We’ve decided to turn down advertisements from a law firm seeking to find victims of clergy abuse for the purpose of filing lawsuits before a New York State court deadline. To be clear, we fully acknowledge the reality of the abuse and the pain it caused countless victims. And if possible, legal recourse should be an option. If allegations are false, well, that’s what courts are for. And if victims want to have a say in court, and haven’t yet done so, it’s their right. The advertisements in question want to let victims know they have rights and options. We take no issue with that. But it’s understandable that the ads themselves were upsetting to some.
There was another set of ads we’ve run recently regarding elder abuse. These ads showed old people with marks on the face, depicting violence. These ads were placed by NYC Department for the Aging. Again, elder abuse is a real matter and if people need to be made aware that help is out there, then we see the value in advertising the issue.
The clergy and the elder abuse ads were not subtle. Advertisers sometimes seek shock value to provoke a response but sometimes it cuts both ways: they reach their audience but upset others in the process. It’s a balance between calling attention and going too far. The clergy ads were not only graphic but, in effect, cast a cloud over local parishes.
The Rockaway Times is advertiser-supported, and we are in a deadline business and sometimes there’s just not that much time to consider the possible impacts such ads might have. The Rockaway Times is a community newspaper, first and foremost, and we promote the positive, the good people here. We’ve had a great relationship with local parishes, and we value that relationship. These ads are at odds with what we do.
Thanks for your understanding.
- Kevin Boyle
The Rockaway Times
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