Intrepid Gazette courthouse reporter John Ensslin is heading east and going back to his roots.
Ensslin, who worked for the Rocky Mountain News for years before being hired at the Gazette a couple of years ago after the Rocky closed, has accepted a job at The Bergen Record, the award-winning daily based in Hackensack, N.J., run by Editor Frank Scandale. More about him later.
Ensslin, originally from New Jersey, worked at the Rocky for more than 20 years until it closed two years ago. He was hired at the local daily after that and has been covering legal affairs. His last day is April 29.
Ensslin has held several offices in the Society of Professional Journalists, and he's known as a professional with a lot of heart. He told me one time that he just felt lucky to report and write the news. It's the best job in the world, he said. He savored every day on the job.
Now Ensslin will get to return to the ranks of what some would call "real newspapers."
The Bergen Record has captured award after award since Scandale, who formerly held several editor titles at the Denver Post, returned to his home stomping grounds across the Hudson River from New York. Scandale worked at the Post, starting as a reporter in 1990 but rising to assistant managing editor before he left in January 2001 to take over the Record in Hackensack.
For example, Scandale oversaw coverage of the 9/11 attacks, during which photographer Thomas Franklin shot the iconic picture of firefighters raising an American flag atop the rubble, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Under his leadership, the Record has won Investigative Reporters and Editors awards, notably for a protracted investigation of pollution left behind by industry that had moved out of the area decades before.
The Record is the second-largest daily newspaper in New Jersey, behind the Newark paper, and has a reputation for getting after the story full bore, like it did in breaking the story of former Gov. James McGreevey's relationship with a man.
Ah, solid daily news reporting. How we long for it here, and we wish Ensslin godspeed as he returns to it soon.