GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 30, 2013

Why Did My Newspaper Do That? Outside resources bring more local news

Why Did My Newspaper Do That?
Ray Lamont

---- — There’s a wider range of stories and local reporters’ bylines than usual in today’s Times.

Aside from stories written by our own, regular local news team, including Richard Gaines, Marjorie Nesin, Gail McCarthy and James Niedzinski, you’ll also find stories written by staff writers Julie Manganis and Ethan Forman.

Now that might seem like a lot of staff writers for a paper our size — especially when you consider that list doesn’t include folks like Community Editor/writer Joann Mackenzie, photo chief Allegra Boverman, correspondent Nancy Gaines, and writers like Paul Leighton, Dave Rogers or others whose bylines are familiar on the pages of the Times as well.

Yet I’ll let you in on a little secret, if you haven’t already noticed. Not all of these “staff writers” work regularly here at the Times offices at 36 Whittemore St. Julie Manganis, Ethan Forman and Paul Leighton are all regular staff writers at The Salem News, while Dave Rogers is at the Daily News of Newburyport, yet their work can appear just as easily in the Times as in the papers where they’re based.

Are they all staff writers? You bet. All are part of our writing and editing staff of our sister newspapers within our North of Boston Media Group, which also includes the Eagle-Tribune of North Andover. And all are very good shared resources that we can draw upon to bring you more very localized news of our people and institutions here in Gloucester and across Cape Ann.

Perhaps our most regular outside “staff writer” is Julie Manganis, who works as court reporter with The Salem News. In that role, she also covers a number of cases and issues involving people from our area — as is the case with her story today.

Similarly, Ethan’s story spotlights the naming of a new superintendent for the newly merged North Shore Regional Technical School District, which includes students from Gloucester and our three Cape Ann towns. And while Richard Gaines wrote this week’s story on Addison Gilbert Hospital and Lahey Health’s bid to seek grants for money to support it through a new state fund for “distressed” hospitals, Paul Leighton has regularly produced stories regarding Lahey, Northeast Health and Beverly Hospital, which we have often picked up, given their important connection to AGH.

Now, some of you may wonder why, when we have a case involving Gloucester people in Salem Superior Court — or perhaps when there’s a press conference involving the new Lahey Health corporation or the former Northeast Health System — we don’t send our own Gloucester-based Times team to cover it. After all, wouldn’t they know more about Gloucester people and the local ramifications of a case or a decision?

Why, in other words, would your community’s newspaper do that?

Because we know that Julie, for example, knows the workings of our court systems, and the prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges involved — and Ethan, for instance, has more closely followed the development of the new regional vo-tech school and school district far beyond how it impacts our students, parents and communities here on Cape Ann. Plus, by using their stories, we also free up our locally based staff writers to produce other important stories on any given day —allowing us to present more local news coverage than we would ever have been able to deliver on our own.

Now, you might ask, shouldn’t stories drawn from our outside staff writers include local input?

They do. While the lion’s share of today’s story on the vo-tech school district is drawn from Ethan’s, we then received and added the comments of Melissa Teixeira, the Gloucester School Committee’s representative on the regional vo-tech board, to include her endorsement of the choice of superintendent.

We’re proud of all the work carried out by our news team right here at the Times, but we’re also proud of the cooperative efforts and resources we also draw upon to help deliver you as much local news as we can each and every day. And it’s North of Boston Media staffers like these who help us do it.

As always, let me know what you think.

Questions? Comments? Is there a topic you’d like to see addressed in a future column? Contact Times Editor Ray Lamont at 978-283-7000, x3432, or at rlamont@gloucestertimes.com.