial meeting about all this on Thursday December 11 was secretly recorded and leaked. Bernstein, under the headline “What the Hell Happened to Boston.com?“, offers a full-course primer about the chronology of this journalistic debacle. Events that are still percolating and progressing a week later:

According to a report this morning on BostInno, the [Boston.com] editorial reins, at least in the interim, will be put in the hands of someone with no apparent newsroom editing experience at all: Eleanor Cleverly, Globe Media’s director of content for digital marketplaces. The same report suggests that [editor, retracted item co-author Hilary] Sargent is going to move into a senior writer’s role.

To this point, Boston.com has been extraordinarily lucky — fallout has been limited to tsk-tsking by media nerds, and [Professor Ben] Edelman has shown no sign that he’ll sue. (As WGBH’s Adam Reilly and Northeastern University’s Dan Kennedy opined on Beat The Press, the site may have put itself at risk for a libel suit by publishing the fake racist email, compounded with the T-shirt episode, which seemed to betray an editor’s bias against the subject.)

There is as you can surmise by the excerpt above much more to this story. Towards the end of his piece, Bernstein asks more questions, including whether the right person at Boston.com is taking the fall. Read his full blog post here.

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