Laconia Daily Sun reporter Michael Kitch is congratulated by Laconia Mayor Ed Engler following the reading of a proclamation marking Kitch’s 14 years of covering the Laconia City Council on Monday. (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Sun reporter ends 14-year career
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Veteran reporter Michael Kitch, who is seldom at a loss for words, found himself tongue-tied Monday night at the Laconia City Council meeting after Mayor Ed Engler honored him for his dedicated coverage of civic affairs.
Kitch, 75, is retiring Friday after 14 years with The Laconia Daily Sun.
Engler read a proclamation noting Kitch’s distinguished and tireless reporting.
“Michael Kitch is a widely respected journalist who has earned accolades for the intelligence, fairness and clarity of his many articles,” Engler said.
The proclamation designated Kitch, a Concord resident, an honorary citizen of Laconia and declared this Friday Michael Kitch Day in Laconia.
Given a chance to speak publicly to the city officials he has so dutifully covered, Kitch opted for a round of handshakes.
On Tuesday, Kitch extended appreciation to those who have helped him cover the city.
“I want to express thanks to city officials, city employees, volunteer members of boards and commissions and everyone else in this city that I’ve dealt with for being unfailingly cooperative, helpful and generous with their time because without that you can’t do your job,” he said. “I consider a lot of the people, in fact most of the people I’ve dealt with over the years as more than just sources of news but as friends.”
Kitch said it has been exciting and gratifying to work for a publication that has thrived at a time when the newspaper industry has struggled with declines in circulation and advertising.
He recalled the early days of his career with The Laconia Daily Sun when the newspaper started under the direction of Engler, who is now president of the Sun.
The Laconia Citizen was the long-established newspaper in the city.
Kitch said 15-hour days were not unusual in the early days.
“Here comes a new newspaper in the only town north of Boston with two dailies,” he said.
“It starts in a competitive market and just puts the legacy paper out of business and thrives. I think it’s pretty remarkable and it’s really been a lot of fun to be a part of that.”
One of his fondest memories is of reporting the controversy about exotic dancing in Gilford, which ended with the decision of the U.S. District Court that nothing could be done to stop it. Although he seldom wrote headlines, he took credit for “Gilford strippers covered by First Amendment,” which topped the front page the next day.
Engler said Kitch “brought almost instantly a level of credibility to the newspaper when he started writing for us. Because he was clearly very intelligent and a very good writer who could not only write fairly but also understand and cover very complex issues. That gave the paper a significant advantage because it’s rare to find someone writing at the small city level who can do that.”
He added that Kitch was “obviously helped tremendously by the fact that he had such an easygoing, winsome personality. People just liked him. And that opened a lot of doors.”
“I’ll miss his biting humor and knowledge of the area as a reporter,” said managing editor Ginger Kozlowski. “Michael will be a hard guy to replace.”
Kitch hold’s a master’s degree in history from Indiana University and an undergraduate degree from Duke. He did graduate studies at Oxford in England and taught at the University of London for 12 years.
He plans an active retirement that will include freelance writing and consulting work.
Laconia Daily Sun reporter Michael Kitch shakes hands with Laconia city councilor David Bownes as councilor Henry Lipman, right and Ava Doyle, left look on following the presentation of a proclamation by Mayor Ed Engler recognizing Kitch's 14 years of covering the council on Monday. (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 1625