Leah McLaren, the real estate columnist at Canada's The Globe and Mail newspaper, has been slammed for using the "Home of the Week" feature to, well, try and get her own home sold. This is how the piece, which ran last week, begins: "My charming red brick Victorian row house was originally built in late 1800s on a street that first housed the workers at the Massey Ferguson agricultural machinery parts factory (now a luxury condo conversion to the south on King Street West)." McLaren then details the property's "pretty perennial garden, ten-foot-high ceilings and sun-filled living/dining room," the renovations and updates she put into the place, and the reasons why she's trying to unload the "magical city house": "it's time for me to move on," she writes. "Like the neighbourhood, my life has undergone massive change in the past few years, all of it for the best."
Photo via Globe and Mail
Readers were none to pleased and now, with 56 comments and going, the post has been appended with an apology by the paper's public editor:
"I agree with our readers and told the editors last week that in my view they should not have published it. It is clear to me that Globe staff members or freelancers should not be involved in articles in which they could stand to gain financially or in which there is an appearance that they may. Globe editors agreed this did not show proper judgment and should not have happened. They said The Globe and Mai shouldn't run articles about the sale of an employee or freelancer's house whether that article is written by that person or anyone else." Kind of a moot point now, though; with a weekly readership of 1M, The Globe and Mail is one of Canada's biggest news outlets. According to media blogger Jim Romenesko, McLaren's house sold three days after the feature ran—and for $1,000 more than the $599,000CAD ($610,400USD) ask. Fait accompli!
· Home of the Week: a worker's cottage built for family life [Globe and Mail via Jim Romenesko]
· Public editor: Journalism, commercial interests should be kept separate [Globe and Mail]