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Huge changes at the Globe

Starting with the exits of business columnist Steve Bailey, executive editor Helen Donovan, and Mike Larkin, deputy managing editor for news operations.

The biggest promotion: Caleb Solmon, the paper's front-page editor, takes over as managing editor for news, a position that's been unfilled since the departure of Tom Mulvoy. (Not Greg Moore, as I initially wrote; Moore was managing editor, period.)

Here's editor Marty Baron's memo.

To all:
 
Brace yourself for an announcement that’s long but important.
 
Our newsroom will be losing the towering figures of Helen Donovan, Michael Larkin, and Steve Bailey. At the same time, I am pleased to tell you that we are drawing on talented colleagues -- Caleb Solomon, Ellen Clegg, and Mark Morrow -- for new assignments.
 
Some time ago, Helen and Michael told me they were contemplating the next phase of their lives. I am indebted to them for agreeing to stay a while longer. Steve is also finally yielding to his wife’s wish that the family move to Europe, where he’ll join Bloomberg as senior enterprise editor in London. They will all be departing the newsroom by April 1, leaving their colleagues with a profound sense of loss.
 
It is hard for me to imagine this place without Helen as Executive Editor, Mike as Deputy Managing Editor/News Operations, and Steve as Boston’s must-read business columnist and one of the Globe’s best reporters. I am grateful, as we all are, for their friendship and for their unwavering dedication to the Globe’s journalistic mission. Over the next several weeks, we will have an opportunity to say proper thanks. Details to come.
 
This is also an occasion to recognize the accomplished colleagues who will be taking on new assignments.
 
Caleb, who has served as Deputy Managing Editor/Page One since last May, will assume Helen’s responsibilities with the title of Managing Editor/News, while retaining his Page One duties.
 
Ellen Clegg, who has been Deputy Managing Editor/Sunday, will move into the job of Deputy Managing Editor/News Operations, overseeing the paper at night and production-related matters. She will also be the final word on the paper’s standards for taste, tone, and language.
 
Mark Morrow, Deputy Managing Editor/Projects, will add to his responsibilities by taking charge of the Sunday paper as Deputy Managing Editor/Sunday and Projects, retaining his oversight of the Spotlight Team.
 
With these changes, we will be reducing the overall number of senior editors, just as we are reducing the total number of newsroom employees.
 
Reflecting on our colleagues, you can’t help but be proud of this newsroom, which is so generously endowed with bright, savvy, and deeply committed professionals. At this moment of both tumult and opportunity in journalism, we are fortunate to have a deep bench.
 
I am delighted that Caleb Solomon will be positioned to help lead an inevitable transformation of our newsroom. He already has made a mighty contribution. As Deputy Managing Editor/Page One since last May, Caleb stimulated more front-page enterprise from all corners of our newsroom and was central to our rethinking front-page story selection and presentation. His role in shaping Page One came after a highly successful three-plus years as Assistant Managing Editor/Business, producing consistently strong sections and a constant supply of top-notch Page One stories. In his time at the Globe, Caleb has been out front in the integration of Boston.com and the Globe newsroom, most recently leading an imminent redesign and relaunch of our real estate site. Caleb came to the Globe after a long and impressive run at the Wall Street Journal, first as a reporter, then as editor of the Wall Street Journal’s Texas and New England sections, and ultimately as Assistant Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe, based in Brussels. Caleb graduated from Columbia College in 1980 with a B.A. in English, and he received a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism a year later.
 
This is a time of reinvention for newspapers. Very shortly, Caleb will lead a thorough examination of how the Globe should change in today’s radically altered media environment. All of you will be invited into that conversation.
 
Caleb steps into a role now occupied by someone who, I can say with absolute conviction, is one of the sharpest, most selfless, most hard-working, and most knowledgeable people in our profession. She is also among the most self-effacing. When I asked Helen Donovan to jot down a few words about her 32 years at the Globe, she kept it to, well, a few words: “letters to the editor editor, op ed page editor, assistant managing editor for the sunday globe (back when sunday had its own government), national editor, deputy managing editor (page one), political editor for the 1988 presidential election, back to deputy managing editor, managing editor, executive editor.”
 
That’s what Helen sent me after promising to reflect a bit on her career while she was away last week to help judge Pulitzer entries. “I don’t find that it has fluffed out any for the additional marinating while I was in New York,” Helen e-mailed me. “So this is it.”
 
No, that isn’t it. Everybody around here knows that we’re talking about a truly remarkable person, someone who day after day has offered wise counsel to me and just about everyone in our newsroom, who seems to have total command of virtually every subject that can pop up on a daily or weekend news budget, who understands how the paper works probably better than anyone in the building, who can effortlessly marshal the full forces of our newsroom on big stories, who envisions the big picture but also is a master of detail, who is an inspired editor who never wavers in her insistence on the highest standards. We all know that not having Helen as Executive Editor, a position she has occupied since 1993, leaves an enormous void. No one knows better than I do.
 
Ellen Clegg told me that when she started her career at the Globe in 1978 on the night copy desk, the slotman wore a green eyeshade and copy editors wrote headlines with thick black pencils and counted the characters by hand.  Since then, she has acquired just the sort of wide-ranging experience you’d want in someone who will run a high-pressure show right on deadline: night editor, specialist editor, and city editor; first editor of City Weekly; and Assistant Managing Editor for the regional editions, planning and directing the Globe’s ambitious suburban expansion. Ellen became Deputy Managing Editor/Sunday in 2005. Sunday is when we really like to strut our stuff, a goal that can only succeed with extraordinary teamwork. With Ellen, we were lucky to have one of our greatest team builders in charge. That quality will serve us especially well at night, too.
 
In her new role, Ellen follows someone who has been a pillar of sanity, sound judgment, and high standards. Mike Larkin counts as his “great fortune” to have worked in almost every editorial department. (He never made it to Photo or Design.) “I was here for the end of the Vietnam War, the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools, the Gulf War, the death of Princess Diana, the Shuttle tragedy, the 9/11 attacks, the invasion of Iraq, the Catholic Church scandal, construction of the Big Dig, two World Series championships, and three Super Bowl victories (and one loss),” he says. When Mike became Deputy Managing Editor for news operations in 2000, the late hours were only slightly better than the midnight-to-8 schedule he had when he arrived at the Evening Globe in 1974 to work the copy desk. When he worked as assistant sports editor, he started a weekly tabloid of expanded sports coverage called Sports Plus. When he was assistant business editor, he launched an expanded weekly section called Business Extra.  He also held the posts of magazine editor and Living/Arts editor. “The Globe is the paper I grew up reading at home,” Mike told me. “It will be the paper in my den when I die -- however it is produced.”
 
I’m particularly pleased that we’ll have Mark Morrow in charge of the Sunday paper. He ranks as one of our smartest, most thoughtful, most skilled editors, and many of our most memorable projects were the product of his inspiration and careful, devoted nurturing. After serving as national editor and then overseeing our feature sections, Mark succeeded Ben Bradlee as Deputy Managing Editor/Projects in the summer of 2002, and focused immediately on helping supervise the stretch run of our history-changing coverage of the clergy abuse crisis. He has filled the years since with a host of projects, in every flavor -- investigative, narrative, explanatory -- and involving almost every department of the paper, including, of course, the Spotlight Team. Among them have been projects that have helped set and change the agenda in this town, projects that have stirred the mind and the heart, projects that have twice been honored as Pulitzer finalists and which have taken home many other national honors. He will continue to look for those kinds of stories, and to bring them home.
 
Finally, back to Steve Bailey. There’s something odd, I’ll admit, with saving Steve for last in this memo. Because one thing you know about Steve is that he’s always first. He does not get beat. That’s one big reason he has been required reading in the Globe for years.
 
When Steve won the Loeb Award and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for column-writing, it was deserved recognition for local business columnists and for the best of the breed. You don’t find columns like Steve’s in most business sections. His are masterfully reported, they break news, and they make for electric reading.
 
Steve has always worked harder than the competition, not always for the standard reasons. In noting that he started in this field as a copy boy, Bailey says, “The other copy boys wanted the weekends off to date girls; I was afraid of girls so I was glad to take over their shifts.” He started at the Globe in December, 1977, artfully talking his way into this newsroom, as he has talked and pushed his way since into one great scoop after the next. From copy editor to assistant business editor, he then became business editor for five years. Steve doesn’t shy from mentioning that he was lifted out of that job. Still, he remained the dogged fighter as reporter and columnist. While today you can hear Steve on radio and watch him on TV, his voice is at its most forceful on the business pages or, very often, the front page. He makes news, holds people accountable, and is a voice for common sense and the common citizen. Best of all, his column delivers a punch in the nose when it’s most deserved.
 
I was reflecting the other day on Steve’s career here. 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.
 
Marty

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