, Gloucester, MA


September 21, 2013

Why Did My Newspaper Do That? Hitting the beat for local news

In days gone by, just about every neighborhood often seemed to have a regular police officer patrolling its “beat.”

That officer could and would respond to emergencies in other areas as well, just as police and fire safety crews regularly do today. But many police officers back in the day had a specific area for which he or she was responsible. The officer would also interact regularly with neighborhood residents — and, when they needed help, they knew whom to call.

You won’t find many officers walking a specific beat these days. Long-running staffing cutbacks, and advances in technology have forced departments in new directions, and that’s the case in most communities — and many fields other than law enforcement, too.

Many newspapers and other media outlets, including the Times, however, still very much have a “beat” coverage system in place. And that’s still what it’s called.

Who are the folks on our daily reporting “beats”?

Marjorie Nesin is our Gloucester beat reporter, responsible for covering news across the city, from the coming mayoral race to police news and word about what’s happening in our neighborhoods and schools. She can be reached at

James Niedzinski is our town news reporter, serving as point person for Rockport, Essex and Manchester, and covering things from school news to major development stories, like the current controversies swirling around Long Beach and Conomo Point. He’s at

Sean Horgan covers our commercial fisheries and Gloucester waterfront beat, continuing the coverage of the late Richard Gaines while also focusing on a growing number of issues surrounding the Gloucester’s harbor and port. He can be reached at

Gail McCarthy ( is our regular arts, entertainment and news feature writer, while Joann Mackenzie ( — who teams with Christina Parisi ( in the role as our community news editors — also serves as a features writer on businesses and community topics.

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