Walters: WCAX Hires Political Reporter Neal Goswami | Off Message

Walters: WCAX Hires Political Reporter Neal Goswami


Neal Goswami, left, and Kyle Midura covering a gubernatorial press conference. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Neal Goswami, left, and Kyle Midura covering a gubernatorial press conference.
Updated at 3:11 p.m.

The media merry-go-round is spinning briskly right now.

Vermont Press Bureau chief Neal Goswami is leaving the world of print media to join the news staff at WCAX-TV. The announcement comes a mere two days after Terri Hallenbeck announced her departure from Seven Days and Taylor Dobbs of Vermont Public Radio was hired as her replacement.

Goswami will make a quick move: His last day at the VPB is Friday, November 3 — and he starts at Channel 3 on Monday, November 6.

“Neal is a one-for-one replacement for Kyle Midura,” said WCAX news director Roger Garrity. Midura had been the station’s chief Statehouse and politics reporter until this summer, when WCAX’s corporate owner Gray Television hired him for its Washington, D.C., bureau. “[Goswami] has the knowledge, the background, and connections to the issues and people in the Statehouse.”

Goswami is the sole reporter at the VPB, which covers the Statehouse for the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. So why is Goswami trading in his pen for a microphone?

“After 12 years in print, I thought it was a great opportunity to try something different,” Goswami said. “This lets me continue to cover what I love — politics, policy and government — but tell stories and relate the news in a fresh way.”

He acknowledged that moving to television “is a bit daunting, but I think with a little training and coaching I’ll be OK.”

Garrity concurred. “It’s an idea I borrowed from my mentor and predecessor, Marselis Parsons,” he explained. “It was common for him to hire people from all walks of life. Neal will need training with the equipment and the process, but it’s much easier to teach him that than to establish all the knowledge in a TV reporter from elsewhere.”

Goswami’s current employer is sorry to see him go.

“It’s hard to find someone who’s a great reporter and a great writer. Neal was both,” said Steven Pappas, editor of the Rutland Herald and Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. “He’s highly regarded by all parties in the Statehouse. As a result, he’s gotten us some really great stories over the years.”

Pappas added that Goswami was a pillar of strength when the two papers nearly shut down in 2016, as then-owner John Mitchell was hanging on for dear life and searching for a buyer. “Neal brought talent and integrity to this organization during one of its darkest hours,” Pappas said.

The papers will miss Goswami, but Pappas sees a bright side to the transition. “It’s a great opportunity to look at all of our coverage,” he said. “We will continue to be a presence at the Statehouse and in state government.”

The papers — particularly the Herald — suffered a significant staff exodus after they were sold in September 2016 to Reade Brower of Maine and Charles “Chip” Harris of New Hampshire. The company has been slowly rebuilding ever since, and Pappas promises that “we will make multiple hires.”

He did hint at possible structural changes to allow more flexibility in the newsrooms. That may include the end of the “Vermont Press Bureau” as such, but Pappas vowed that the commitment to covering state politics and government will be even stronger than before.

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