Sunday, February 11, 2007

Thanks, Charlie Sennott

A little while back, I took on those who were lamenting the loss of the final overseas bureaus of The Boston Globe. I argued ("Don't Cry for me, Bogota," Jan. 25) that it is a sad loss but said I wouldn't really cry over it - mostly because I thought the Globe was better served serving its local interests. I also argued that those foreign-based reporters could still do a heck of a job covering national and international issues doing what reporters have done for years, parachute in to a locale, find the story, know the story and write the hell out of the story.

Thankfully, Charlie Sennott proved me right today on Page One.

Under a stinging headline, "Told to wait, a Marine dies," Sennott pours out the story of Jon Schulze, a Marine and father from Minnesota who came back from Iraq - like many other Marines and soldiers - with troubles. He was angry, he had nightmares, he couldn't readjust. So he drank too much and abused those around him. When his thoughts turned to suicide, Jon asked for help from our government. They told him to sit tight for a spot in the VA, he was 26th on the waiting list for 12 beds.

Jon killed himself.

It's a stinging rebuke to our federal government, the VA and how we're all treating vets.

But it's also a great Sunday read and proof the Globe, reassigning some of its former foreign assets, can still do a good job covering the world.

Sennott was the London bureau chief of the Globe, a job that typically had him far from London - covering all of Europe and drifting well into the Middle East. He was in Afghanistan several times and put his life on the line to bring back compelling coverage from a world away.

I, for one, am glad he's going to keep doing that. Today's paper is proof that good reporters can bring good, important stories if they're given room to roam, some solid backing from the top and the space to write it - whether or not the paper has storefront offices dotting the globe.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Except that a year later the Globe is losing Charles Sennott to the internet, where he will put together a daily report on what's happening in the world. I had a happy decade as Globe reporter in the 60s, when Tom Winship was making it a world class newspaper. Now it seems to be returning to its parochial roots after its brief golden age. It's a damn shame, but the Globe doesn't deserve Sennott any more. I wish him the very best.