Our condolences go out to our colleagues at the North Adams Transcript on the passing of Editor-in-Chief Glenn Drohan.
Glenn died Thursday morning after several years battling cancer. He spent more than a quarter-century in local newsrooms, leaving a legacy of hard-hitting journalism on the printed page and hammered into young reporters' brains.
The Transcript's Senior Reporter Jennifer Huberdeau wrote an
about Glenn from the perspective of his many friends and sometime adversaries. I knew Glenn for more than a decade but not that he'd acted in a children's theater troupe or sang and played the guitar. Beneath that crusty reporter exterior he was really an artist.
He wasn't always the easiest person to work with, but he was dedicated to his craft. An award-winning writer, Glenn had an encyclopedic knowledge of every significant political and news event in North County for the past three decades. His extensive body of work are a researcher's heaven — from the history of the Greylock Glen projects to the closing of Yankee Atomic to the behind-the-scenes maneuvering for charter schools.
There were articles that I, as a reporter and copy editor at New England Newspapers, would find myself referring back to again and again. They were concise, well written and loaded with facts.
I always envisioned Glenn as one of those old leather-shoe reporters, hanging out in a police station, hoisting one at the end of workingman's bar, pecking away at a typewriter with a cigarette dangling from his lips, meeting an informant in a dark parking garage. He was a man with ink in his blood; he didn't fit easily into the newfangled world of Internet news.
His longtime friend Mayor John Barrett III really summed up Glenn best in Huberdeau's story: "Glenn was a newsman's newsman."
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Like so many people from in and around the area, I too have had the good fortune to have not only worked with Glen Drohan, but to also call him a friend.
Having spent the better part of my working career in the newspaper industry, some of it at The Transcript with Glen, I remember him firstly as a fine reporter. Besides that, he had the ability to understand the advertising end of the business and how important it, as well as the other departments were to the newspaper. It wasn’t until I worked in other papers around New England, however, that I realized how far reaching his reputation as a great newsman was. He was highly regarded as both reporter and editor in each of the many papers I worked at.
I’ve spent more than my share of tipping a few cold ones with him over the many years I knew him and never tired of debating him in subjects from politics to music (none of which I can recall me ever winning) and still remember fondly his stories of fishing, camping and his beloved daughter.
When Glen was battling for his life I was in the process of writing a column, at his suggestion, on surviving cancer. When I realized how bad his condition was, I told him that I wouldn’t submit the article because I thought that writing about winning my battle was somehow a slap in the face to him because he was struggling so hard to win his. He was furious saying it wasn’t about him, it was about a disease. That was the only argument we ever had but I held my ground and I waited a year before submitting it - to another editor.
He was stubborn, tenacious, hard working and one of the nicest friends anyone could ever have.