Laid Off Journo Scoops Boston’s Dailies via Twitter

There’s a terrifically amazing story coming out of Boston and of course it has to do with politics. If you guessed that it’s the news that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will not be running for reelection after nearly 20 years in office you would be wrong, but not far off.

Yesterday the news broke that Mayor Menino would not be seeking reelection – the Globe had it, the Herald had it, RTs were spreading across Twitter with the fury of a California wildfire.

But the real story started earlier this month when the city’s alt-weekly Boston Phoenix closed its doors. Among those laid off was longtime political reporter David S. Bernstein. If you’ve lived in Boston then you know Bernstein as an institution when it comes to political news. He fills up your Twitter stream with the latest from Beacon Hill and City Hall, sometimes to the point where you unfollow for a few days just to take a break.

Unfortunately, if you were not following Bernstein yesterday, you missed out on the scoop of all scoops. At 2:27pm @dbernstein posted the following two tweets:

Sure it was unconfirmed but holy hell, what if it was true. If anyone would know it would be Bernstein right? He continued:


Then he located the sources:

Then came the buy in from the Dorchester Reporter’s editor:

Throughout this entire stream from @dbernstein there came nothing at first from the dailies. The Boston Globe and Boston Herald were silent. Were they really sitting on an embargo as some are speculating? Were they restricted by the need to confirm sources as one editor suggests?

In an email excerpt from Globe editor Brian McGrory to Boston Business Journal‘s Galen Moore:

David simply wasn’t a factor in what we pursued and published. The Globe has its institutional standards, standards that spread across the organization, with institutional credibility that has been built up in this community for generations. While our reporting led to strong indications early in the day that the mayor wouldn’t be seeking reelection, those indications – sources with indirect knowledge, if you will – didn’t reach our standard for publication until the evening. While history tells me that David is a good political reporter, I would certainly not stake the Globe’s reputation on his Twitter dispatches, or even concede that he was working with more information than we already had. He said on Fox 25 last night, “I don’t have it from directly Menino or his staff,” even repeating, “I have not confirmed that directly from his offices directly.” A freelance journalist, self-publishing, obviously has a far different standard than the Boston Globe.

I think they got scooped by a veteran reporter who lives and breathes his beat regardless of the promise of a paycheck. To lump Bernstein in with unethical bloggers is a poor attempt to steer the conversation away from the simple fact that the dailies got beat plain and simple. So here’s to you Mr. Bernstein, keep doing what you do.


One thought on “Laid Off Journo Scoops Boston’s Dailies via Twitter

  1. I have the utmost respect for the team at the Globe, but you’re right on this one, Brian. The dailies got scooped, plain and simple. Bernstein is a first-class journalist, and about as dedicated as they come. No one working in the Boston political scene should be surprised that he broke this story.

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