Current and former colleagues of Bill Malinowski, the forcibly retired Providence Journal reporter who passed away Thursday at age 57 from complications related to ALS, are pouring in. It is a testament to the man’s character and legacy that the tributes are uniformly effusive.
Columnist Edward Fitzpatrick recalls speaking at last fall’s Billy Mal 5K race. Participants included former organized crime associate Charles “The Ghost” Kennedy, the subject of a book Malinowski was working on:
“There are four reasons why we are here,” I said that day, standing on a bench along Blackstone Boulevard. “Some of us are here because we know Bill as a great reporter — someone who has written about the police and the courts, street gangs and the mob, Brian Sarault and Chuck Moreau. Someone who recently won the Sevellon Brown New England Journalist of the Year award.”
“Some of us are here because we know Bill as a neighbor, a friend or a family member — the guy who organized a running group called Barrington Eagle Speed when he saw that his daughter, Molly, was interested in running,” I said.
“Some of us are here because we know Bill as a runner — as someone who completed 15 marathons,” I said, ticking off his personal records (marathon 3:20, 5K 18:07)
“And some of us are here because we know Bill as a complete wiseass,” I said, as a murmur of agreement coursed through the crowd.
Bill Reynolds, in a piece headlined “It’s Bill Malinowski’s Fighting Spirit That Will Last,” remembers meeting up with Malinowski last fall at the local YMCA. And Rhode Island Public Radio has shared advance copy of Monday commentary by Scott MacKay, who used to work with Malinowski:
After working in the now-closed Pawtucket bureau, Malinowski became part of the Journal’s investigative team. It was a hothouse that led him to the underbelly of the state’s political and law-enforcement systems. He flourished in a system where such top editors as Jim Wyman, Joel Rawson and Tom Heslin made smart, tough journalism a priority, recalls Malinowski’s close friend, New York Times columnist Dan Barry.
The Journal obituary can be read here, and Barry’s Oct. 2, 2015 essay about his close friend, via the embedded tweet below. RIP.
— Dan Barry (@DanBarryNYT) August 12, 2016
Photo courtesy: Providence Journal