Tuesday, May 31, 2005

BOSTON GLOBE'S JURKOWITZ RETURNS TO THE PHOENIX. A little more than a decade ago, I replaced Mark Jurkowitz as the Phoenix's media critic after Mark left to become executive editor of Boston magazine. Today, the Phoenix announces that when I leave the paper a few weeks from now for Northeastern University, my replacement will be none other than - are you ready? - Mark Jurkowitz. It's a little like the baseball-trivia question about the guy who was traded for a player to be named later, and that player turns out to be himself.

Mark was scooped up by the Boston Globe not long after he left the Phoenix. Following a stint as the Globe's ombudsman, he became the daily's first full-time media reporter. He wrote some great stuff over the years, including a classic takedown of Jane Christo, then-general manager of WBUR Radio (90.9 FM), in the late '90s. He also covered the 1998 departure of the Globe's fiction-writing columnists, Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle, from the inside even as I was reporting the story from the outside. I had by far the easier task.

I was fortunate enough to work with Mark for three and a half years before taking over his beat. I learned a hell of a lot from him, not just about the ins and outs of the Boston media scene, but about larger issues as well, ranging from the perils of corporate media consolidation to ethical considerations. I had huge shoes to fill after he left, and I think it's no exaggeration to say that it took me a couple of years before I started to feel like I was out from under his shadow.

I talked with Mark this morning, and he sounded thrilled to be coming back. I'm thrilled, too. Alternative weeklies such as the Phoenix are simply the best venues for doing serious media criticism. Big dailies only rarely can accommodate the space and the delicate mix of reporting and opinion-mongering that go into good media writing.

Along with the late Dave O'Brian, Mark established the Phoenix as an important voice of media criticism both locally and nationally. It will be great to welcome him home.

7 comments:

Bake McBride said...

Wow!!! Awesome news for serious media-fiends in the Boston area. We'll miss you, Dan, but imagine the insider's perspective on the Globe that's coming over to the Phoenix. I wonder if Jurkowitz is jumping ship in light of the NYTimes Co. recent announcements. C'mon, Dan: one final scoop before you put on the tweed: what's behind the move?

Dan Kennedy said...

Bake --

Twelve minutes from my post to your comment. I'm impressed. Notify the folks at Guinness!

Anonymous said...

Great news. Mark is a class act and more importantly smart as hell. Look forward to it.

BTW, I thought YOU were Deep Throat Dan. Sheesh.

Paul Sweeney said...

What great news! I always felt Mark was much better when he was at the Phoenix and sorely missed him when he left (No offense, Dan!). As you said he is cramped severely at the Globe, especially since he really open up when the story is about the Globe; nor can he write original critical stories about the Globe and by extension the NY Times.

efg said...

Dan - i don't know if the Phoenix can really be seen, anymore, as an "Alternative" paper.

I've been reading the Phoenix (and read the old Real Paper) since I was an undergraduate at BU, when Steve Mindich used to drop the papers off himself. I will be 60 in a month. I don't find a heck of a lot of "alternate" at least in the front (news) section of the paper these days.

But welcome back, Mark, in any case. You deserve to write for a more intersting paper than the boring Globe.

Anonymous said...

efg,
I still think that the Phoenix is an alternative voice. You could argue that it may have more establishment-left tendencies than it may have in the past, but you can't seriously suggest that mainstream press would publish what people like Al Giordano, Barry Crimmins, or Dan Kennedy have written in its pages.

To get back on topic: I also welcome back Mark Jurkowitz. Will Mark be blogging?

-Mike P

Anonymous said...

Deep throat and MarkJ on the same day? There has to be a story behind the story on the timing of each?