The New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) has selected Edward W. Forry, who, with his wife, the late Mary Casey Forry, founded the Dorchester Reporter in 1983 and the Boston Irish Reporter in 1990, as its 2020 honoree in the field of community journalism.
Named after Bob Wallack, a longtime New England journalist and former New England Press Association executive director, the award annually recognizes an individual who has displayed an exceptional record of commitment to community journalism. Past award recipients faithfully served their community and played an active, constructive role in contributing to its quality of life.
Forry received his award during the organization’s annual conference, which was held virtually last month. US Sen. Edward Markey, a longtime friend, offered his congratulations during a pre-taped video.
“Over the last 37 years, you have not only reported history in the Reporter, you have laid a legacy for years to come,” Markey said. “You have set the gold standard in news and created a new generation of award-winning reporters and never lost touch with your Dorchester roots…. Our Commonwealth owes you a debt of gratitude.
In accepting the honor, Forry said: “The great speaker of US House, Tip O’Neill, once said in his profession ‘all politics is local.’ Well, I believe the same is true for our profession. Community journalism is about staying in close touch with the local community and reporting on the events, the activities, and the news that has a direct impact on our neighbors, on the neighborhood, and on the city of Boston.”
The selectors took notice of Ed Forry’s active and meaningful work over the last 37 years doing street-level, urban newspapering in Dorchester, Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood in giving him the award. For many who know him and his work, the honoree is a latter-day equivalent of the small-town newspaper editor memorialized in so many movies and histories. Most recently, Ed led the transition of the monthly Boston Irish Reporter into the current version, Boston Irish, a quarterly publication with a robust online presence.
In its award statement, NENPA said: “Ed Forry is always looking ahead. Like those small-town newspaper proprietors, he and his son William have nurtured the future of serious local journalism year after year by providing on-the-beat opportunities for young reporters and writers and interns on the make. Graduates of the Reporter’s newsroom continue to move on to regional and national publications and other news and feature outlets.
It concluded: “His continuing zeal for telling stories that count for his neighborhood has been edifying; now in his mid-70s, he likes to think that the next story will be his newsroom’s best yet.”