A feud between city police and the Boston Globe involves the use of an anonymous source to receive confidential documents. Only this time, it's the newspaper that's crying foul.
Police have obtained a copy of the Globe's confidential application for a Pulitzer Prize and are using it to attack the newspaper's bid for journalism's highest honor. The Globe is vying for a Pulitzer for a series on police corruption.Police say only that they got a copy of the application from "an anonymous source." Globe editors respond that the department has abused its power by snooping into the paper's private correspondence.
"I don't have any problem with them criticizing the series," editor Matthew Storin said Wednesday. "But they wouldn't be able to respond directly to our Pulitzer entry if they didn't have a copy, and that's a private document."
Mayor Thomas Menino called the police department's actions "inappropriate."
Winners of the Pulitzers, to be awarded April 14 in 14 categories, receive a modest cash prize and incalculable prestige. The deadline for entries was Feb. 1.
On Feb. 6, Police Sgt. Margot Hill sent an eight-page protest to the Pulitzer Prize board, citing details of the Globe's application. Hill, director of media relations, said the series was unfair because the Globe ignored or misrepresented the department's own anti-corruption efforts.
She also called the application incomplete because it did not include two critical "letters to the editor" written by Police Commissioner Paul Evans and Ann Marie Doherty, then head of the Internal Investigations Bureau.
Storin said the letters to the editor had been omitted because they did not question the series' accuracy or fairness but that they now will be appended to the application.
More important, he said, Hill's complaint shows she knew exactly what was in the confidential application.
The Globe series ran periodically throughout 1997. It outlined police misconduct, ranging from officers stealing drug money to police lying on the witness stand. Two officers have been indicted in federal court.