By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The Northeastern Globe

Congratulations to Michael Naughton and Hailey Heinz, two Northeastern journalism students whose investigative report on a dubious anti-gun initiative by Boston Mayor Tom Menino appears on the front page of today’s Boston Globe.The mayor has proposed suspending the driver’s licenses of gun offenders; but Naughton and Heinz found that few gun criminals even have licenses.

Naughton and Heinz did their work as part of an investigative-reporting class led by my NU colleague Walter Robinson, the Globe’s Pulitzer-winning retired Spotlight Team editor.

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  1. o-fish-l

    DanOver at the “Daley News” John J. Daley, who I believe also happens to be a Boston Police Sergeant, takes issue with the placement of the story as well as the analysis used to show Menino’s proposal would be ineffective. Best,O-FISH-L

  2. Neil

    I didn’t quite follow Daley’s objection, however I spotted the same paragraph he did:The Globe analysis, which sampled a quarter of those convicted last year, was not scientific. They might have explained what was not “scientific” about their approach. 25% seems like a valid sample size. But the findings are consistent with what law enforcement specialists said they would expect to find.It would have been nice to provide more source for this.Even so the article does a good job of pointing out how helpless any mayor is in doing anything about the situation. I think the Commish is right:The legislation does nothing to address the root causes of gun violence, he said, because of the federal government’s unwillingness “to do anything about guns.” He added: “So we resort to these kinds of things to do whatever we can to stop it. Obviously, this isn’t perfect. But it’s all we’ve got right now.”But as the article indicates, not only is the mayor’s idea not perfect, it’s essentially not of any use at all. Seems like the article is a beginning at least and puts the burden of evidence on the mayor’s office so in that sense has made its point quite nicely.

  3. Scott Allen Miller

    Right, and the gun buybacks of the 1990s were proven to be ineffective, too. That fact didn’t prevent Menino from reviving the program nor make the press skeptical about it. He must be shockled that these Northeastern students would even bother to do the research.Menino’s proposals are about making him look involved and concerned, not necessarily getting results. If crime happens to go down on its own as it did in the 90s, he can take credit. If it doesn’t, he can blame Vermont or President Bush for the problem as he has before and try something else that makes for great headlines but poor policy. He is only accountable for what goes right.The greatest success Menino has had is plastering his name on as much city property as possible. Even the Zamboni at the Frog Pond has been tagged with a huge MENINO.

  4. Peter Porcupine

    I’m glad the student’s paper was given such a boost, but really….was research NECESSARY to prove that violent gun criminals didn’t have licenses?I mean – is that a SURPRISE to anybody?Then again, we ARE talking about Menino.

  5. Anonymous

    this article is a classic cutesy gotcha hit job, all dressed up to look like an expose. menino never claimed every gun criminal had a license. but even if just 15 percent do, and they lose them, that would be a net plus, no? the law would have one more reason to hold someone — driving without a license — who might be a known threat. i have no objection to exposing how small the impact of this plan would be, but to try to kill it with this disdainful prose is an example of strange journalistic arrogance.

  6. Bruce

    How would they even be able to use their driver’s licenses while locked away in sa tate prison?Oh, wait. That would require enforcing the existing laws and having judges put some of these scumbags behind bars where they belong.Never mind.

  7. Anonymous

    Nice work by the NU students. Unfortunately for them, they’ll be passed over for full time jobs by the Globe’s elitist management in favor of Northwestern, Columbia or Harvard kids after they graduate.

  8. Anonymous

    the globe might be guilty of a lot of sins, but being ivy snobs is not one of them. i worked there for a spell, and discovered that plenty of their upper management and recent hires were grads of NU, BC, and gasp, our state schools. check it out … i’m not wrong.

  9. Anonymous

    Maybe in the mail room, but the city desk is chalk full of untalented hacks from Ivy league schools. Isn’t journalism the greatest.

  10. Anonymous

    Don’t you mean “chock full?” Sorry, my state college education and experience as a former employee of the Globe copy desk can’t resist pointing out spelling errors. I could list a dozen reporters and editors who don’t have Ivy or even close-to-Ivy credentials. Not mail-room employees, whatever that’s supposed to infer.

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