John Breneman

pease herald cover2When I first set foot in the Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald newsroom in late 1988, I was almost immediately sent out to Pease Air Force Base to cover the press conference where we learned the shocking news that Pease would close.

Since that day, I have written and edited hundreds of stories about the now-successful rebirth of the region’s most potential-rich parcel of real estate.

This column (“Touching down on a familiar runway,” written upon my return to the Herald in 2012) explains my passion for communicating key information about the issues and events that shape our community to the people who call Portsmouth home.

My consistently outstanding work at the Herald created an opportunity as the editor of the Cambridge (Mass.) Chronicle. Highlights of my time covering that cultural, academic and political hotspot include: meeting the amazing Miss Ruth Jones on her 100th birthday, writing about the exploits of Bill Walsh, a city councilor who went on the lam after being indicted for bank fraud, and crafting the award-winning 150th anniversary edition of the Chronicle.

I returned to the Portsmouth Herald as Sunday editor in 1998. And when I reflect on the coverage we did in the aftermath of 9/11, I still feel a solemn sense of pride. I was not scheduled to be in the newsroom on Sept. 11, 2001, but when I got there our city editor asked me to write this essay to lead the next day’s front page.

Beantown beckoned once more in 2005, when I began a seven-year stint at the Boston Herald. Some of my favorite work from that time involved collaborating with an artist on comic-style pages for our Sunday edition – delivering intelligent satire on regional and national issues of the day, and the city’s obsession with a certain century-old baseball team.

When I returned once again to Seacoast Media Group in September 2012, the executive editor offered me the privilege of taking over the Sunday Page Two column.

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Page One essay: Sept. 11, 2001

Two of my favorites include a piece responding to Chicago Tribune travel writer Josh Noel’s cheeky yet poetic paean to our fair city (“Ode to Portsmouth: Paradise by the Piscataqua”) and my report on recent plans to erect a chicken coop at Strawbery Banke (“Pullet surprise scoop on Port City chicken coop”).

I am proud of my work at the Portsmouth Herald, which in addition to page design, editorial guidance and newsroom leadership includes hundreds of opinion columns, editorials, news and feature stories.

To sum things up, I am a multitalented communications professional with deep experience as a writer, editorial leader, graphic designer, technologist, teacher and content creator.

My skill set includes proficiency in Photoshop, InDesign, Quark Express, web content management systems (including WordPress and Saxotech), web design and html, social media and, most important, listening, understanding and effectively communicating key information to the public.