Nick Grabbe, longtime reporter and editor, will retire
AMHERST — For 32 years, Nick Grabbe has reported the news in the town he has called home as former editor of the Amherst Bulletin and staff writer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Journalism may be his profession, but he also sees it as a way of giving back.
“I’ve always seen newspaper work as one way of servicing the community and being involved in the community,” Grabbe said. “I’ve enjoyed that.”
Later this month, Grabbe departs from his job. A public farewell reception will be held today from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Town Room at Town Hall.
Grabbe came to the Amherst Bulletin in October 1980 after working as a copy editor at five daily newspapers and as editor of Worcester Magazine and the Valley Advocate.
When he was hired, the Bulletin was one of four newspapers based in Amherst, along with the Amherst News, Amherst Record and Valley Advocate. By the end of the 1980s, the Bulletin had gone from tabloid to broadsheet and had a staff of 11 full-time employees. In 1999, Grabbe stepped down as Bulletin editor when the position was merged with the Amherst area news editor for the Gazette. He remained editor of the commentary page through 2008.
“Nick has been an important part of our reporting team in Amherst for more than 30 years,” said Gazette Publisher Jim Foudy. “We all appreciate his contribution to our news coverage and wish him all the best in retirement.”
During his career in the Valley, Grabbe covered news in Amherst, Hadley, Leverett and Shutesbury, and wrote larger pieces about religion, the environment and real estate.
W.D. Cowls President Cinda Jones recalled a 2007 article in which Grabbe described her particular style.
Grabbe wrote, “While supporters of land use restrictions were speaking at a Town Hall meeting, a woman wearing jeans was patiently waiting for her turn to speak in opposition. Sitting in the back of the room, with her boots propped on a chair, she was reading a copy of ‘Bitch’ magazine. Her name is Cinda Jones.”
“Today I use Nick’s introduction of me from that article in my unofficial bio on Facebook, and it’s on my office wall,” Jones said. “As unflattering as the characterization may seem to some, I think it’s wicked cool and it captures my personality perfectly.”
Grabbe has an enduring affection for Amherst.
“I like the combination of interesting things to do and the interesting people, while it’s not a city,” Grabbe said. “I decided early in my career that I didn’t want to live in the city. A town like Amherst provides the best of both worlds.”
Grabbe has been married to Betsy Krogh for 33 years and is the father of two sons, Ben, 30, who lives in a supervised group home on Chestnut Court and walks with him to the Jones Library each Saturday, and Alex, 26, the executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District.
He cares for two large vegetable gardens, one at home and the other near Amethyst Brook, scavenges wood to feed the woodstove and makes efforts at a low carbon footprint, often using a bicycle for transportation.
In retirement, Grabbe plans to volunteer at the Amherst Survival Center and take a Shakespeare class.
“I want to read works by Tolstoy, Dickens and Shakespeare, play more chess, tennis and pingpong and learn yoga,” Grabbe said. “I do not plan to become involved in Amherst politics.”