The best part of the Boston Globe memo about Bryan Bender quitting the paper and joining Politico is the Yankees cap anecdote.
Back in 2001, an enterprising defense reporter in Washington had the brilliant idea of showing up for his job interview at the Boston Globe Bureau wearing a New York Yankees cap.
It’s a good thing the bureau chief at the time, David Shribman (now editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), overlooked this transgression. Practically on the spot, he hired the candidate, Bryan Bender.
“That is true. I told him to burn it,” Shribman said, confirming the story of the Yankees cap in an email Friday, which, sadly, is Bryan’s last day at the Globe.
Bryan reports for work later this month at Politico, where he will be the new national security editor./CONTINUES
Shribman said then-editor Marty Baron had given him a deadline of noon on a Saturday to hire a defense reporter. It was after 9/11 and the Globe needed someone with sources and detailed knowledge of the Pentagon. Bender had been freelancing for several magazines and newspapers and had previously worked at defense trade publications, including Jane’s Defence Weekly.
“I called Bryan Saturday at 10 and said if he could get to the bureau before noon he could probably get hired,” Shribman said. “He just made it.”
Bryan’s editors, colleagues, and Globe readers are in Shribman’s debt. That was one terrific hire. Bryan has distinguished himself as one of the very best in his 13 years at the Globe. He is a wonderful reporter, spinning a steady stream of really smartly conceived enterprise stories, national scoops, and investigative ideas off his beat.
Bryan’s biggest strengths are his boundless intellectual curiosity and his endlessly gregarious nature, which keeps him in constant touch with a large and ever-expanding array of sources. He has an innate understanding of which stories are in the Globe’s sweet spot, and tackles large undertakings with gusto.
Bryan was a key part of the Globe team that covered the war in Afghanistan and the US effort to fight Al Qaeda and its splinter groups. He covered the US-led invasion of Iraq, the failed search for weapons of mass destruction, and the long and bloody aftermath.
He leaves us with a long list of memorable work. Bryan turned his 2008 series about the military’s search for missing World War II airmen in the South Pacific into a great book, You Are Not Forgotten, which was published to critical acclaim in 2013.
In 2008, he and Kevin Baron were finalists for the Scripps-Howard Foundation Award for their expose of an Army cheating scandal. Bryan was a Loeb Award finalist in 2011 for an investigation of retired generals, showing how the capital’s revolving door culture had fully infected the highest ranks of the Pentagon. In 2013, Bender contributed a sharp story about industry influence at think tanks to the bureau series Broken City, which won the Dirksen Award for coverage of Congress.
At Politico, which is headquartered in Rosslyn, Virginia, Bryan will be re-united with former Globe DC bureau chief and editorial page editor Peter Canellos. He will be leading a team of six reporters and a deputy editor, using his deep expertise and idea-generating talents to lead coverage on a hotly competitive beat.
Plus, of course, he’ll be owning the morning.
Please join me in wishing Bryan congratulations for his new and exciting job and for wrapping up a highly successful and memorable tenure at the Globe.
The Boston Globe, Washington Bureau