When we first learned of the horrific news of a Danvers High School teacher’s murder, and the charging of a high school student in her death, all of us recognized that this story hit home for all of us here on Cape Ann as well, and we drew upon our sister papers in the North of Boston Media Group to deliver the coverage you’ve seen in the Times.
This special column from our regional publisher, Karen Andreas, spotlights the work behind that coverage, answering, for this week, “How Did My Newspaper Do That?” — Ray Lamont, Editor, Gloucester Daily Times.
Tragedy struck this week in two of our hometown communities of Danvers and Andover.
And our editorial team stepped up to report this story better than any other media source in the country.
I could not be more proud, or more thankful.
The work done by our reporters, page designers, photographers and editors is at times physically exhausting and emotionally draining. They work around the clock to interview sources, get the right photo angle, write the appropriate headline. And we get the facts right. Our staff will not report rumor or unsubstantiated facts. You can count on that.
Unfortunately, some other media outlets give all journalists a bad rap — that we’re all calloused, hard-nosed media folks simply out to get the scoop, no matter whom it hurts. Not true.
Our journalists live here. These are our schools, our friends, our kids. That’s what makes us different than the TV crews that swoop in on “the big story” and leave the next day. We’re here to stay and to see these folks, our neighbors, in the grocery store or coffee shop. We care deeply about the community, and I believe it shows in our work.
The Rev. Peter Gori, pastor of St. Augustine’s in Andover, gave our Sonya Vartabedian, editor of The Townsman, an exclusive interview after spending time consoling the family of Colleen Ritzer, the lovely young Danvers High teacher whose life was cut short.
Sonya eloquently wrote that Father Gori fought back tears as he told her about trying to console a grief-stricken mother and father, who were married at St. Augustine’s more than a quarter-century ago and where Colleen and her two younger siblings were baptized and confirmed. The story offers a look inside the Ritzer home that was filled with extended family who reeled from shock and grief.
But as Eagle-Tribune Editor Al White pointed out, it’s what Father Gori told Sonya that really underlines the key role we play as the real community voice: He said he had calls from other media that he did not return, but “I returned your call because you’re the Townsman.”
We are The Andover Townsman. We are The Salem News. We are The Eagle-Tribune. We are the Gloucester Daily Times.
We are trusted in the community. We have incredibly talented journalists who care. And for that, I am most proud.
Karen Andreas is publisher of North of Boston Media Group, which publishes the Gloucester Daily Times, Eagle-Tribune, Salem News, Daily News of Newburyport, Andover Townsman, Haverhill Gazette, Derry News, and Carriage Towne News. Contact her at email@example.com.
Do you have a topic for a future “Why Did My Newspaper Do That?” column in the Times? Contact Times Editor Ray Lamont at 978-283-7000, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.