Boston Globe editor Nancy Barnes has sent a message to her staff that speaks to the strains of covering the war between Israel and Hamas. The Globe doesn’t have any journalists who are actually reporting on the conflict from the Middle East, but it regularly publishes news from wire services, and that leads to complaints from readers about tone and emphasis. Her message, provided by a trusted source, follows.
The war between Israel and Hamas has had far-reaching consequences, with strong sentiments and emotions rippling throughout communities around the world. It is being felt by every major institution in the country, the media writ large, our own newsroom, and our colleagues.
Questions have been raised by readers, subscribers and staffers about how we are framing the conflict, the choice of photos we make, the headlines we write, and the adjectives we use to describe these awful events. Every decision is scrutinized.
We want you to know that we take these questions very seriously as we grapple with how to tell this important story carefully and fairly, knowing that our choices will not make everyone happy,
We are discussing this as a leadership group. We have reached out to other newsrooms and standards and practices editors around the country to hear how they are weighing these issues. We have been listening to concerns staff members have raised with us, and we appreciate your willingness to bring those to us. Based on that input, [managing editor] Jen Peter and [senior assistant managing editor for production] Mary Creane have convened a small group to debate on an ongoing basis whether we need to issue any new style guidance. We generally follow the Associated Press stylebook, but not always.
None of this is easy, and we know it’s especially hard on those of you whose personal and family histories are enmeshed in this conflict. My door is open, and I will make myself available to anyone who has thoughts they want to share.