Report to Readers: Two pieces of old news
I had several calls from readers today wondering why it took us so long to get the story into the paper. As it turns out, they were talking about two different stories. Here’s what happened:
In the first case, our critic griped about the story in the Sunday Monitor concerning Stacie Laughton, who was elected to the Legislature this month from Nashua. Immediately following the election, Laughton, a Democrat, received attention for being the state’s first transgender state representative – Laughton was born a man but identifies as a woman. But the “new” news about Laughton was less revolutionary: She has a criminal past, which included serving four months in prison in 2008 on conspiracy to commit credit card fraud charges.
Surely voters would have liked to have known that information before Election Day, rather than after, my caller said. That knowledge might have changed some votes.
Hard to argue.
The Monitor has run two stories about Laughton in the past few weeks, both of them originally published by The Telegraph, the daily newspaper in Nashua. We have a story- and photo-sharing arrangement with the Telegraph and several other papers in the state, which allows us to broaden the scope of news we make available to readers here. The story about the crime in Laughton’s past is one that the Monitor staff would have been unlikely to pursue ourselves before the election even if we had heard about it at the time. She lives so far away that her name wouldn’t have appeared on any local ballots; our election focus was chiefly on local races. That said, had the Telegraph found out about Laughton’s past before Nov. 6, no doubt the story would have been written then – and made available for us to use too.
The second bit of old news: Concord Mayor Jim Bouley’s rental agreement with city developer Steve Duprey – an agreement in place since 2008. Reporter Laura McCrystal’s story from the weekend has generated considerable attention, including from readers who didn’t think it was newsworthy at all. But a few callers this morning made an opposite charge: Why didn’t the Monitor tell us about this four years ago?
An easy answer to that one, alas: We just learned about it last week.