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  • February 03, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Buried in the inside pages of today's ProJo: an item on the city of Providence accepting bids on plans for a new administrative office. Among the bidders - the Providence Journal, which is aiming to sell or lease its headquarters to the city.

    That the ProJo is looking to unload its Fountain Street headquarters - an attractive, curved bit of brick that mixes plenty of bland, carpeted office space with a regal, if eerily quiet executive suite on the top floor - is not news.

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  • January 25, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    In case you missed it: a powerful piece in the New York Times by a Rhode Island woman, now living in Brooklyn, meeting the Providence Journal reporter who wrote about her mother's murder many years ago.

    In the journalist’s articles, drawn in part from reams of disturbingly graphic grand jury testimony, he described how my mother’s face turned purple as the two men twisted a towel around her neck, and how one of them, for leverage, put his foot against her face while saying: “Come on, you rat.

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  • January 12, 2010
    By David Scharfenberg

    Some news over at the ProJo:

    • Reporter Maria Armental has taken over the Cranston beat, with Randy Edgar's move to the State House bureau. Armental moves from the breaking news desk to one of the paper's higher-profile metro beats. It is a post that has traditionally been a launching pad for reporters at the ProJo. And Cranston is an important market for the paper, which has dropped regular coverage in low readership cities like Pawtucket and Central Falls.

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  • December 16, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    And the ProJo continues to evolve before our eyes. On the front page today: a piece labeled "analysis" by State House reporter Steve Peoples that suggests Governor Carcieri left himself little option but to propose steep cuts to cities and towns by foreclosing other budget-cutting possibilities - layoffs and social-service cuts - with earlier fiscal moves.

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  • December 14, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    It's been a week since the Boston Globe ran a front-page story, in its Sunday edition, on the August ouster of RISD museum director Hope Alswang, and no follow-up by the ProJo.

    The breakthrough in the Globe piece: the paper obtained a copy of a letter Maeda sent to Alswang before her dismissal labeled "final warning" that focused on her "destructive behavior" and rocky relationship with the school's board of trustees.

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  • December 04, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The ProJo's parent company, A.H. Belo, has been skewered over the last 24 hours after sending a memo to employees at its flagship paper, the Dallas Morning News, announcing that some editors at the paper will start reporting directly to managers who oversee advertising - blurring the traditional line between business and editorial.

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  • December 02, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The Providence Journal, buffeted by declining circulation and advertising revenue, has re-hired three laid-off copy editors to do part-time, sporadic work.

    John Hill, president of the Providence Newspaper Guild, says he does not read the move as a sign of a marked improvement in the paper's financial health - but rather, an attempt to bolster a department particularly overworked in the wake of layoffs in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009.

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  • November 30, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    ProJo reporter Randall Edgar, who has been covering Cranston of late, will take Cynthia Needham's spot in the State House bureau, columnist Bob Kerr tells us.

    Needham left the post in recent weeks to become the paper's chief economics reporter, leaving a hole in the three-person bureau.

    The ProJo has maintained its three-member State House bureau amid heavy cuts elsewhere, maintaining a workmanlike focus on parliamentary goings-on.

  • November 25, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    ProJo executive editor Tom Heslin, in a question-and-answer session after a speech before good-government group Common Cause Rhode Island a few weeks ago, suggested that the paper would consider charging for content. Everyone in the industry, he noted, is weighing the move amid major declines in revenue.

    Now, a report from Bloomberg News that ProJo parent company A.

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  • November 24, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    A new Politico piece recalls that Bishop Tobin's clash with Patrick Kennedy is not his first public lashing of a pol for his position on abortion. In 2007, he penned a piece in the diocesan newspaper Rhode Island Catholic taking on Rudy Giuliani and - in an aside - Senator Jack Reed:

    "I have no idea why I received an invitation to Giuliani’s fundraiser.

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  • November 13, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Frank Williams, retired Supreme Court chief justice, went on the radio and television yesterday and spoke with the Associated Press in a bid to squelch talk of an inappropriate relationship with his former driver and her daughter. The notable exception in his media tour: the Providence Journal.

    The paper reported that Williams wanted veto power over the reporter who would sit down with him.

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  • November 05, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    I've written a cover story for today's Phoenix on a topic that has fascinated me for years: the lifestyle center. It is a faux Main Street - essentially the mall, gone outdoors - that raises all sorts of interesting questions about public and private space.

    With the real Main Street in decline, can we really form community in a place built around brand identity? Is there something odd about living in a condo above the Gap with a view of Cold Stone Creamery? Should we be concerned that the new public square doesn't allow for anti-war protest or, even, skateboarding? Or should we be embracing a walkable, green space in the heart of sprawling suburbia?

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  • October 30, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The chatter around the ProJo in recent weeks was that finances at the paper's Dallas-based parent company, A.H. Belo, might brighten a wee bit with the third-quarter earnings report. Those numbers were released today and, well, they could've been worse. From the Providence Business News:

    DALLAS – The Providence Journal’s parent company, A.

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  • October 30, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    Tom Heslin, executive editor of the Providence Journal, opened his speech before Common Cause Rhode Island last night with an amusing tale of his first reporting job at the York County Coast Star newspaper in Maine and spoke of a small abbreviation that appeared on the front of the broadsheet: THWTB. It stood, he said, for "The Hard Way's The Best."

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  • October 28, 2009
    By David Scharfenberg

    The ProJo's long promised new design is unveiled today. And it is, in this observer's estimation, a success. Clean and sharp. It will, no doubt, provoke some grumbling from long-time readers. But they will adjust.

    The larger significance of the redesign: the new look reflects the much more dramatic changes at the paper over the last year - heavy layoffs and a reordering of the paper to focus on short bursts of local news.

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