Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When sourcing comes grudgingly, if at all

The Boston Globe's Sally Jacobs obviously had a tough time getting people on the record for her profile about Cathy Greig, longtime companion of accused mobster Whitey Bulger. I thought her treatment of that fact was interesting; it begins in the story's 19th graf, so, fairly early, and it's used as a way to help paint the portrait of Greig:


Yet there is one tradition that remains largely unaffected by the tide of change, and that is the code of silence that has long prevailed in Southie. At least it remains the rule for some when the subject has anything to do with the infamous Whitey. Bulger is securely locked in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, his criminal empire is long gone, and many of his former associates talk and write freely about him without apparent consequence. But many in the neighborhood, and even some who no longer live there, still don’t want to say a word about him. Or about Greig.
High school classmates of Greig’s abruptly hang up the phone when asked about her. Class officers, who still live in the area, brusquely turn away. Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan, who was a member of the class of 1969, declined to be interviewed. Those that are willing to talk about her insist that their names not be used.
“Are you kidding? Nobody wants to talk about her,’’ said one Southie resident who attended school with Greig.