An old arrest can follow you forever online. Some newspapers want to fix that.

Source: 8/31/21

The Boston Globe has joined a handful of newsrooms around the country doing something once unthinkable: changing old articles because they are ruining a person’s life.  The newspaper on Friday launched its Fresh Start initiative, which allows people to petition to have information about them removed from or added to old stories, to have their names anonymized, or to have the stories delisted from Google searches.

The Globe will prioritize stories involving minor crimes and those from long ago, but will also consider ones about “embarrassing” noncriminal behavior. The initiative comes out of a reexamination at the Globe and many other newsrooms about how they cover race, prompted by last year’s nationwide protests over the policy killing of George Floyd.  Journalists have increasingly questioned their reliance on police as primary sources after Floyd’s death. A recording of his killing by a bystander contradicted the initial police account. In the past few months, the Kansas City Star and the Los Angeles Times have apologized for how they covered local communities of color over the years, and both newspapers have published pieces explaining how their reporting contributed to racial inequities. In Philadelphia, 40 community organizations petitioned the Philadelphia Inquirer to change its crime reporting process and allow people named in older crime stories to appeal to have them removed from the paper’s website.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution considers requests to remove or update online content from people whose records have been closed to the public under a 2013 state law as part of an effort to make expungement easier.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer launched its Right to Be Forgotten process two years ago as a way for people to have old stories and mug shots removed or amended. The Plain Dealer is now trying to remove problematic content even before someone petitions them to do so. Google awarded the paper a $200,000 grant in December to develop digital tools to help them identify those stories and photos.

Read the full article (requires payment)


Related posts

Notify of

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...


  1. Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  2. Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  3. Swear words should be starred out such as f*k and s*t
  4. Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  5. Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  6. Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  7. We will not publish any comments advocating for violent or any illegal action.
  8. We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address.
  9. Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  10. Please do not post in all Caps.
  11. If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links. Posts that include a URL may take considerably longer to be approved.
  12. We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  13. We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  14. Please choose a short user name that does not contain links to other web sites or identify real people
  15. Please do not solicit funds
  16. If you use any abbreviation such as Failure To Register (FTR), or any others, the first time you use it please expand it for new people to better understand.
  17. All commenters are required to provide a real email address where we can contact them.  It will not be displayed on the site.
  18. Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues via email to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This would be nice. There is still an article or two way back before 2005 about my case that can still be found online. The facts are so messed up and incorrect it is unthinkable. I tried for years and the news company won’t even consider it and it still comes up in Google searches.

It seems a news company can print anything they want about you, publish it and it can be totally incorrect and you can’t do anything about it.

But wait, there’s a catch. If you’re convicted of a sex offense, you can’t petition to have the story removed.

Although less notable than “a right to be forgotten”, perhaps there should exist “a right to be corrected” by which newspaper and online content are required to amend previous, old stories that are factually inaccurate to include updated, more accurate facts.

Very soon will be eliminated completely from the American landscape. Wont happen you say? Time will tell. In my younger days, i was a successful paper boy for the local Daily news. Today that outfit has seen its circulation plummet and they’ve turned to an online version, to augment their subscription service. The online version isn’t free but folks are not interested in paying for online content coming from former paper based outfits. According to Mr. Wolfe, the editor of BDN, online subscriptions are not as popular as he had hoped. Nevertheless, his business cannot go back to paper, its just to expensive to produce. BDN used to employ more than 50 people, not including delivery boys. Today, the staff is about 9. In otherwords, local news paper business is dying or hanging on by the thinnest of margins.

If you end up on one of these Fake News Media sources, who cares? The “news” has less relevance as it did in past times. People are smarter nowadays — and are aware that the mainstream media tends to blow things out of proportion, sex offense or not.

“Journalists” are much worse than used car salesmen. Journalists were not smart enough for law school, and not good looking enough for Hollywood. So who else would accept them?

The mainstream media also tends to ignore convenient truths that don’t fit their agendas.

IF you ended up on any of these Fake News Media outlets, just keep your head up, try to do only good everyday, work to become a better person, and prove these a-hole news sources that they were wrong about you.

In most instances, ”news” is just another word for propaganda.

Propaganda is worse than trash. 💩

The human brain is a terrible thing to waste. Wow David and Tim it seems you all are masters at trying to understand Chinese or should one say, I am what I am. So is there a problem with trying to get things erased or out of print? Is there a problem about embraassment? or is there a problem with one’s seeing eye dog? or is their a problem with “Baby’s got her blue Jeans on..

 I would think we’ve all heard that song. I just wonder if its out of print today or is the mind a terrible thing to waste. Everyone has embarrassing moments except some of those “Rocket Men” on here or those people on the registry . So what isn’t embarrassing today or can a person leave skid marks with different remarks? Think about that one, One wonders what is Constitutional today? Even justice or what is cheap justice today.

ACSOL should do daily news coverage on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter after a couple of years it would be very profitable and beneficial for the ACSOL team.

Last edited 1 year ago by AERO1