Commentary

Editor’s Notebook: Welcome to the New Hampshire Bulletin

April 14, 2021 2:30 am

Mike Pride, the longtime editor of the Concord Monitor, took a chance in the fall of 1995. He hired a recent college graduate with no worthwhile journalism experience but loads of unwarranted confidence to be . . . the news clerk. 

What were the responsibilities of a mid-1990s Monitor news clerk? He typed up obituaries (he didn’t write the obituaries, mind you, he simply entered the copy into the bewildering newsroom computer system). He added community events into the daily calendar and answered phones. He stocked the supply closet. And, after a little bit of seasoning, he edited community news briefs.

But most of all, that news clerk who more than 25 years later would become the editor of the New Hampshire Bulletin, listened. 

I listened as a team of brilliant editors talked over all stories great and small with eager reporters. I listened as those reporters pressed and pressed, always professionally, until they broke through the defenses of the source on the other end of the line or realized with exasperation that they were grilling a dial tone. From listening to people who weren’t talking to me, I learned about nut grafs, buried leads, and the importance of making the extra phone call. 

Beyond learning the craft, I came to understand the importance of newspapers like the Monitor, the Keene Sentinel, the New Hampshire Union Leader, and others to the communities they cover. Not only is that still true, it is truer than it has ever been. Our mission here at the Bulletin is to supplement and expand on all of the great work that New Hampshire journalists are already doing. There are far more state government stories worthy of coverage than there are reporters and editors to produce them, and that is the void we hope to fill. For that reason, we encourage other outlets to republish our content, freely and as often as they choose.

In those early days at the Monitor, I discovered that a small newsroom in a small state was capable of exceptional journalism. I still believe that’s true, and through the New Hampshire Bulletin’s coverage of public education, health care, energy and the environment, criminal justice reform, civil rights, and so many other issues of interest to the people of New Hampshire, we hope to make you believe it, too. I know we have just the team to do it.

Annmarie Timmins, the Bulletin’s senior reporter, grew up professionally in that same Monitor newsroom and became a reporting legend in Concord and beyond. Most people who know her and her work eventually get around to using the word “fearless,” which for a journalist means that any story worth pursuing is worth pursuing to the end. I don’t believe Annmarie knows a different way to be a reporter.

Ethan DeWitt, formerly of the Monitor and the Keene Sentinel, knows New Hampshire issues and players as well as any political reporter in the state. There is nothing easy about keeping tabs on the 400-member House of Representatives, 24-member Senate, the governor’s office, and the Executive Council simultaneously while finding time to write a story or two every day, but that’s just what Ethan has done over these last few years. He will now bring that same energy and dedication to the Bulletin, and the people of New Hampshire and beyond will be better informed because of his efforts.

When I reached out to Amanda Gokee about joining the Bulletin, she was juggling a reporting internship at VTDigger and the pursuit of a master’s degree at Dartmouth. That’s impressive to be sure, but it’s not what made me believe she was a perfect addition to the Bulletin team. It’s the way she tells stories. Sometimes we as journalists get so caught up in what’s happening inside the government that we forget to give a voice to the people most affected by the decisions made and the votes taken. Human stories matter, and Amanda tells them beautifully.

The four of us, together, will work tirelessly to help you stay informed about what your government is up to and how it affects you and your neighbors. Our States Newsroom colleagues will do the same from Washington and affiliates across the nation. We will do so transparently (you can check out where States Newsroom gets its funding here) and with honesty and integrity. Visit us often and stay as long as you’d like.

Welcome to the New Hampshire Bulletin.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Dana Wormald
Dana Wormald

Dana Wormald, a lifelong resident of New Hampshire, has been a newspaper editor for more than 25 years. He began his career on the Concord Monitor’s news desk in 1995 and later spent more than a decade at the New Hampshire Union Leader. In 2014, he returned to the Monitor to serve as opinion editor, a position he held until being named editor of the Bulletin.

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