Thursday, June 17, 2010


Here's the kind of thing that drives newspaper people nuts and reminds us it doesn't always pay to be nice guys.

Kingston native Billy Costello, a former world championship boxer, has cancer. You may have read about it today in a newspaper other than ours.

A few weeks ago, one of Costello's pals asked me if he could borrow some of our photos from the boxer's ring days. He wanted to them as part of a tribute planned in Costello's honor in light of the discovery of the illness. The buddy also suggested we do a story informing Costello's friends and fans of the ex-champ's condition.

Of course. I passed along the news to the sports editor, who provided the pal with the photos and then assigned a reporter to the story.

But Costello didn't want to talk to our reporter about the cancer. He was interested only in promoting a local boxing show he was organizing.

We discussed it among ourselves and decided that if Costello wanted his illness kept private, we'd respect his privacy. The subsequent story, for which Costello was interviewed, made no mention of his condition.

We did the right thing, in my view, even though we knew that in a small town, news like this tends to find its way on to the streets. Sure enough, there on the front page of the regional daily this morning was a picture of Costello, and in the sports section was a column in which the ex-champ talks about his cancer.

No doubt many in Kingston who read that story are wondering why it hasn't been in the Freeman. Now you know.
comments powered by Disqus

<< Home