Editor's Letter: October 2007

It’d be exaggerating to say I gave Joe Keohane a job here just so he could write his Billy Bulger story, but not by much. I can remember the first time the idea came up: We’d had breakfast at Mike’s diner—this was more than a year ago, back when Joe was still editing the Weekly Dig and shortly after he started writing columns for us as a freelance contributor—and as we were standing outside afterward, he mentioned that for the past several months, he and the former state Senate president had been e-mailing and getting together for the occasional meal.

None of their conversations had been on the record and, accordingly, Joe didn’t relay to me anything Bulger had said. But the mere fact that Bulger, who hates journalists, was talking to Joe at all was remarkable. It was clear that if Bulger would grant him the same kind of access for a profile, we could deliver a stunner.

Eventually, Bulger did—marking the first time in 16 years he’s agreed to sit for this sort of piece—which paved the way for “The Brother Bulger." The play on the title of last year’s book by Howie Carr is intentional. Not because Bulger fires back at Carr in the story (though he does, and often colorfully), but because it’s things like Carr’s book that Bulger allowed to define his legacy, a legacy Joe found him now grappling to come to terms with. To say more in this space would be to give too much away—just know that the article is a must-read for anyone who follows the Bulger saga or the local power game in general, or who is simply curious about this city and how it works.

As long as I’m on a self-promotional kick, I’ll wrap up with a brief commercial. While we’ve been busy creating a better Boston magazine for you, we’ve been overhauling our home design, wedding, and travel titles as well. The first fruit of that effort, the fall issue of Boston Home, is on newsstands this month. We’re also upgrading our website with new features, including our Boston Daily blog, where we’ve been breaking news, stirring up trouble, and drawing readers into the debate (and on good days doing all three) since late this summer. If you haven’t yet, I hope you’ll join the fray at bostonmagazine.com.