The Providence Journal posted news on its web site yesterday afternoon that executive editor Tom Heslin will retire April 25 after 41 years in journalism.
The paper noted all the essential elements of his impressive CV: he oversaw the investigative team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for its work on corruption in the state's judiciary; he guided the paper's remarkable coverage of the Station night club fire; he helped found the New England First Amendment Coalition and ACCESS/RI, which have pushed for greater transparency in government.
Last week, online news and commentary web site The Ocean State Current - a project of the conservative Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity - ran a series of posts detailing the overtime pay doled out to state-employed psychiatrists, nurses, and laundry workers.
The pieces included some eye-popping numbers.
We'll be hearing more about "Story in the Public Square," a partnership between Salve Regina University's Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy and the Providence Journal, in the run-up to the initiative's April 12 conference.
But just a word about it here. The effort, spearheaded by the ProJo's G.
Advertising and circulation revenue continues to decline for the Providence Journal's Dallas-based parent company, A.H. Belo, according to a fourth-quarter earnings report released this week.
Advertising revenue was down nearly 10 percent from a year ago. Of the company's three major papers - the Providence Journal, the Dallas Morning News and the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, California - the ProJo had the steepest decline, according to the regulatory filing.
The Providence Journal's 10-day series on The Station nightclub fire - in the run-up to the 10th anniversary - continues today with a fine piece by Tracy Breton on the Derderian brothers, who owned the club.
The story follows a strong and beautifully written overview of the fire by G. Wayne Miller, Tom Mooney, and Karen Lee Ziner that appeared on Sunday.
The Providence Journal has wrapped up its "Reinvent Rhode Island" series - tackling Rhode Island's confoundingly poor economy - and put it all in one spot on its web site.
So, what to make of the paper's big, one-year project?
In a time of diminished resources and, too often, limited vision, at the state's paper of record, the ProJo deserves credit for the ambitious effort.
I've got a new cover story, on the web now and in print tomorrow, on WPRI-TV's ambitious play for Rhode Island's screens: television, the web, and mobile.
In the course of reporting the piece, I spoke with Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute. He had a lot of interesting things to say about the evolution of local television news - many of which didn't make it into my story.
The discussion in the comments section under providencejournal.com stories is often filled with invective - directed at the politicians and accused criminals featured in the stories (sometimes one-in-the-same) and, often, at the Providence Journal itself.
Well, starting today, the newspaper is launching a new bid to clean up the conversation - and push it out into the social web.
If you want to get a sense for what the Providence Journal too often is - and what it could be - look no further than today's front page.
First, the good. Below the fold is a great little piece by Mike Stanton: a fun, colorful portrait of David Boies, the super lawyer brought in by Treasurer Gina Raimondo to defend the state's landmark pension reform bill.
John Mulligan, the Providence Journal's Washington reporter, bids adieu with a lovely column in today's paper. And his departure raises an important question: will the paper replace him?
Management at the paper is always tight-lipped, so it's hard to know. But newsroom sources say they'd be surprised if the broadsheet, struggling financially, kept the Washington bureau going.
I've got a wide-ranging cover story in the current issue of the Phoenix on the Providence Journal's failing business model and lackluster journalism. I've received more email on this piece than any in memory - a sign, I think, of both the widespread dissatisfaction with the paper and the broad hope that it will do better.
The recent wave of buyouts and layoffs at the Providence Journal makes it clear that the paper is in something like a crisis: its advertising revenue and circulation plummeting at alarming rates, and no evidence of a significant shake-up in the offing on Fountain Street.
I take on that crisis in a cover story in this week's Phoenix
The Providence Journal's latest round of buyouts and layoffs has prompted some soul searching among the paper's rank-and-file - and a push to reform one of Rhode Island's most important institutions.
A couple of months ago, when word of the impending job cuts first surfaced, a group of employees sent a letter to publisher Howard Sutton and acting executive editor Karen Bordeleau offering to help the paper find a way forward.
If you made it to the "D" section in Tuesday's Providence Journal, you saw a big, yellow-tinged photo of singer Sarah Lupo beneath the headline "Sassy, Bluesy Sarah." Inside, a piece that beautifully captured the mood of her recent show at The Met - a sort of reunion of Rhode Island's aging rockers.
[I]t was a good night.
Not for Nothing was on an airplane today. And the big news, while I was unplugged, was the Providence Journal laying off 23 workers, or about 5 percent of its workforce. This comes on top of the 11 employees who took buyouts in September. The good news for readers: no reporters or editors are losing their jobs in this latest round of cuts.