Boston Globe Reverses Policy against Using ‘Armenian Genocide’

Reporters–correspondents–and staff writers of the Globe now able to properly describe the first genocide of the 20th Century as the `Armenian Genocide’

BOSTON–After almost a quarter of a century of using evasive terminology and qualifiers to describe one of the most horrific events of the 20th Century–The Boston Globe has decided to suspend its policy against the use of the term ‘genocide’ when referring to the Armenian Genocide–reported the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Eastern Massachusetts.

In a letter dated July 8–Michael Larkin of the Globe informed the ANC that the well-known paper has ended the "policy regarding the Armenian Genocide." Larkin is Deputy Managing Editor of the Globe and the person in charge of the paper’s policies.

"Thank you and your associates for your thoughtful efforts to enlighten me and the Globe about this and for your sincere request that we reconsider the policy," Larkin wrote. "You have helped make us a better newspaper."

The Boston Globe’s policy regarding the Armenian Genocide–officially in place for 15 years but actually in effect for almost a quarter century–has since the beginning been contested by the ANC with the grassroots support of the Armenian-American community. That process was initiated by the late Leo Sarkisian–then ANC director–through letters–meetings with the paper’s editors–and protest demonstrations.

During the last three years–the ANC accelerated those efforts–holding numerous meetings and exchanging correspondence with Globe reporters and editors at various levels and departmen’s.

Thanks to changes in Globe management–the ANC’s patient efforts–aided by recent research on the Armenian Genocide and–importantly–grassroots support from the Armenian-American community–resulted in the Globe’s retraction of its policy.

During the ongoing talks–ANC representatives and scholars provided Globe reporters and editors with vast amounts of information and historical documentation on the Armenian Genocide. In addition–during a meeting in April with the editors–the ANC was accompanied by Dr. Israel Charny–executive director of the Institute on Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem–who provided valuable additional testimony.

After these meetings–the Boston Globe’s Ombudsman–Christine Chinlund–wrote a piece on the Globe’s policy. She explained–"For 15 years the Globe has–to the dismay of its large Armenian-American readership–shunned the use of ‘genocide’ unless it is used in quotes. The paper prefers ‘massacre,’ and routinely includes Turkey’s version of the events."

Describing the Globe’s recent review of its Armenian Genocide policy–the Ombudsman went on–"There is potential for a changed landscape. The Globe is reviewing its 15-year practice of avoiding the word ‘genocide’ next to Armenian. It is possible–although not a given–that sometime soon it will be used more freely." Chinlund concluded–"The review was wise and timely."

The Ombudsman’s article was followed by internal Boston Globe hearings and debates to reconsider this old policy–and the conclusion reached was to suspend the policy.

"Today we feel a sense of accomplishment," stated Ivan Ardhaldjian–chairman of the ANC of Eastern Massachusetts. "After years of hard work by the Armenian community and countless meetings–the newspaper has decided to formally change its policy on the Armenian Genocide–reaffirming what we have all known–the Armenian Genocide is an incontestable fact."

"Years ago–the late ANC activist Leo Sarkisian began a campaign to ensure that the Boston Globe would properly characterize the Armenian Genocide. I am sure that Leo would be proud to see that we and the Armenian-American community carried the torch that he lit–ensuring that the Boston Globe eventually made the right choice," Ardhaldjian said.

"We thank Michael Larkin and the entire Boston Globe staff on behalf of the Armenian-American community in Massachusetts. Furthermore–we encourage individuals to send a note of appreciation to the Boston Globe for its decision," concluded Ardhaldjian.

The ANC is the largest Armenian-American grassroots political organization in Massachusetts and throughout the nation. The ANC actively advances a broad range of issues of concern to the Armenian-American community.

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