Peter Gelzinis Kisses the Boston Herald Goodbye

One of the two rational columnists at the feisty local tabloid. (Come on down, Kimberly Atkins!)

The heart of the Herald to Howie Carr’s spleen.

“Always stuck up for poor and working people, and for veterans and active service military” (tip o’ the pixel to @GlobeCullen).

“A solid, compassionate stand up guy” (ditto to @BostonFire).

There are a lot of ways to describe Peter Gelzinis. The saddest one is “gone.”

That’s what he told us in his farewell column in today’s Boston Herald.

A little hand leading into next chapter

Columnist pulled in new direction by grandson

The tiny fingers belong to a beautiful little boy of four months named Jack. They are clamped around a bigger, slightly arthritic finger that belongs to the grandfather who is absolutely crazy about him — me.

That index finger has tapped out maybe 10,000 stories for this paper over the last (gulp) 45 years. And this one will be the last … at least as a member of the staff.

I’ve shaken the hands of rich and poor, famous and anonymous, but none has exerted a more powerful grip on me than this precious little one that pulled me across a generational threshold back in August.

It’s a lovely piece, as befits a writer who could hold his own with the powerful and empathize with the powerless.  Many of them have acknowledged that in a nice sendoff on Twitter today.

But his exit after “[tapping] out maybe 10,000 stories for this paper over the last (gulp) 45 years” is a sad harbinger of what will likely be a slow-motion unbuilding of the shaky local tabloid.

(To be sure graf goes here)

To be sure, there are other potential buyers than the behemoth, budget-obsessed  GateHouse Media. And even if GateHouse does acquire the Herald, it won’t necessarily mean the paper will be significantly diminished in the future.

But it certainly was today.

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