- Steve Addazio's inaugural press conference as Boston College head football coach (pg. 9)
- Wake Forest University president Nathan Hatch's keynote address at the Sesquicentennial symposium "Religion and the Liberal Aims of Higher Education" (pg. 34)
- David B. Couturier, OFM Cap., on "New Evangelization for Today's Parish" (pg. 42)
- Guerilla Orchestra: the Callithumpian Consort and student musicians rehearse John Zorn's Cobra (pg. 10)
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Community newsman Bill Forry ’95
With his first online posting of the news at 5:50 p.m. on January 12 (“Catastrophe: Haiti Hit with 7.0 Earthquake”), Bill Forry, managing editor of the monthly Boston Haitian Reporter, became a clearinghouse for communications among Haitians in New England. Dispensing temporarily with print publication and focusing on the Reporter website, he posted until 2:00 a.m.—”Radio Teleginen has photos of the damage,” “Kenson Calixte . . . has talked with two relatives”—resuming at 7:40. Over the ensuing days he continued to turn out news stories at a rapid pace (nine bylines on January 14th alone): “Western Union offers ‘no fee’ money transfers,” “Finally, word from [the neighborhood of] Delmas coming in.”
Forry grew up in an Irish-American family in Dorchester, a Boston neighborhood beginning to draw large numbers of Haitians. (The city ranks third behind Miami and New York in Haitian immigrants, with about 55,000, according to a 2008 census survey.) As a sophomore at Boston College, he met Linda Dorcena ’96, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, at an NAACP meeting. The two married in 2000. Five years later, Linda Dorcena Forry was elected a state representative.
The Forrys now raise two children down the street from the house where Bill grew up. It was there, in 1983, that Bill’s father, Edward Forry ’69, made the decision to quit banking and launch a weekly community newspaper, the Dorchester Reporter, with his wife, Mary. Bill was 10 at the time. “I was always involved, even as a kid, kind of helping out,” he recalls. “It started out of my parents’ house, so I didn’t have much of a choice.”
The business expanded with publication of the local Mattapan Reporter, the Boston Irish Reporter, and, in 2001, the Boston Haitian Reporter. Forry is managing editor of all four papers. He was halfway through a sabbatical year, working on a master’s in public administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, when news of the earthquake brought him back to the office.
The Boston Haitian Reporter tells the story “of this community,” he says, but it also has tended ties to Haiti. Three days after the earthquake, Forry made contact by cell phone with Richardson Innocent, a friend who, weeks before, had returned to live in Haiti. Innocent told Forry what he’d witnessed in Port-au-Prince, and the story became the centerpiece of the January edition of the Boston Haitian Reporter: Community journalism, across borders.
Dave Denison is a writer in the Boston area.