North Adams Transcript
NORTH ADAMS -- Longtime local journalist and Transcript Editor-in-Chief Glenn Drohan died Thursday -- his 59th birthday -- at North Adams Regional Hospital following a long battle with cancer.
A veteran reporter and editor with over 26 years of experience, Drohan first joined the Transcript as a correspondent in 1985 covering the town of Florida before moving to the Williamstown beat on a full-time basis. He also spent 12 years with the Berkshire Eagle, working as a copy editor, reporter and bureau chief.
From 1996 to 1998 he served as managing editor of the Brattleboro Reformer, before serving as Transcript editor from 1998 to 1999. He was editor of the Advocate from 2003 to 2006, before rejoining the Transcript as editor in 2006.
Drohan won a first-place award from the New England Press Association in 1992 for extensive coverage of the closing of the Yankee Atomic nuclear plant in Rowe and took a second-place award for editorial writing from the Vermont Press Association in 1996. Under his leadership, the Transcript earned a merit award in the New England Newspaper Association’s Newspaper of the Year contest in 1998 and a Publick Occurrences award that year for a news package on layoffs at North Adams Regional Hospital.
He leaves behind Marsha Landry, his long-time significant other, whom he lived with in the city, his daughter, Mollie, 27, and a brother, Kerry, who recently retired from the Boston Globe.
Family and friends are invited to celebrate his life at the Freight Yard Pub on Saturday, June 18 at 4 p.m. At his request, a funeral and wake will not be held.
Robert Chapman, publisher of the Transcript and Advocate, said Drohan would be sorely missed, not only by the community, but by his co-workers as well.
"It’s a big loss for the North Adams Transcript and the entire news industry," he said. "What impressed me the most about Glenn was not only his institutional knowledge of the community, but also the people he knew personally. He was always by my side at events, introducing me to people I didn’t know. I always felt at ease with him at the helm.
"On a personal level I enjoyed his company. He was always quick-witted. He will be missed."
City Councilor Alan L. Marden recalled Drohan’s tenacity for news and his dedication to the Northern Berkshires.
"Glenn always fought the good fight," Marden said. "When I was thinking about him earlier, I kind of laughed. One thing an editor is supposed to be is objective. He often failed there, because he loved the community he served. He was never objective with people who didn’t love it."
He credited Drohan for dedication to the Transcript, noting that many in the community knew that he had worked daily during his chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
"He kept the Transcript going for the last two years -- making a personal sacrifice [as he battled cancer]. It’s a legacy he left to the paper."
Longtime friend and co-worker James Niedbalski, who met Drohan when he first started at the paper in 1985, remembered him as "the best journalist I ever knew."
"He was an amazing stickler for accuracy and the facts," Niedbalski said. "I received an email from a friend today, which said [Glenn] ‘cut a unique swath through this world.’ I think it’s a good representation of the person he was."
He said Drohan mentored many reporters over the years, including himself, making them better at their profession.
Longtime friend and local reporter Susan Bush, said she was one of those reporters -- hired by Drohan in 1998 as a part-time correspondent for the Transcript. The two would later share an office in the Eagle’s North County bureau.
"By the end of 1998, he offered me a full-time job," she said. "Since then, I worked with him in some capacity. Everything worthwhile I learned about writing a news story, I learned from Glenn Drohan."
Drohan also had a unique friendship with former Mayor John Barrett III, who described it as a "love-hate" relationship.
"When he was a reporter, we could go for months without speaking because I was mad at him for something he wrote," Barrett said. "He knew everyone and had incredible sources he wouldn’t tell me about. One year, during tense negotiations with the unions, he’d have stories about things I wouldn’t talk to him about. I later found out that he’d go down to the Mohawk and have a few beers with the union guys who would tell him things."
He described Drohan as the quintessential "old-time" news reporter, who was passionate about many of the stories and issues he covered, including the Greylock Glen in Adams.
"Glenn was a newsman’s newsman," Barrett, who knew Drohan for over 30 years, said Thursday. "He was the last of an era, before new corporations and new ways of thinking in journalism. He believed so much in the freedom of the press and open meeting law. He would file more complaints than anyone I know."
While dedicated to his profession, many of his friends remember a side not often seen by the public -- a man who loved fishing, playing cards and performing.
"People who knew him in a certain realm knew how talented he was," Nick Noyes, long-time friend, said. "I met Glenn when he was with Something Different, a children’s theater troupe at North Adams State College. He was an accomplished actor, who was with Oldcastle Theatre Co. in Bennington, Vt., for five years. He also played the guitar and sang."
He was also very competitive, whether fishing or playing cards, according to long-time friend Johnnie Carrier.
"We were fishing buddies," he said. "It was always a competition to see who could catch more fish with him. He’d catch a fish and announce, ‘1 to 0.’ He had to outfish me. He’d get upset if I caught more than he did."
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email