Wednesday, November 19, 2008

T&G Reporter still posting on controversial message board

Yesterday, I noted that Telegram and Gazette reporter Karen Nugent had been assigned to write a story about charges filed with the Worcester County DA and the Attorney General that members of the discussion forum had threatened opponents of the rifle range, yet she did not disclose in the article that she is a poster on the web site.

In my post from yesterday, I questioned whether or not it was a conflict of interest for Nugent to report on the controversy since she was a member of the message board and had been an active poster. Let me add another question to yesterday's list: Should a reporter who has reported on a message board of which she is a member joke about the article with members of the board...including one who is a subject of the story...after it has been published?

In the article, which reported that members if the web forum were alleged to "have engaged in stalking, gay bashing, slander, sexual harassment and other civil rights violations," Nugent refers to complaints against William Connolly, Jr. and quotes his response. She also notes that Connolly is also a poster at the site. Yesterday, after the article had been published, Connolly posted the following as part of a comment in a thread discussing the complaint:
I think Karen has lost her edge. She left out all the really good stuff. Where was the "White Supremacist Gun Hate" stuff. She left out the "rugmuncher=vaginal oral sex" story line too. No kidding they really did send that stuff to the AG's office. Why wasn't it in the story too?
Reporter Nugent replied:
Really, Bill...You expect the editors to let "rug muncher" get in the paper? (I had to explain to one of them what it means!)
Should the reporter be discussing "rug munchers" with one of the subjects of an article about a discussion forum where gay bashing is alleged to have occurred, on the forum in question?

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