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

Globe appends clarification to Shaughnessy’s column

The Boston Globe on Tuesday appended a clarification to Dan Shaughnessy’s online column about fired Red Sox announcer Don Orsillo, explaining the extent to which his Monday piece was changed after it was first posted.

Shaughnessy, as you no doubt recall, had reported that two Red Sox employees whom he did not name told him Fenway Park workers were under orders to confiscate signs supporting Orsillo. The removal of that line set off a tweetstorm Monday evening given that Globe publisher John Henry is the principal owner of the Red Sox, which, in turn, controls most of New England Sports Network (NESN), Orsillo’s employer. The clarification addresses the sign issue as well as how NESN handled the timing of the Orsillo announcement.

The clarification reads:

Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this story made reference to signs being confiscated at Fenway Park. The reference has been removed because the Globe could not independently verify that any signs were confiscated at the ballpark. This story has been edited to describe the degree to which NESN intended to keep the news of Don Orsillo’s departure confidential. The network did not intend to keep the information from Orsillo until January.

A shorter version appears in the print edition, leaving out the bit about the signs since that didn’t make it into print in the first place:

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 7.32.35 AM

No doubt the conspiracy theories will continue. But the Red Sox specifically denied that their employees had been given any order to confiscate signs, and Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reported Tuesday that he couldn’t find any evidence of it. If any signs were confiscated, presumably we’ll hear about it. I’m sure the Herald or any number of other news outlets (including Media Nation) would love to report such a story.

I think what matters here is that the Globe explained how and why Shaughnessy’s column was changed as Monday evening wore on. Managing editor for digital David Skok (on Twitter) and Shaughnessy himself (in an email exchange with me) both described it as part of the editing process. The difficulty is that, today, there are strong incentives to post first and edit later. As I noted Tuesday, many newspapers, including the Globe, are not as good as they should be at explaining why stories are changed after they’re first posted.

In this case, the Globe deserves praise for transparency.

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  1. Peter Sullivan

    I think it’s pretty clear that the Red Sox didn’t confiscate any Don Orsillo signs, you would have heard about that loud and clear by now . And I assume that the Red Sox are smart enough to realize that Twitter and Facebook would light up if they did…… The question is how did that get into the story anyway???? Dan Shaughnessy isn’t smart enough to sniff out a thinly sourced Red Sox fact?? Seems like a pretty big accusation to throw at the owner of your company without a pretty good source to rely on…

  2. mike benedict

    Shaughnessy is the classic anti-social kid in the corner who in struggling to get attention is more than willing to act out in any manner possible. It’s pathological. All the evidence we need to know John Henry is not an overbearing, meddling owner is wrapped up in the fact that The CHB still has a job at the Globe. Only an obsessive man prone to contrived story lines could miss the irony in that. But that’s the beauty of Shaughnessy: After 30+ years in the business, he still doesn’t get that we are laughing at him, not with him.

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