A Godfather Of Boston Alt-Journalism Passes Away

(Facebook.com/The Boston Phoenix)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Stephen Mindich, one of the founding fathers of modern-day Boston alternative journalism at the Boston Phoenix, passed away Wednesday night.

My deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

If you never read the Phoenix before the internet killed it five years ago, you missed something worthwhile.

During its four-decade-plus run, the Phoenix was the city’s go-to place for coverage of the arts and nightlife of all kinds. It was a bible of the local rock scene, and winner if a Pulitzer Prize for classical music writing, an impressive show of diversity.

In its heyday, the Phoenix was profitable. And Stephen Mindich could have just taken the money and left it at that.

Instead, he sank money into some less-than-profitable journalism – investigative reporting, muckraking, sharp-edged media coverage, and elbow-tossing political analysis.

Some of the most familiar names in Boston journalism paid their dues at the Phoenix – I won’t try to name them because the ones I leave out will be furious.

But despite its reputation in some quarters as an ultra-liberal outlet, it seemed to make perfect sense to Steve Mindich in 1989 to hire less-than-ultra-liberal me as his political reporter.

I’ve worked for some amazingly supportive bosses over the years, from the late David Brudnoy to Russel Pergament of the Tab to my current allies at WBZ, and Stephen was right up there with the best of them.

Big-time candidates for office, real estate moguls and others who complained to Mindich about my reporting got the brush-off, at least, the ones I heard about. I suspect he didn’t bother to tell me about many others.

Stephen Mindich believed in journalism, respected it, put his money where his mouth was, and served this city well by doing so.

What a legacy.

May his memory be a blessing.

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