By Virginia Dean
Valley News local news editor John Gregg will discuss his newspaper’s coverage at the Norman Williams Library as part of the Meet Your Local Media Forum on March 7 at 6 p.m.
“I’m happy to do it because the Woodstock area is an important part of our readership,” said Gregg in a recent interview. “And I hope the public will understand more of what we do as a newspaper.”
The Valley News, Gregg added, is in an area where a daily newspaper plays an important role, or the most important role, in terms of everyday news for people.
“The Internet saturation hasn’t spread up here as in other parts of the country,” Gregg said. “We also have expanded our website, so people who want to get their news digitally can do so as well.”
In addition to his reporting and editing, Gregg writes a weekly political column called Primary Source that is considered salient and informational on both sides of the Connecticut River.
“It hopefully gives the kind of information that people would want to know beyond what they’re seeing on TV as well as the reasons why politicians are doing what they’re doing,” Gregg said. “It’s more context-based. One of the great appeals of working for the Valley News is covering both Vermont and New Hampshire which are so diametrically different in terms of politics.”
An English major at Williams College, Class of 1985, Gregg has worked for newspapers in Washington, D.C., and Boston, Mass., including Roll Call, (Washington), the Rutland Herald and United Press International.
“After graduating, I thought I wanted to get into the publishing field,” Gregg said. “So I returned to Washington, D.C., where I had grown up. Eventually, I got an internship working for a local magazine and then, Roll Call, a weekly paper.”
Gregg later became the chief speechwriter for former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (1991-97) who Gregg describes as a socially liberal and fiscally conservative ex-Republican Governor who early on supported gay and abortion rights.
“He had a lot working for him,” Gregg said. “Even as an Independent, I had a tremendous amount of respect for him. He opened my eyes about how politicians work the media that he did as well as anyone in Massachusetts at that time. It helped with the political agenda he had, and it was pretty fascinating to watch. Hopefully, it has made me a better reporter.”
Gregg joined the staff full time of the Valley News in 2003. He has participated in the Vermont Edition on PBS over the last four years discussing news around the Upper Valley.
“The forum shows that people in the Upper Valley have made some high quality choices in getting information from a variety of sources,” Gregg said.
He and his wife, Mary, live in Westminster, Vt., which is a 100-mile round trip commute to the paper’s headquarters in West Lebanon, N.H.
“It’s long, but the Valley News is a great place to work,” Gregg said. “It has a lot of engaged readers and that’s very meaningful to me.”
Event organizers Bob Hager, retired NBC correspondent, and John Mathews, retired newspaper reporter and editor, and NBC producer, will moderate the forum.
By Virginia Dean