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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Goodbye, Cassidy. Hello, David

Westerly Sun coverage of Charlestown changes hands
By Will Collette

Cassidy Swanson
The print reporting business is a tough one in recent years, especially in the newspaper business. Declining circulation, pressure from rude and crude "alternative" media like Progressive Charlestown, falling ad revenues and corporate consolidation take their toll on hard-working professional journalists who do the often thankless task of searching out the truth and reporting it.

Cassidy Swanson, who has covered Charlestown well since last January, has her last day at the Sun today. She’ll be starting graduate school in the fall, continuing in journalism despite the bleak career prospects. Mazel Tov!

Taking over the Charlestown beat is David Pepin, an experienced journalist newly hired by the Sun.

David Pepin
From the beginning, I found Cassidy to be a diligent digger and a good writer. She worked at making sure she covered both sides of the story.

I wasn’t always happy with the way a story played out, but not because of anything she did wrong. Sometimes, the news just doesn’t break your way. I know that a lot of the CCA people will be glad to see her go because if there’s one thing they can’t stand is for the truth to be known. Some of them might even throw a party.

I wish Cassidy well.

Our new Sun reporter for Charlestown is David Pepin. Unlike Cassidy, who came to the Sun as a fresh, young reporter, David is a seasoned veteran of 28 years in the local and regional newspaper business and has a beard as white as mine.

I’ve read – and enjoyed – his writing, especially a very bittersweet/funny piece he wrote in Rhode Island Future on his experience being laid off by the East Greenwich Pendulum. David is a lifelong Rhode Islander. He has worked for the Warwick Beacon, Cranston Herald, Woonsocket Call, Worcester Telegram and Gazette, as well as, of course, the EG Pendulum. He's been a regular at the Newspaper Guild's annual Follies for years.

In addition to having a good sense of humor, he’s also a serious professional journalist.

We’ll see how that turns out, since being a funny guy dedicated to digging out the truth isn’t going to make him very popular with a lot of our Charlestown politicians. I hope the Sun issues him with a CCA flak jacket.

What I always hope for in a news reporter is the fairness to tell both sides of the story, fearlessness to tell the story no matter who gets pissed off and good writing that makes the story come alive. We had that with Cassidy and I think we’ll also get that from David.