Creating Journalists at Emmanuel College

A guide for ENGL 2501 and ENGL 3801

Friday’s class visitor: The Boston Globe’s Mark Arsenault #ECMark

Unearthed by my mother recently: an ancient photograph from a Christmas Gardner News.

Unearthed by my mother recently: an ancient photograph from a Christmas Gardner News.

I could tell a lot of stories about Mark Arsenault. He could retaliate with a lot of stories about me.

I’ll start with this: when I was hired for this, my first stint at the front of a college classroom, this first person I wanted to bring in as a speaker was Mark. When I emailed him, he immediately said yes, no questions asked.

Why Mark? If you were reading the Boston Globe the day of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, it’s very likely you were reading a story with his byline. His byline popped up at the top of a number of stories throughout the week as he wrote and updated story after story, adding in notes and quotes from reporters in the field.

“Are you taking in coffee on an IV?” I emailed at one point.

“I think they’ve switched to pure heroin,” he responded. Before updating another story. And another.

Why Mark? It goes back to 1990 when, fresh from a year as an editorial assistant at the Boston Herald, I joined the Gardner News. I took the desk next to Mark, the city hall reporter.

We had a lot of adventures. Shared a lot of bylines. I once made him move an ancient refrigerator down a narrow, curving, attic staircase with the guy who is now my husband. We had to play good reporter/bad reporter to get a quote out of the mayor after accidentally raising the dead.

Mark left for the Marlborough-Hudson Enterprise-Sun in 1992. I followed soon after, taking the desk beside him and, fittingly, starting a Sunday shift tradition where we would end our night watching “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” He left for The Sun in Lowell a few years later; I stayed put and threw a wake for the Enterprise-Sun when it converted from a daily to two weeklies.

My career went on at the MetroWest Daily News and elsewhere. I didn’t get to The Sun until Mark was long gone.

Mark’s reporting in Lowell can be summed up in his first mystery novel, “Spiked.” After Lowell, he spent nearly a decade at the Providence Journal where he covered, among many things, the aftermath of The Station nightclub fire in 2003. He wrote three more novels, “Speak Ill of the Living,” “Loot the Moon” and “Grave Writer.”

In 2010, he moved to the Boston Globe, where he worked in the Washington DC bureau before moving back to the Boston area. He now covers casino development and gambling issues for the Globe.

Why Mark? Because while we haven’t seen each other in person for years, I’m still pretty sure he’s the guy I could call in the middle of the night, request his help with some kind of unsavory errand, and he’d just say “OK, when and where?” with no other questions asked.

This errand is not that unsavory. The live Tweeting from the classroom starts at 8 a.m. Friday. Students, use the hashtag #ECMark.


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This entry was posted on April 2, 2014 by in Boston Marathon, Journalism and tagged , , .

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