Two pillars of the old Middlesex News died Thursday. Julia Spitz touched base with a bunch of my old colleagues for a story today.
Bob Moore was old-style: He was editor of the paper, but also found time to write an editorial, almost every day. He was plugged into Framingham. You’d see him at coffee shops and selectmen’s meetings. He got involved in local political intrigues that I tend to shy away from.
He worked long days. He yelled at reporters, teaching them things they never learned in journalism school. You have to put it between the lines in an obituary, but Bob would be the first to admit he could be a cranky son-of-a-bitch.
Bob left the Middlesex News as I was arriving in 1985, so I came to know him when he was editor of the Framingham Tab in what, now that I think of it, was Framingham’s last newspaper war. In the ‘90s first the Tab, then the Middlesex News, were bought and folded into Fidelity’s CNC empire. We’re all on the same team now.
He was a tough competitor, but he was always pleasant with me. He would call me from time to time well after he retired, usually to compliment me on something I had written, sometimes to disagree.
Jane McCann was a stickler and a townie. She started at the Framingham News as a proofreader. Her husband, John McCann was paper’s chief photographer for decades. She became the obituaries editor and was one of the first and best of the “roundie” columnists we created to get small-town news back into what had become a regional paper.
Jane had what you might call an unfortunate face, one that made her look unhappy even when she was feeling fine. She was the newsroom grammarian and our expert on all things Framingham. Use a colon incorrectly and she’d let you know. If you called it Framingham Center instead of Framingham Centre once, Jane would make sure you never do it again.
We don’t have proofreaders anymore, or newspaper wars, or newsroom grammarians. They don’t make newsrooms – or newspaper people — like they used to.