Readers blast Globe and Mail for letting columnist peddle her cottage in ‘Home of the Week’ feature

Globe and Mail columnist Leah McLaren recently used her paper’s “Home of the Week” feature to try to unload her cottage.

Readers scolded McLaren and the Globe and Mail for publishing a “brazenly shameless advertisement for the sale of her home under the thinly veiled guise of journalism.”

A few more of the dozens of comments posted below the feature:

She’s selling her own house via her employer! What’s going on at this newspaper? Are there zero standards?

Leah McLaren

Her mother, Cecily Ross, did exactly the same thing a couple of years ago while she was working for the Globe.

Holy Fuddle Duddle Batman!!! The Globe and Mail is in freefall. First Wente and now this. [Editor John] Stackhouse asleep at the switch. Reporter Leah MacLaren features her own home (for sale) in the Homes section… Conflict of interest anyone.

Must be nice to work for a newspaper. A blatant real estate ad, free of charge. She even gets paid for it.

I wonder how much of this article was plagiarized from her real estate agent.

The columnist didn’t respond to my email — busy negotiating offers for the place? — and I haven’t heard back from editor John Stackhouse, but Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye tells me “there was a lot of eye rolling” in the newsroom over the feature. Also, “to be perfectly honest, we had more pressing in-house things to talk about than a freelancer selling her house once the Margaret Wente thing started happening a day later.”

Ladurantaye adds:

Also, I think it’s a good example of the disconnect that can exist between the printed paper and the website. In the paper, it’s tucked in the back of a real estate section surrounded by real estate ads. On the web, it’s a standalone piece that looks like any other news story.

* “Home of the Week”: A $599,000 cottage built for family life | Read the comments

UPDATE: An editor says in a staff memo that letting McLaren write about her home “was an unintentional oversight on our part, but to clarify, it is not Globe editorial policy to allow people to write about things that could result in their own commercial gain.”

UPDATE II: Her place sold on Monday — three days after the feature ran — for $1,000 over the asking price.

UPDATE III: The Globe and Mail’s public editor has weighed in on the matter.