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

A weird, sad tale comes to an end

At least one chapter in the weird, sad tale of Tania deLuzuriaga has come to an end, as she has resigned from the Boston Globe. As you may know, deLuzuriaga was recently found to have exchanged inappropriate e-mails of a sexual nature with a high-ranking school official when she was a reporter for the Miami Herald.

Journalists know they can’t secretly carry on an affair with people they cover. At the Miami New Times, Kyle Munzenrieder reminds us of the great Abe Rosenthal rule: “You can fuck an elephant if you want to, but if you do you can’t cover the circus.” DeLuzuriaga’s ethical breach was a serious one.

But to the extent that some people at the Globe agitated for her to leave, as Christine McConville reported in the Boston Herald last week, I think her situation raises an ethical question for management, too: Should wrongdoing in a previous job be held against someone if she is performing competently and without incident in her current job?

I’ve done no independent reporting on this, and there may well be issues about which I’m not aware. But assuming deLuzuriaga kept her personal and professional lives separate while she was at the Globe, it strikes me that that should have been good enough.

Gender hypocrisy raises its ugly head, too. As Amy Derjue notes at Boston Daily, and Rick Sawyer observes at Bostonist, deLuzuriaga’s erstwhile and extremely married alleged paramour not only has paid no penalty, he just got a promotion. Nice.

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  1. Sean Roche

    The relevant fact is that the misconduct at the Miami Herald arose after deLuzuriaga had joined the Globe. If the Globe had known before they hired here, they could have considered it in the hiring decision. And, they could have insisted on assurances that she wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. Another paper is free to hire her with full knowledge.Gender bias? Puh-leeze! There are different standards for reporters and reporting sources/subject. How did he undermine his credibility or his professional obligations by having an affair that, perhaps, improved his coverage?Same outcome if the reporter were male and the subject female.

  2. Amused

    Two things.What on earth does “extremely married alleged paramour” mean and of what relevance is it?Where’s the proof of a secret affair.The damage here is not from the alleged ethical violations. It is more from the rush to convict and the double standard inherent in playing “gotcha” with emails.Show me the smoking gun.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Sean: Point taken, but there’s still something unfair about it.Amused: They had electronic sex, as it were. For purposes of assessing the journalistic conflict of interest, that’s all we need to know.

  4. Jeff Cutler

    As a journalist and a scooterist, I’m less pleased that Ms. deLuzuriaga wasn’t called on the carpet for the inaccuracies and downright dangerous information she shared in the scooter article.That article endangered everyone who read it or even viewed the photo accompanying the story.The only person this alleged dalliance has hurt was her. *Until it’s reported that her biased work in Florida injured readers in some way.JeffJeff Cutler dot com

  5. zokuga

    There’s nothing unfair or sexist about it. I doubt many professions outside of the clergy would want to impose a hardline “no sexual impropriety” rule here for fear of encroaching on their employees’ private lives. But when it comes to actions that violate on-the-job performance, then those are justifiably a fireable offense.

  6. Mike F

    Dan, under your logic, if management were to find out that a recently hired employee had stolen from the last company he worked for, they shouldn’t fire him, provided he has performed his new job well and hasn’t stolen anything (yet.)

  7. Fred Fury

    Miraculously, Mrs. Greenspan (Andrea Mitchell) is still waxing sage about the economic meltdown despite sleeping next to one of it’s architects. This must be the it’s-OK-if-you’re-a-celebrity-network-gasbag exception.

  8. rknil

    There is no gender hypocrisy here. The right decision was made.I find it entertaining that this angle is even presented when newspapers have no problem with continually bashing the “evil white males” and allowing those agendas to run rampant in newsrooms. Are there white males who have been promoted undeservedly? Of course. Are there non-white non-males who have been promoted undeservedly? Of course. All are wrong.These issues illustrate what has become apparent: Newspapers are hopelessly incapable of policing themselves in any rational fashion. In the attempt to right some historic wrong, they simply do more wrong. Even as there are far more available applicants than open positions, newspapers still manage to hire the clueless, the inept, and the unethical.

  9. Robin Edgar

    “They had electronic sex, as it were.”Were the batteries included? 😉

  10. DanvilleVa

    Gee, what is it about newspapers where reporters are constantly in someone else’s pants? Either someone they’re reporting on or a subordinate or co-worker? I worked for a Media General paper where a MALE reporter filmed the breasts of local businesswomen without their consent or knowledge, showed the footage around the newsroom and the editor and managers laughed at it! The publisher then LIED about knowing about it and those of us who objected were all fired or forced out. The videographer has gone on to a bigger and better job within the company. Want proof? Visit Fact is? There are no ethics in the media anymore – it’s all double-standards and women lose – always. But at least I can blog about it!!

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