Bailey Out at Globe

Adam Reilly just broke the news that star Business columnist Steve Bailey is leaving the Globe to take a job with Bloomberg in Europe. This is arguably the biggest blow to our local broadsheet in a series of big blows. Bailey is the most influential, most well-connected journalist in town. A writer who routinely beats the competition, and who used his column to break news as well as kick the holy hell out of scoundrels, frauds, and ne’er do wells that befouled our fair city.

It’s a bigger blow to local media, however, which seems to be collapsing in on itself. The state of local print these days is enough to make you wonder not just how long it will take to generate another journalist like Bailey, but whether it’s capable of doing so at all. Bailey wanted to go to Europe for some time (his wife is French), but still, it’s telling for our prospects that the man who knows this city better than anyone is hopping on the first train out of town.

Then there’s the readers. When someone like Bailey hangs it up, it doesn’t just hurt the paper he works for, it has the added effect of denying the public entrance into those backrooms where big decisions are made—the same backrooms he showed a practically magical ability to get inside. It’s like a door closing for those of us in the dwindling paper-reading population. One that won’t be reopening any time soon.

I know Bailey a little bit, and though he never seems to take his reporter hat off, which is both profoundly unsettling and tricky (I don’t recall him ever uttering a sentence without prefacing it with ” …off the record,” even in a barroom scenario), the man’s a force of nature. He’s old school. And though I wish him all the best in his next job, his gain in this case is our loss. Bummer.

Also of note: BoMag contributing editor Paul McMorrow did a little profile of Bailey last year in the Dig, which is worth reading, particularly for the story on how Bailey cajoled his way into a job from a bar in Connecticut.