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June 8, 2013

Why Did My Newspaper Do That? Updates when 'nothing happens'

BYLINE IS -- Why Did My Newspaper Do That' SIG, with RAY PIX

Two front-page stories this week essentially said that nothing, or next-to-nothing, new had happened.

The first, which ran on Thursday, indeed noted that a date has been set for next Wednesday for the Salem Superior Court arraignment of John “Jack” Dugan, the 27-year-old Gloucester man accused of gutting his pet pit bull Xena after the dog had wolfed down some bagged and unbagged heroin at Dugan’s apartment.

But, as we had already reported, there remains no word on what new evidence or investigative focus has led to the addition of drug-related charges that Gloucester police had not filed when the truly stunning incident first occurred last December, or to additional charges of animal cruelty, given that Dugan is now facing three counts.

And Carrie Kimball Monahan, representing the office of Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, has said only that prosecutors will explain the additional charges at the arraignment, just as she had said when Dugan was first indicted in Superior Court, a step that opens the door to prison, rather than mere jail time.

The second such story was Friday’s piece that basically said there were no new developments whatsoever in the case of the deadly May 18 Pond View housing complex incident in which a Salem man died after being struck or run over by a car in the midst of what neighbors and other sources have described as an apparent domestic dispute.

The incident, which cost 29-year-old Michael J. Linscott his life, has notably not been classified as an “accident,” by the DA’s office. Yet there have been no arrests of charges, either, with Monahan indicating only that the investigation is “ongoing,” and authorities are awaiting an autopsy report on the victim.

Each of these stories might be considered updates — and they are. It’s just that there was little or no new information with which to proide any updates. And given that, you may wonder what’s the point.

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