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yesterday's fatal


The Providence Chronicle

May 1, 2007
ONE DOLLAR

Twelve Rounds With An Intrepid Reporter
An Interview With Hallie Ahern

In our weekly newsmakers interview we go toe-to-toe with the Chronicleís own Hallie Ahern about her life in Providence, her addictions, and two recent investigations that made her Ďfront-page news.í

Q: Hallie, what is it with you and your propensity to stumble upon murder scenes?

A: Is it getting spooky? I try to tell myself it's not that weird. Iím a newspaper reporter, and it's my job to check things out. Maybe I go too far sometimes, but it's not like I only cover murders, itís just that these are the only stories I talk about. I don't want to bore you with the day-to-day drudge of the newspaper grind.

Q: In only a couple of years, you've managed to uncover two major Rhode Island business scandals. Is Providence really such a corrupt town? More so than other big cities?

A: Corruption is everywhere, but itís just a little more concentrated in the smallest state in the country. Aside from its history of being the mob headquarters of New England, Providence is also an arts community. This means that the corruption has more innovation and flair. It makes for better stories.

Q: When we last heard about you, you had suffered some injuries during a big murder investigation. How has your recovery been going? Any long term effects?

A: The gun wound was superficial. I consider myself lucky. Besides, you canít be a wimp and be a decent reporter. Otherwise mob guys like Tito Manaforte will eat you for lunch.

Q: Are you still a talk radio junkie? Do you still call into these shows, or have you found another hobby?

A: In Rhode Island, talk radio shows are really an integral part of the community. Plus, they are good for news leads. So I still listen a lot. But lately, Iíve been spending more time on the Internet chat rooms, so I donít call into radio so much.

Q: You've been linked romantically to Matt Cavanaugh of the Rhode Island Attorney General's office. How would you classify this relationship? Is there a future between you guys?

A: Iím sorry. I really feel uncomfortable talking about my personal life.

Q: How have things improved for you at the Providence Chronicle since the Mazursky story broke on the front page?

A: I was promoted from the state staff to the city, and am now on the Investigative team on a probationary basis. If I push hard enough, I can even get Dorothy to okay a story idea. Plus, I got a raise, which I really, really needed.

Q: It's been rumored that you've experienced some problems with a gambling addiction. How have you been coping with this issue? Is this a habit that can be kicked cold turkey?

A: You must have been talking to Walter, my sponsor. He thinks everyone needs to be in a 12-step program for EVERYTHING. Itís not like I was into bookies or anything. I lost no more than most people do on a weekend in Vegas. Why does everyone have to make such a big deal about this?

Q: Did the Mazursky Market investigation make you any lingering enemies?

A: Not unless you count the former mayor. But heís still in jail.

Q: There have been rumors of corporate changes at the Providence Chronicle. How might these changes affect your job? How do you feel in general about corporate ownership of newspapers?

A: An independently-owned newspaper loses a piece of its soul when it gets bought a large corporation. And there are always layoffs. Why, what did you hear?

Q: What are your favorite aspects of living in Providence? Do you prefer it to Boston, from where you came?

A: I love the people in Providence, who are a lot looser than in Boston. Also, itís a livable city, with great restaurants (the Italian influence) and occasionally, you can still find a place to park. Plus itís easy to catch a PawSox game. In Boston, it costs a fortune to see the Red Sox at Fenway. And itís nearly impossible to get good seats.

Q: Where did you cultivate your tenacity as a reporter? Is there any source you would be reluctant to interview; or a story to chase down?

A: I think all reporters are tenacious. Itís pretty much a baseline requirement. Iíd like to think that thereís no source I wouldnít interview, or story Iíd chase down, but you donít see me signing up to be a war correspondent in Iraq. The Middle East scares the crap out of me.

Q: Are there any big investigative stories that you are currently working on that you can tell us about?

A: Letís just say that Iíve been spending a lot of time on the Internet. And itís revolting what goes on in cyberspace...

 

 

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