Mike Barnicle Ending 'Boston Herald' Column

By: (AP) Mike Barnicle, a former Boston Globe columnist who resigned in 1998 because he was unable to verify facts in a column, said he will stop writing his regular column for the Globe's rival, The Boston Herald.

Barnicle, who had a year remaining on his contract with the Herald, said he asked publisher Patrick Purcell about a month ago whether he could leave the paper to work on another writing project.

The paper's financial woes also contributed to his decision, he said.

"At the back of my mind, I didn't want people who have been there for 25 years or 25 days to get the hook," Barnicle told The Associated Press Saturday. "I feel badly for the plight of the paper."

Purcell has told the paper's employee union, the Newspaper Guild, that he wants to eliminate nearly one-quarter of the paper's 145 newsroom jobs, part of his effort to cut costs by $7 million.

Guild president Lesley Phillips declined to comment on Barnicle's departure.

Herald editorial director Ken Chandler said Barnicle will stop writing his twice-weekly column within the next month, but he will remain an occasional contributor, The Boston Globe reported in Saturday's editions.

A Herald spokeswoman couldn't be immediately reached for comment Saturday.

Barnicle described his departure as "very amicable" and said he wasn't under pressure to leave. He would not comment on the financial terms of his contract.

Barnicle, whose Herald column debuted in March 2004 to great fanfare, wrote a column for the Globe for 25 years before he was accused of fabricating a column about the families of two children suffering from cancer.

He admitted there were inaccuracies -- including the race of the children and their illnesses -- but denied making up the story.

In an interview with the Globe earlier this week, Barnicle noted that his column has been getting less prominent play in the newspaper.

"I think the format is problematical for people like me. They have a short news hole, and they tend to put columnists in the back of the paper," he said.


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