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

Ledger Statehouse bureau lives

Media Nation has learned that The Patriot Ledger of Quincy is not closing its Statehouse bureau after all. Consider this a correction of this item. Although Statehouse reporter Tom Benner has indeed been laid off, I’m told that general-assignment reporter John Kelly will take Benner’s place until a permanent replacement is named.

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  1. dlhalper

    I understand that owners want to save money, but letting their best and most experienced reporters go is never a good idea. I’m happy the State House bureau is being kept open– the Ledger is my local paper and has done some outstanding reporting from there over the years. Tom Benner was a true professional, and he will be missed.I hope the owners will understand the value of what the Ledger offers south shore readers, and not get rid of other talented reporters in the name of cost-cutting. Sadly, I see more and more wire copy being used, and not just at the Ledger– even at the Globe. If I wanted to read the wire services, I could go on-line and find them. But I count on my local paper for good reporting and a local spin on the issues. If newspapers are to survive, media owners need to understand that some beats can’t be jobbed out to the wires. Newspapers need their own identity. And having their own bureaus and their own reporters matters!!!

  2. Peter Porcupine

    Curious – what happened to Dan Ring? He was an excellent SH reporter with great institutional knowledge.

  3. Anonymous

    Nothing like being thrown under the bus by a former colleague., Sul. Benner owes you one.

  4. Anonymous

    Is John Kelly going to be full-time at the State House or just taking the Red Line in to cover the Governor’s press conferences and the increasingly rare “full formal sessions” of the legislature?Whatever the case, if Kelly is now off the important (to Ledgerland) Quincy beat, that’s an even bigger loss to readers than losing Benner at the State House.Kelly began covering Quincy last year after veteran Christopher Walker resigned to play a major role in the Mayoral campaign of Tom Koch, who unseated William Phelan in November. Walker is now Director of Policy in the new administration. Jessica Van Sack, the heir apparent to the Quincy beat, had already departed to the Herald. Kelly stepped in, seemingly out of nowhere and has done a great job getting up to speed on everything from the intense Mayoral race, constant internal squabbling within the QPD, the hiring of the unlicensed, habitual traffic offender son of the former police chief to drive heavy city trucks, delays and cost overruns at the planned new QHS etc. Kelly has quickly gained the trust of city officials and cops-in-the-know, which has led to more frequent and more detailed Quincy inside scoops on the front page of the paper. While I wouldn’t begrudge Kelly a promotion (if indeed this is one), to uproot him from all-important Quincy right now seems to add to, rather than solve, the Ledger’s problems.

  5. Anonymous

    Don’t kid yourself, Dan. Benner’s layoff was one of 35 across GateHouse in Mass., not to mention another 20-30 open positions that won’t be filled. The Ledger and Metrowest Daily News will be patching together Statehouse coverage with shoestrings and scotch tape.

  6. Commute-a-holic

    While I am absolutely not condoning the derogatory emails sent to Mr. Grabauskas, I do understand the frustration of relying on the MBTA and not getting to your destination on time.I don’t live in a fairy tale world. I know that it takes real capital to run a massive mass transportation system. But the T has really deteriorated to a pretty poor place.Instead of spending money installing a commuter rail system for a part of the state that didn’t need it or really want it (the fancy Greenbush line), instead of investing in automatic machines that don’t really work and from which the ROI will take years to get back (Charlie Card), and instead of putting WiFi on the commuter rail (the Worcester-Framingham line), the T should have been improving their service as much as possible. Yes – I know they have a lot of union employees and yes I know that elected officials love to use the T as a patronage placement, but really, Grabauskas could have and should have done better.It will be interesting to see how long he remains in place as head of the MBTA. He appointed himself as the GM when he was the Transportation Secretary. Shame on the state for the lack of oversight.I hope this doesn’t turn into a long drawn out affair just like when Romney went after Matt Amorello. That detracts the media from paying attention to the issues plaguing mass transit in Massachusetts and it sucks resources away from trying to rectify the issues.

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