Will The Montreal Gazette introduce a new city columnist to succeed Mike Boone, who has moved over to the sports section?
My sources at the paper indicate that thus far no decision has been made. There are in fact whispers that they will not fill the position, choosing instead to profile National Post writer Christie Blatchford as their main columnist.
Replacing Boone in the first place will not be an easy task. I rarely missed one of his columns, be it one of his wonderful community or personality profiles or a firsthand account of his frustration with the internet and the memorable pieces about his late mom. Boone really covered Montreal the way a city columnist should.
I truly believe The Gazette needs to park someone in his place. But who can that be? If they hire from within, I believe Andy Riga would be an excellent choice. He is married, has a few kids, covers transportation and blogs on community affairs. David Johnston, presently the communities reporter, would provide some good angles as well. James Mennie had a regular column in the past. Perhaps it is time to give him another go at it. For anyone who has ever heard him fill in for Tommy Schnurmacher on CJAD, he is opinionated, knowledgeable on a wide variety facts and has a good sense of humour. Jeff Heinrich has covered news and now works in the entertainment section. He’d be fun to read. Has Aaron Derfel grown tired of the health beat? What about Sue Montgomery, the holds no punches justice reporter whose gutsy pieces on Haiti deserve much praise. I always enjoyed her weekly column in the old Sunday Gazette.
Let’s hope the void is filled. There are a lot of great city stories out there to cover.