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

Bailey, Donovan and Larkin to leave Globe

The big news out of the Boston Globe today is that star columnist Steve Bailey is leaving the paper. Bailey — along with executive editor Helen Donovan and deputy managing editor Michael Larkin — are taking early-retirement incentives as the Globe goes through another round of downsizing.

The Phoenix’s Adam Reilly has a long memo from editor Marty Baron, who comes across as wistful and nostalgic. Uncharacteristic, but perhaps unsurprising. He’ll have been in charge seven years this summer. And though he’s had his share of triumphs, his regime has been marked by repeated orders from the New York Times Co. to cut. (Not that that makes the Globe different from any other paper.)

Insiders may feel the loss of Donovan and Larkin just as keenly as they do Bailey’s departure. But to readers of the paper, Bailey’s “Downtown” column has long been a highlight. Not the most graceful writer in the world, Bailey nevertheless is a relentless reporter who consistently breaks news. His voice comes pretty close to being irreplaceable.

“I was reflecting the other day on Steve’s career here,” Baron writes. “And it got me to thinking about how a single journalist can make such an enormous difference at a newspaper and in a community. Certainly, that is true of Steve, and it is true of all whose departures or new assignments are being announced today.”

Moving up are Caleb Solomon, who’ll be managing editor for news; Helen Ellen Clegg (I knew that; jeez), deputy managing editor for news operations; and Mark Morrow, deputy managing editor for Sunday and projects, all of whom will be doing more with less. As Baron puts it, “With these changes, we will be reducing the overall number of senior editors, just as we are reducing the total number of newsroom employees.”

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  1. Anonymous

    Bailey’s departure cannot be underestimated. Lawyers, real estate developers, politicians, financiers, hedge fund managers, all went to him with scoops. It will take years, if not more, for anyone to garner the kind of trust he garners in town. Scott Van Voorhis may wish he had those same connections, but he doesn’t. I don’t think the Globe should bother trying to replace Bailey at this time. I think the kinds of scoops he got will be replicated either in a new forum – possibly online. Or, we could continue to see more of the local weeklies in Boston breaking news, much as the South End News and Boston Courant have been doing with regard to some of the major development projects in their coverage areas.

  2. Anonymous

    The truly sad news is Jeff Jacoby appears to be staying.

  3. Outraged Liberal

    Last one out of Morrissey Boulevard, please turn off the lights. And please don’t let in be Jeff Jacoby.Bailey will be missed — but he was smart enough not to be caught as the sands ran out of the Times.

  4. mike_b1

    Does Ellen Clegg own more than that one black suit? Seriously. We have money on this.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: Maybe she’s like Steve Jobs, who’s reputed to have a whole closet full of identical black mock turtlenecks and blue jeans.

  6. Anonymous

    Well Clegg and Morrow are good, so it’s not like the Globe is getting ripped apart by this. Donovan and Larkin are amazing editors, but the good thing is that they also had great people under them.

  7. acf

    With these departures, it sounds like one more step down the path to Metrodom. All those employees with the institutional memory of what makes a great paper, are going, going … Pretty soon, all that will be left, are lightweights, with little to no local ties, who think that their job is to amuse and entertain with trivia and tidbits of news. Along with the fundamental changing of the newspaper industry, I also blame the sale of the Boston Globe to the New York Times, with the severing of local control of the paper. I can’t think of any example in the corporate world where this consolidation has had a positive effect on the product or its customers, in this case readers.

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