McNamara leaving Globe

Globe metro columnist Eileen McNamara--who won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1997--has received one of the paper's much-sought-after buyouts and will leave Morrissey Boulevard April 1, Media Log has learned. Next up: a full-time gig teaching journalism at Brandeis University, where she's currently an adjunct instructor.

“I’ve had the best job in Boston for the last 12 years--I know that,” McNamara said this afternoon. “It is a fantastic job, but it comes with its own stresses that I think eventually catch up with you…. I spent a lot of time in heartwrenching situations, and I guess it’s time to let somebody else take a shot.” (One example: her March 18 column on two domestic-violence murders that occurred 27 years apart.)

To understand why this is a major loss for the paper, look at McNamara’s March 14 column on the New Bedford immigration raid, in which grilling by McNamara actually prompted Nancy Fernandez Mills, the communications director for Gov. Deval Patrick, to utter these words: "I'd like to retract that statement until I talk to someone who actually knows something about this timeline." Or read McNamara’s critical assessment of the late South Boston city councilor Jimmy Kelly, which was a welcome corrective at a time when Kelly’s fans were having the loudest say.

“I didn’t come to this easily,” McNamara added. “I’ve had a great career at the Globe. I was in the Washington Bureau; I covered the famine in Ethiopia. And it is not easy to walk away from the newspaper business. If I didn’t love teaching as much as I do, I wouldn't do it and I couldn’t do it.”

Joan Vennochi, McNamara's longtime colleague, had this to say about her exit:

"As her friend, I am happy that she is leaving the Globe to do something she loves. I am sad for the Globe and its readers. Her voice is unique and she is fearless. She stands up to the powerbrokers. She speaks up passionately for the underdogs. She never accepts conventional wisdom.  She does what journalists are supposed to do:  afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. This newspaper will not be the same without her."

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