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2024 Power 100: Michael McDermott

A man with short blonde hair wears a dark grey suit jacket, light blue shirt, and blue, orange, and white plaid tie. Photo I Courtesy of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette Michael McDermott
Michael McDermott Title Executive editor Company Worcester Telegram & Gazette, in Worcester Employees About 25 news staff in Central Massachusetts; parent company Gannett has 10,000 U.S. employees Residence Warwick, Rhode Island College Northeastern University Read all the Power 100 profiles here
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Michael McDermott has helped the news media in Central Massachusetts get its swagger back. Since taking over as the Worcester Telegram & Gazette's executive editor in 2022, the newspaper of record in the region continues to hold police to account, has published hard-hitting stories, and been at the forefront of covering major news events like the Worcester State University shootings, major flooding in Fitchburg and Leominster in September, and the double-murder of Chasity and Zella Nunez in March.

The Telegram & Gazette is in an era of modest expansion of its newsroom staff and coverage after years of ownership changes and cuts that led to a greatly pared-down media organization. The former managing editor of The Providence Journal, McDermott left his longtime Rhode Island job for a new challenge in Worcester. He bolstered the Telegram staff with the addition of an engagement editor, a breaking news reporter, and a sportswriter. Although far from its heyday, the Telegram on its website lists 25 employees in its newsroom, the largest in the region.

Among its notable coverage, the Telegram in 2023 won the New England First Amendment Award from the New England Newspaper & Press Association for reporter Brad Petrishen’s efforts to bring to light misconduct by Worcester police.

Under McDermott, the Telegram rounds out its role as a community newspaper with coverage of high school sports, the production of the arts-focused Worcester Magazine, and the quarterly lifestyle magazine Worcester Living.

One of McDemott’s priorities coming into his new role was keeping the Telegram’s office in downtown Worcester. As the company was paring down the two-floor lease in the Mercantile Center begun in 2012 when the newspaper had 162 employees, McDermott worked to maintain offices in the building in a new lease in 2023. 

Read all the Power 100 profiles here.

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