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Loretta McLaughlin (1928-2018) was a prominent American journalist, author, and newspaper editor.
During her tenure at the Boston Record American, she and Jean (née Cole) Harris covered the Boston Strangler murders in 1962, and McLaughlin was the first journalist to link the murders and report on the serial killer.
Later, she became the second woman appointed Editorial Page Editor for the Boston Globe in 1992.
Early Life And Education
Anna (née Ring) McDermott, a stay-at-home mother, and John McDermott, a worker at a Quincy, Massachusetts, shipyard, were the parents of Loretta McDermott when she was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, in 1928.
Her three siblings were John, Sylvester (“DeeDee”), and Margaret. When McLaughlin was a child, her family moved to South Boston, where she attended and graduated from South Boston High School.
McLaughlin pursued a degree in Journalism at Boston University, where she was awarded an academic scholarship, and graduated with a B.A. in 1949.
Loretta McLaughlin was a dedicated journalist and accomplished writer who significantly contributed to science writing and medical reporting.
During the 1950s, she worked as a journalist for the Boston Record American and was involved in the investigation and coverage of the 1962 Boston Strangler assaults and murders, along with Jean (née Cole) Harris.
Subsequently, McLaughlin was employed by Harvard University as a science writer and held the position of director of relations at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, where she oversaw a capital drive to construct the institution’s main building.
However, she returned to journalism in the 1970s and started working as a medical reporter for the Herald American. She began working for the Boston Globe in 1976 as a medical news expert, where she spent a significant amount of her time reporting on the AIDS issue and exhibited a great commitment to public health.
In 1982, McLaughlin Launched Her Book
In 1982, McLaughlin launched her book, The Pill and the Church: The Bio of a Revolution, which traced the development of the birth control pill.
The book received praise for its synthesis of science and humanism, but it was also criticized for failing to fully acknowledge the ethical concerns surrounding the research studies that led to the pill’s development.
Her research and publication records are held at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine at Harvard University.
McLaughlin Was Appointed As The Editorial Page Editor
In 1992, McLaughlin was appointed as the Editorial Page Editor for the Boston Globe, making her only the second lady to hold this position.
After reaching the Globe’s mandatory retirement age of 65, McLaughlin became a fellow at the Radcliffe College Institute for Public Policy and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard AIDS Institute. Her legacy as a journalist, author, and public health advocate continues to be celebrated today.
Depiction In Film & Television
Loretta McLaughlin appeared as herself in the 2000 documentary Lawbreakers: Who Was the Real Boston Strangler? and in the 2010 episode “Albert DeSalvo: The Boston Strangler” of the series Born to Kill?
Recently, in March 2023, Hulu released a film called Boston Strangler, featuring Keira Knightley playing the role of McLaughlin and Carrie Coon playing the role of Jean (née Cole) Harris.
The movie depicts the story of their work in connecting the series of murders and breaking the news of the Boston Strangler.
Loretta McLaughlin Net Worth
Unfortunately, there is no information on sources regarding Loretta McLaughlin’s net worth. However, she was critical of elected officials, such as U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, during her tenure for politicizing the AIDS crisis.
She also wrote the Globe’s endorsements of William Weld for Governor of Massachusetts, Bill Clinton for President of the USA, and Thomas Menino for Mayor of Boston.