A Valley News Publication

Amanda, left, and Mary McCann. (Photo courtesy John Gregg)

From John Gregg, Valley News news editor:

On the same day as the massacre at an Annapolis newspaper, this happened: Mary McCann, right, drove six hours roundtrip from her home in southeastern Massachusetts to present Amanda Newman at the Valley News with a $1,500 check as the winner of the annual MacGregor Fiske Award.


Named for Mary’s late husband, the award is intended to encourage promising young journalists in New England to persevere in the field. (Amanda is a talented night editor and designer, and great fun to work with).


I was lucky to have known Mac Fiske when he worked, in quasi-retirement, as a copy editor at the MetroWest Daily News. Mac had been in the merchant marine, served in the Army during the Korean War, and was a fine pitcher in his day. Someone once called him “the Marlboro Man who could recite poetry.” He also was a fourth-generation newspaperman. As it happens, Mary McCann’s father was the chief photographer of the old Framingham News, and her mother, Jane McCann, was an obituary writer and columnist for what was then called the Middlesex News into her 80s. Mary and her sisters used to work as proofreaders on Friday nights, and she was later a compositer.


Since the attack at the Capital Gazette, lots of people, and even a source I occasionally spar with, have reached out to say hang in there. There is no question. A good newsroom is a magical place, and thanks to Mac, Mary and the Amandas of the world, we’re all going to pay it forward.

Here’s a nice story about Mac Fiske, following his death in 2009, from the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass.

I was lucky to know Jane McCann, and later Mary, through my dad’s career at MetroWest. Well into old age, she would come by our house for a bowl of tomato soup. I was just a kid and she always had something kind to say. It was great to see Mary again yesterday, a difficult day for the journalism industry.

Congratulations, Amanda. Keep on keepin’ on.