SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 25, 2013

Andreas: This is our community; these are our neighbors

Karen Andreas
The Salem News

---- — Tragedy struck this week in two of our hometown communities of Danvers and Andover. And our editorial team stepped up to report this story better than any other media source in the country. I could not be more proud, or more thankful.

The work done by our reporters, page designers, photographers and editors is at times physically exhausting and emotionally draining. They work around the clock to interview sources, get the right photo angle, write the appropriate headline. And we get the facts right. Our staff will not report rumor or unsubstantiated facts. You can count on that.

Unfortunately, some other media outlets give all journalists a bad rap — that we’re all calloused, hard-nosed media folks simply out to get the scoop, no matter whom it hurts. Not true.

Our journalists live here. These are our schools, our friends, our kids. That’s what makes us different than the TV crews that swoop in on “the big story” and leave the next day. We’re here to stay and to see these folks, our neighbors, in the grocery store or coffee shop. We care deeply about the community, and I believe it shows in our work.

The Rev. Peter Gori, pastor of St. Augustine’s in Andover, gave our Sonya Vartabedian an exclusive interview after spending time consoling the family of Colleen Ritzer, the lovely young Danvers High teacher whose life was cut short.

Sonya eloquently wrote that Father Gori fought back tears as he told her about trying to console a grief-stricken mother and father, who were married at St. Augustine’s more than a quarter-century ago and where Colleen and her two younger siblings were baptized and confirmed. The story offers a look inside the Ritzer home that was filled with extended family who reeled from shock and grief.

But as Eagle-Tribune Editor Al White pointed out, it’s what Father Gori told Sonya that really underlines the key role we play as the real community voice:

The pastor said other media called, but he didn’t call back. “I returned your call because you’re the Townsman.”

We are The Townsman. We are The Salem News. We are The Eagle-Tribune.

We are trusted in the community. We have incredibly talented journalists who care. And for that I am most proud.

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Karen Andreas is publisher of North of Boston Media Group, which publishes The Salem News, the Eagle-Tribune, Daily News of Newburyport, Gloucester Daily Times, Andover Townsman, Haverhill Gazette, Derry News, and Carriage Towne News. Contact her at kandreas@northofboston.com.