By WILLIAM SHANNON
Tom Casey, a friend and former colleague, and a well-respected former Register-Star reporter, died early Friday morning in a car accident in Lee, Massachusetts.
He worked as a reporter for The Register-Star covering the city of Hudson in 2011 and 2012.
His firing in late 2012 led his colleagues to write a letter to the then-management of the paper asking that he be reinstated.
In that letter we described Tom as an "excellent reporter who covers his beat conscientiously, who thinks deeply about the issues involved, who has developed strong, fertile relationships with his sources, writes imaginatively and accurately and is a warm, intelligent and good humored presence in the newsroom. His record has been spotless and he has never turned down a difficult assignment.”
It’s a clear testament to the level of regard we had for Tom that when the letter was met with a harsh reaction, three of us decided to quit the paper.
The backlash over his firing was fervent in Hudson at the time.
National journalism-watching outlets, including The Poynter Institute, Jim Romenesko and The Columbia Journalism Review, covered and analyzed the firing following coverage in the local blogosphere.
Over the past two-plus years, Tom worked as a reporter and an editor for The Berkshire Record out of Great Barrington.
Prior to joining The Register-Star, he wrote for The Legislative Gazette in Albany and graduated from SUNY New Paltz. He grew up on Long Island.
Tom was accepted this year into the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, where he planned to attend starting next month.
He was a passionate young man with a smile that was infectious and affirming and erupted often while conversing with him.
His instincts were to suspect people in power and empathize deeply with those with little or no power.
He was smart about issues and perceptive of people.
I expected to read his byline regularly in The New York Times or other major publications down the road.
The loss is an awful one.