Looking Back at Community News in Everett

By Keith Spencer

For more than a century, residents and community leaders have turned to a number of local publishers for news that informed and commentary that enlightened. Over the last several years, I have had the opportunity of working with a number of local papers. With the launch of NoBo Magazine, I believe we are beginning a new era of the community news format in Everett.

However, I do believe it would be naïve to ignore those publications that guided residents in times of success or failure, in tragedy or rebirth.

When the town formed in 1872, not one newspaper was headquartered within city limits. To satisfy the demands of those looking to advertise, the Malden Messenger published a special edition, known as the Everett Pioneer.

In 1873, the Everett Free Press offered residents their first hometown paper. Two years later, the last issue of its only competitor, the Pioneer, was printed. In 1885, Benjamin Johnson, who owned the Malden City Press and the New England Grocer, began publishing the Everett Herald.

Known today as the Everett Leader-Herald News Gazette, ownership of the paper has exchanged hands several times, however, it has been published by the Curnane family since the mid-twentieth century.

Joseph Curnane, Sr., established the Leader-Herald as the city’s defacto paper. A man of many trades, Curnane was working not only as a publisher, but also as the owner of a funeral home, a school-board member, and an influential local politician. Curnane would serve as the Maryland coordinator for the Kennedy presidential campaign of 1960.

Members of the family continue the tradition today, publishing and delivering new issues to doorsteps every Thursday. While it may provide limited coverage when compared to issues from years gone by, the Everett Leader-Herald News Gazette remains a paper of record in and the literary legacy of Everett.

In recent years, an all-out newspaper war has developed after the emergence of two viable competitors: the Everett Advocate and the Everett Independent.

Following a stint as mayor of Chelsea, where he made headlines himself, James Mitchell has been publishing the Everett Advocate for nearly two decades. The free tabloid-style weekly paper is distributed at various local establishments across the city, and features the most detailed coverage of the Everett Crimson Tide and the local political scene.

Mitchell has covered every major story while at the helm of the colorful publication. With the help of his son, the Advocate now publishes editions in Everett, Malden, Revere, and Saugus. The Mitchells continue to provide biting commentary and wide-coverage of everything and anything of importance in each of these communities.

In 1999, the Independent Newspaper Group began publishing the Everett Independent, promoting their publication as real competition to the city’s established newspapers. The newspaper wanted to provide residents with local, regional, and national outlooks as well as thorough and through-provoking editorials, which became key components to the Independent’s success in the Everett market.

Like the Advocate, the group also has an expanded audience in the area, with flagship papers in Revere and Chelsea as well as additional publications in Winthrop, Lynn, East Boston, and Beacon Hill. Over the course of its publication, the paper has looked at all issues affecting the residents and businesses of Everett, providing coverage that has been accurate, fair, and inclusive.

While many newspapers have come and gone in the city, from the Everett News to the Everett Citizen, three remain, each with their own merits and faults. Even in this changing landscape, all three are poised for publication for years to come.

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