InDepthNH Loves Paula Tracy, Independent News and Our $5,000 Double Donation Match

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Paula Tracy

Editor’s Note: We are blowing our own horn all week for Independence Day and Independent News with this awesome fundraiser because Don Burns is honoring his wife Katy Burns, a well-known Concord Monitor columnist who died last November, by matching all of your donations starting July 1 up to $5,000. You can donate here and it will be doubled up to $5,000 to celebrate Independent News: checks to NH Center for Public Interest Journalism, 38 Edgewater Drive, Barrington, NH 03825, EIN Number 812266973. Yesterday we celebrated our columnists. Ask us anything all week long! email


Paula Tracy is a New Hampshire native who grew up on St. Paul’s campus in Concord where her father taught. She graduated from UNH and has been reporting daily news since 1982.

And she’s one hell of a reporter. Last year the New Hampshire Press Association presented her with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and just a few weeks ago she won first place in our division for her Investigative Reporting.

I first worked with Paula when we were both reporters at the New Hampshire Union Leader. I admired her work then, but really didn’t know just how great she is until she left the Union Leader, worked at WMUR and then came over to five years ago.

My very first memory of Paula was of her walking down the path with another Union Leader reporter Maureen Milliken from the home the morning after two young girls were murdered on New Year’s Eve in 1987 on Titus Avenue in Manchester. I’m not sure if it was a picture of them or I actually saw them that morning. The horrific crime gives me chills to this day. The senseless deaths of two little girls had Manchester on edge for months until the killer was identified and convicted.

I think it’s Paula’s versatility that amazes me most. She can write a fine feature from the heart, investigate and report a complicated land deal, report on a tragic homicide and cover state government with historical memory few can boast. And she writes her stories lightning fast, which always inspires me and frankly makes me jealous.

Today, Paula, who loves the outdoors, wrote an important story about cyanobacteria after interviewing an expert from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and a New Hampshire lawmaker who has made it her business to study it as well.

Cyanobacteria in NH Lakes An Increasing Problem That May Be Linked to ALS

 The story was posted on our website for only a couple of hours when we got the first email about it from a veteran reader.

“Thank you for your careful reporting on the issue of cyanobacteria,” she wrote. “Thank you for providing this critical information to your readers.”

This happens to us a lot. I am proud to say that, especially with reporters such as Paula Tracy, Garry Rayno and Damien Fisher, two others who did some serious reporting time over the years at the Union Leader.

Like all of the people at, Paula is a contract worker who gets paid not well enough by the story. Nothing extra for gas even if she has to drive to Pittsburg. No overtime even if she has to climb Mount Washington. And she has to take great photos to go with every story, which she does naturally.

I’m not really sure she knows about the lack of perks at because she has never complained.

Although I have known Paula for three decades, today was the first time I asked her why she does it when the challenges in journalism keep getting tougher and tougher.

“I like learning about different issues and explaining what I learn to people,” she explained. “I love New Hampshire and have made it my focus since moving back from Massachusetts in 1987 when I started a 25-year stint at the Union Leader.

“I love writing for because I get to write longer stories that are more expansive than what I could do in print. And I get to choose what I write about,” she said.

Paula always seems at home speaking to powerful people at the State House, but where she also shines is finding out what everyday people think and feel. She always makes sure she talks as long with the people picketing outside the State House as she does with the elected leaders.

We think we have been working in New Hampshire for so long that everyone must know who we are, but I don’t think that is the case necessarily.

So this week as we celebrate our Independent News Independence Day matching fundraiser, we’d like you to get to know us better and for us to get to know you better, too.

Please feel free to email me any questions you’d like answered about and I will do my best to answer them this week.

In the meantime, I wanted you to know about my friend, my very dear friend and colleague, Reporter Paula Tracy.

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