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Reading the Barnicle tea leaf--updated!

Mike Barnicle has a column in today's Boston Herald, on the recent death of Massachusetts resident Alex Fuller in Iraq. That alone is noteworthy, since Barnicle's last Herald opus ran on April 28, 2006.

What makes Barnicle's return really interesting, though, is what it suggests about the fate of the Boston Globe. When Barnicle's popped up in the Herald lately, it's been in articles mentioning his collaboration with the Globe's would-be local owners, including Jack Welch and Jack Connors [subs. required, unfortunately]. Now, however, the sense over at Morrissey Blvd. seems to be that the Welch/Connors scenario is going nowhere. Color me imaginative, but Barnicle's sudden resurfacing as a contributor to the Globe's competitor looks like confirmation.

UPDATE: Then again, maybe not. Herald editor Kevin Convey tells me Barnicle writes at his (Barnicle's) pleasure, and that today's column doesn't signal a return to regular-contributor status. "It's entirely up to him," Convey says of Barnicle. "When he weighs in, we're happy to have him. We got a bunch of phone calls on the column today, and that's what we're after.... But he doesn't seem interested in writing on a regular basis."

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