BOSTON – A new racial justice initiative at The Boston Globe will allow subjects of past news articles to apply to have the coverage updated or anonymized, the newspaper announced Friday.
The Fresh Start initiative is meant to address the lasting impact that online news stories about "embarrassments, mistakes or minor crimes" can have on a person's life. Editor Brian McGrory said such coverage has had a disproportionate impact on people of color.
"It was never our intent to have a short and relatively inconsequential Globe story affect the futures of the ordinary people who might be the subjects," McGrory said in a statement.
Applications are being accepted through an online form that asks for an explanation of the request and any relevant legal documents. After a review, the paper may anonymize names from a story or remove coverage from internet search results.
A higher bar will be set for stories about public figures or serious crimes, the newspaper said.
Other newsrooms have created similar programs in recent years, including one started at The Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2019. Unlike that initiative, The Globe's will not require applicants to get a court expungement to be considered.
The Fresh Start program was developed over the summer with input from formerly incarcerated people, professors of journalism ethics and advocates for survivors of domestic violence, the paper said.