hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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April 18, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: Barney Gallagher never drifted from the news

They called him Scoop.

Not because Barney Gallagher enjoyed his ice cream — which he did — but because he was known throughout the local industry as someone who helped himself to the news wherever it occurred.

At all times of day, in the turbulence of night, Scoop Gallagher not only discovered the news. It usually found him.

The industry lost one of its finest, a man who put service above self, who wrote the truth and sometimes suffered the consequences. A consummate journalist who burned both ends of the candle and drowned himself in his own incandescence.

Seventy-five years of dedicated service spoke volumes for the man. He never let it rest, even if his police radio jarred him loose at 3 a.m. for an accident call.

Off he'd run with camera in hand, a horrific scene awaiting him, cars collided, bodies mangled, a spot news scene ready to hit the press.

He plied the trade, badgering police investigators until an ID came forward on the victims. Cops knew Barney. So did ambulance drivers and EMTs. They were well acquainted with the durable side of this reporter.

People like me who came to the newspaper long after Barney had arrived looked up to the man as some iconic journalist who had black ink running through his veins.

As good a police reporter as Barney was, the man was even better as an editorial writer. You'd find him pecking away behind his old Royal in a back office of The Gazette during its glory years on Merrimack Street.

There, he forged a personal testament to Haverhill, whether it was an attack on substandard educational practices, political innuendoes, or the serenity of an Arbor Day planting. He particularly favored the school children and the elderly, but never forgot those in between.

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