A true Boston original is heading into semi-retirement. Peter Kadzis, the politics editor at GBH News, announced Monday that he’s stepping down from full-time work at the end of the year, although he’ll continue as a contributor. The good news is that his distinctive Dorchester accent will still be heard on GBH Radio (89.7 FM) and television (Channel 2).
This is personal. Peter was the editor of The Boston Phoenix from the time I arrived as a copy editor in 1991 until I left as the media columnist in 2005. I continued to write for the Phoenix from time to time until it folded in 2013; Peter landed at GBH not long after, and I began writing a weekly column on media and politics for the GBH website in 2015. In other words, Peter was my editor for more than 30 years, right up until I decided to end my column earlier this year.
Peter was an important mentor. My career had stalled out when I was hired by the Phoenix, but he saw something in me, promoting me to managing editor and then news editor. But I wanted to return to the reporting and writing ranks, so, when Mark Jurkowitz (now at the Pew Research Center) left the Phoenix in 1994, Peter gave me a chance. His deep knowledge of Boston and of the media, both locally and nationally, was of enormous help to me as I groped my way toward my own voice and my own approach.
I should note, too, that GBH News became an outlet for a number of former Phoenix people. There were Fridays when three of the five panelists on “Beat the Press with Emily Rooney” were Phoenix alums — Jon Keller, Adam Reilly and me. Susan Ryan-Vollmar and David Bernstein write commentaries for the website from time to time. Sue O’Connell appears on radio and television. And, always, there was Peter, back in the newsroom. He continues to be a friend and colleague, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best.
What follows is the official announcement from Lee Hill, executive editor of GBH News:
I’m writing to share bittersweet news. A few weeks ago, our venerable Politics Editor Peter Kadzis informed me of his plans to retire from full-time work with GBH News. We decided together that we’d get through the beast that was the midterm election before announcing to the staff. The time has now come to share the news more broadly. Here’s Peter, in his own words:
After 50 years in the trenches, it’s time for me to scale back. That I’ve been able to cap my career at GBH News is, for me, still a source of wonder. And I hope that as we all move forward, we can find a way to continue our association. While I’m winding down, I’m not hanging it up.
As a kid reporter many years ago, I was one of the hordes of reporters who watched Boston school desegregation and the riots and street violence that ensued. Perhaps because of this experience, I’ve always had a sense of the potential for violence and dirty dealing that lies just below the surface of politics.
In my years at GBH, I’ve tried to put my feel for the dark side at the service of our audience. It helped me to see straight through the mayoralty of Tom Menino; the coming and going of Marty Walsh; and the rise of four remarkable political talents who have at least one thing in common — they are all women, and they are all women of color: Ayanna Pressley, Rachael Rollins, Michelle Wu, and Andrea Campbell.
I transition to part-time status after the disorienting years of Trump and COVID-19 and will watch with interest as Maura Healey tries to tame — or at least co-exist — with the undisciplined gang of ego maniacs known as the Massachusetts legislature.
In my blood, I feel confident that the newsroom’s commitment to the public good will only mature and intensify. I’m proud to have been part of the journey, which continues in the able hands of Katie Lannan, Saraya Wintersmith, Adam Reilly and the rest of you.
Peter is an important and towering presence in our newsroom whose contributions are innumerable because of the brilliance and wisdom he brings to his work. Under his leadership, the GBH News’ politics team has grown to become a respected (sometimes feared) powerhouse that has repeatedly shaped the local and regional conversation around politics and power in the Bay State. And our election coverage this year was consumed by the widest audience ever on GBH.org. That is in part because of his guidance and influence.
Thankfully, Peter isn’t going far anytime soon. He will continue in his current role through the end of January (as we search for a successor), before transitioning into a scaled back political contributor role with GBH News. Our audience will continue to benefit from his keen insights, analysis and wit.
Please join me in congratulating Peter on a stellar career, and to wish him all the best in this next chapter.