Saturday, October 30, 2010

Everybody Loves Ouell in the Winter

For my long time readers, you will no doubt be familiar with the back and forth I had with our local newspaper, The Daily Item of Lynn. During the Mayoral Election I grew to despise the paper with a passion. Most of you felt the same way. Some of you based on the election coverage and others of you based on the fact that they print "Lynn Man" next to everything even if the only connection to Lynn was that he rented a room here once 20 years ago.

All that aside. The paper has changed dramatically over the past 3 months. No seriously, (...yes, this is Corey... no one has hacked my account), it has changed in a very positive way and this needs to be recognized.

Today, I met Phil Ouellette for lunch at Fernando's. He's a good guy. Lives in Groveland with his family and grew up in Danvers. Has many family connections in Lynn and interned at the paper many moons ago when starting his career as a newspaper operations guy now turned General Manager. I'd say he's in his early forties. Was I close Phil?

Phil was only recently given real influence over the news department and one of the best moves in the history of the Lynn Item occurred a few months ago in the hiring of 35 year-old Brad Spiegel (the age thing is a bit of a joke. I guessed a little low when I did my piece on meeting Brad. I now know the truth, but I won't give it away). But seriously, Phil and Brad are shaking it up over there. In 2 short months the paper has gone from the devil's even spawn's blog, to a fairly balanced news source with a lot of coverage of community events and the good stuff going on in Lynn. They've even recently started linking to our blogs from when we are mentioned in the paper.  So, we're getting closer to open government and an open paper. Brad has been out for Meet the Editor nights, Phil is taking lunches with angry bloggers (I was nice), and the paper is improving. I think these things are related.

Phil was a great guy. I think he's going to start a foodie blog. His first post is going to be about Juan's amazing lunch at Fernando's. Right Phil?

So, in closing, I should tell you all what I told him. "I'm sorry!"  The passage that got me in trouble was in a post about Exchange Street. It was during or just after the Mayoral coverage I hated so much. I suggested that readers go into the Item building and smack someone in the face. Childish. Yes. It was stupid humor, but I can see why that might get lost. For that, I do apologize and i have removed the offensive sentence (my first deletion ever. I'm mixed on how I feel about that part). Phil has agreed to move on and there is a lot we all can do together. More to come...

So come on down to Central Square and head over to the Item building. Ask for "Ouelly" and give him a big hug. He's changing things for the better. We have a chance now at turning around the perception of Lynn as a horrible place. He's committed to that and believes it's extremely important. I believe Brad feels similarly. While they will continue to tell what they believe is honest and truthful, their mission is starting to align more with ours.

Looking forward to working closely together in this creation.


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