Editorial: Bruce Burdett, ’A pro’s pro’

Posted 7/26/21

Last week, the extended family of The Post and East Bay Media Group, the paper’s parent company, learned of former editor David Howard’s passing. This week, on a more upbeat note, we …

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Editorial: Bruce Burdett, ’A pro’s pro’


Last week, the extended family of The Post and East Bay Media Group, the paper’s parent company, learned of former editor David Howard’s passing. This week, on a more upbeat note, we celebrate the career of one of our most revered and respected employees, Bruce Burdett, who is retiring, depending on how good his recollection is when you speak to him, after either 46 or 47 highly decorated years with us.

The people of East Providence, unfortunately, never really got the chance to know Bruce. He was at one time the managing editor for the chain, but when EBMG, formerly East Bay Newspapers, bought The Post and the defunct Seekonk Star back in 2004, Mr. Burdett had settled into being the editor for our papers in the Sakonnet section of southeastern Rhode Island (Tiverton, Little Compton and Portsmouth) and in Westport, just over the border in Massachusetts.

Our colleague Jim McGaw was given the unenviable task to provide our readership throughout the East Bay with a brief glimpse of Mr. Burdett as person and as a journalist. Regrettably we did not have the space required to print Jim’s efforts in the July 22 edition of The Post, though we urge you to read both the main story and sidebar here at eastbayri.com. It would be well worth your time.

Know this, though, Bruce helped guide the company through the good and the bad of the business side. When he started we literally cut and pasted pages together. Now it’s all done by computer, like just about everything else in our lives. It’s rather impersonal, but that is how things have become. There are no longer bustling newsrooms in most places across the country, not much interaction between co-workers to glean knowledge from a man of Bruce's stature.

It’s a bit ironic, then, that one of Mr. Burdett’s strengths as a reporter was his ability to convey the depths of his subjects, tell their stories in a meaningful manner, whether it was the tragedy of 911 or the joys of living by the water, one of his personal passions.

EBMG publisher Matt Hayes was quoted this way in one of Mr. McGaw’s pieces, “What comes to mind mainly for me, beyond the scores of statewide and national honors Bruce that has received, beyond the thousands of the editorials that have helped good people and/or rooted out evil in our communities, is Bruce’s exceptional ability to tell a story. Like no one else I have been associated with in this business, Bruce Burdett tells stories that make one feel as if they are right there in the moment. Bruce’s unique ability to connect with both his subjects and his readers has been a crucial part of the success of these newspapers for the past half-century. I’m really going to miss him.”

We, here, at The Post are also going to miss Bruce Burdett. He is a pro’s “pro” and truly a gentleman. In this business and in life, there’s no better way to be regarded and remembered.

2023 by East Bay Media Group

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.