A newsman’s newsman

But as good a photographer as Jim was, he was an even better person. There is no doubt about it. He had a face that spreads into a slight smile and he had a personality to match. He may have been particularly keen on the pictures he took – and also the ones the newspaper took – but he was as laid-back a person as one could wish for.

We went back almost 50 years to a time when we were young, eager and willing to go anywhere and do anything to make a name for ourselves. Our bond together was United Press International, where we were “Stringer” in our respective areas. I’ve forgotten how or why it happened, but we both found out we’re from Lynn and that he got his degree in English from someone I used to work with.

This “someone” was a character of sorts, and my earliest memory of him was sharing a laugh or two at this guy.

Jim, who passed away last week, was always the perfect guy to have a laugh with. He always seemed to be in a good mood, even when he had many reasons to be annoyed or annoyed about something – such as when our outside print shop called and presented him with a tricky problem that he still had to solve.

Jim and I both ended up on The Item in the late 1970’s. Not only was the staff getting younger, but the core was filled with some pretty serious talent. Jim was one of the most talented and you just knew he was destined for bigger things. He soon landed at the Boston Globe, where he spent more than 30 years as an award-winning photographer.

Jim eventually became an assistant cameraman for The Globe, helping oversee the newspaper’s World Series and Super Bowl coverage, as well as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

He retired early from The Globe and helped his wife Jane run a candle shop in Rowley, where he lived. But in 2014, current editor Ted Grant took over The Item. Grant was also on the paper’s staff in the 1970s-80s and came up with the idea of ​​”putting the band back together”. He and I were already there, but he managed to lure both Jim and Bill Brotherton (I always thought of Jim as the cool sax player) back into the herd for their second acts.

As our Chief Operating Officer, Jim not only helped our young photographers learn the business, he also handled many of the day-to-day dealings with printers and other vendors.

Once again, our careers intersected and we became even better friends. As a news anchor, Jim was a healthy mix of old school and new school. He and his police radio were never far apart, and I, as news director, could always rely on him for news of local stories he’d picked up from the scanner at any time of the day or night. In fact, there were times when I wished he wasn’t quite as conscientious, such as at 11:00 p.m. on July 4 of that year when he briefed me on a five-shot shooting in East Lynn. I could be upset and tell him to stop, but I also knew we needed someone like him to make sure we were covered.

At the same time, Jim understood the newer aspects of the business and kept an eye on both the online product and the traditional one.

I also remember the time I proudly showed him a picture I had taken for a story I was working on. He looked at it, complimented my initiative, and then pointed to the tree growing out of the top of the subject’s head.

“You never want to do that,” he said gently. “Don’t let things grow out of people’s heads.”

For a man whose job definition here was definitely not shooting spot news photos, he was never averse to getting involved. And – as we’ve all found so many times – he always found a solution to all those tricky deadline situations.

A morning at The Item wouldn’t be complete without Jimmy stopping by my office for a chat. We closed the door to make it look like we were doing something important and just talked about all sorts of things. Those conversations kind of gave direction to my day.

Jim had a keen sense of what people needed and had the ability to pull through. If you needed a laugh, he would provide it. If you needed advice he could give it. If you needed a great home page image, he could get it.

Rest in peace Jim. If anyone deserves it, it’s you.


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