By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Two smart choices

As you’ve probably already heard, Globe editor Marty Baron announced this morning that Kevin Cullen and Yvonne Abraham will take over the metro columns recently vacated by Brian McGrory, the new metro editor, and Pulitzer Prize winner Eileen McNamara, who’s decamped to Brandeis.

This strikes me as smart on two levels, both macro and micro.

Macro is the mere fact that Baron decided to fill the slots — something he’d already said he was committed to doing, but which he might have been tempted to back away from on the theory that scarce resources could better be devoted to local reporting rather than pontificating. Fortunately, Baron realized those columns are popular with readers, and that jettisoning them might save a few pennies now but cost more than a few dollars down the line.

Micro is that Cullen and Abraham are reporters first and foremost, and can be reliably expected to use their new positions to contribute to local coverage. That’s what McGrory and McNamara did when they were on, but I suspect Cullen and Abraham will push even farther in that direction. Along with the incumbent metro columnist, Adrian Walker, who also brings a reporter’s mindset to the job, we can expect the left-hand side of the City & Region front to consistently tell us stuff we didn’t already know.

It’s easy to picture Cullen as a columnist. In fact, some years ago, he wrote a column-like feature for a while. Abraham — a former Phoenix colleague — is harder to peg. But she writes with a strong, distinctive voice, and has handled news and feature stories with equal aplomb. Give her a little time and she’ll be terrific.

Seth Gitell also approves the picks, though I’ve got to disagree with his assessment that Cullen is the “logical successor” to Mike Barnicle. Cullen’s specialty is original non-fiction.

Update: Adam Reilly of the Phoenix has some interesting things to say about the move, and offers a first-rate bit of Abraham prose from her Phoenix days. The Weekly Dig snarks predictably, but does make one good point: Peter Gelzinis of the Herald would have been an inspired choice — although, in my view, no more inspired than Cullen or Abraham.

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Drawing the line on Herald comments


Hidden in plain sight


  1. Michael Corcoran

    These are great picks, I think. I had been telling my friends that Abraham would be my first choice. Not sure why I didn’t think of Cullen, who is witty as hell and a quintessential Bostonian. Michael C

  2. Anonymous

    Will they stay in-house for the Borges replacement? There are several names out there but the days of making additional hires, may be over.

  3. Tony

    I agree, Abraham is TOP NOTCH, a great pick. I might actually start reading the Globe more often online … I can’t really say much about Cullen.

  4. Paul Levy

    One more vote in favor. Great choices.

  5. Anonymous

    Here, here for Cullen. Perhaps there now will be a reason to read Globe once again!

  6. the sak

    They should read the stenographic machine output transcripts of City Councilors’ remarks and debate. For too long the public has been denied access to the public record, the stenographic transcriptions of Boston City Council public meetings.

  7. Brian

    “The Weekly Dig snarks predictably” is getting to be a statement along the lines of “water is wet”.

  8. Anonymous

    the weekly dig reads like it’s been written by a bunch of petulant, half-employed english majors who have either been laid off or were never hired in the first place by the herald and the phoenix. but hey — they have anomie and cheap anonymous sarcasm. they’re all set.

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