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BOSTON--More than 200 editorial employees of The Boston Globe crowded a meeting to discuss increasing discontent that stemmed from a raise given one reporter in the midst of a virtual wage freeze.
Much of yesterday's meeting focused on the leak of information about the situation to the rival Boston Herald, which made the controversy public, and the racial tension that resulted. The reporter who received the raise is Black.
Editor John S. Driscoll told the two-hour meeting that disciplinary action may be taken against Peter J. Howe '86, the reporter in the paper's Statehouse bureau who leaked the news, a Globe spokesperson said.
Howe has admitted anonymously faxing information to the rival Boston Herald on November 15 that a Black reporter, Renee Graham, had received a pay raise as incentive for her to not leave the Globe for a position at The New York Times. He implied that the decision had been based on race, not merit.
Most Globe employees have not received raises since their contract expired on December 31, 1990.
"I believe that hard work, a positive attitude and performance ought to be the basis of professional rewards at the Globe and elsewhere," Howe said in a letter of apology written November 27 after newspaper officials went on what he called "a witch hunt" to find the leaker.
"I truly believed -- and still do -- that it would be positive for the Globe to be forced to confront the issue of an alleged double standard."
Black reporters at the Globe condemned the leak, calling it "blatant racism," and complained that Howe's apology was unrepentant.
All sides were called together for the meeting attended by half of the Globe's editorial employees, according to newspaper spokesperson Richard Gulla.
Gulla declined to discuss details of the meeting.
"In terms of the content of what was said, that has to remain between colleagues in the newsroom," he said.
Gulla confirmed a punishment for Howe "is being contemplated" but "will remain an internal personnel matter."
He said he didn't know what kinds of disciplinary action were under consideration.
Driscoll told WCVB-TV of Boston that he would meet with Howe today. He said firing Howe was not being considered.
Howe himself declined to comment, saying further discussions of the incident should remain confined to the Globe's staff.
Some reporters at the Globe immediately criticized the threatened punishment as a hypocritical restraint on freedom of expression.."
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