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Media Influencers - Part 1

Monday, December 06, 2010

 

Once upon a time it made politicians nervous to get a call from M. Charles Bakst – the venerable political reporter and later columnist for the Providence Journal, but that seems such a long-time ago.

Now, media has transformed. The Providence Journal has lost over half its circulation and is now distributed to just 9% of the population.

Then, there was Jack White from Channel 12 – who won a Pulitzer Prize at the Providence Journal for his coverage of Nixon’s tax issues and an Emmy for coverage of Joe Mollicone. A true pro. Jack was a master of putting together complicated stories that got people talking with sources that were rock solid.

So today who then is making a breaking the big stories in Rhode Island Media?

Television:

Channel 12's Tim White: He's gone from a behind the scenes person at a Boston TV station to one of the market's leading investigative reporters. The son of the great Jack White, Tim has made his mark with undercover work and has a knack for poring over details and documents and presenting them in an easy to understand format.

Channel 10's Jim Taricani: Jim had built a career around primarily organized crime stories leverage leaks from the RI State Police and the US Attorney. But, he has never had the same edge since the station ownership changed and he got sentenced to home confinement tied to the Operation Plunder Dome leak.

The station should do more to highlight his work with the I-Team.

Print:

Providence Journal: Yielding the most influence over at the Pro-Jo are Mike Stanton and Bill Malinowski. Stanton, who heads up the Journal's investigative unit, along with Maliknowksi are hard-hitting investigative journalists. The best move the Journal could have made was in this era of cut-backs was to leave these two reporters where they are and let them work their craft.

Pawtucket Times: Jim Baron, who covers politics for the Times is a stand out with his political reporting. At news conferences or debates Jim often fires that one question a lot of journalists may be thinking, but are afraid to ask at the risk of "offending" someone. 

Digital: 

At the risk of being called non-objective, Stephen Beale at GoLocalProv certainly deserves recognition among the group for his media contributions in the investigative space. With consistently breaking stories, Stephen surely has raised eyebrows and tempers of some candidates running for office. From Johnston pension stories, to unveiling the City of Providence’s financial crisis – he beats the Projo repeatedly to key investigative pieces.

Radio: 

WRNI's tandem of Scott MacKay and Ian Donnis break some of the top political stories and are strong on commentary. MacKay, a former ProJo veteran gives the station credibility in the political arena. Donnis, is more than capable of breaking a good State House story every week. Unfortunately, the public radio station does not enjoy a huge presence here in the Rhode Island Market due to a hodge-podge of coverage from a combination of weak FM and AM signals. 
 

COMING TOMORROW - Part 2 Media Influencers, the opinion makers.

Jeff Derderian is a former television news reporter and anchor both in Providence and Boston. He is one of the founders of the Station Education Fund. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

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