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Briefings: Masslive’s Well-regarded Hire Underscores Its Statewide Strategy…

UPDATED 10:11PM: For spelling & grammar.

State House News Reporter Gintautas Dumcius (via Twitter/@gintautasd)

What gap Masslive had in its Boston and statewide political coverage will not last for long. Today on Twitter, State House News Service Reporter Gintautas Dumcius announced he would be joining the online alter-ego of The Republican newspaper next week, a position left open by Garrett Quinn after he took a gig at Boston magazine.

The hiring of Dumcius, who has a long history of covering city and state politics, not only fills a vacancy, but ensures that Masslive continues to expand its statewide audience. While that strategy has attracted skeptics, some believe it is bearing fruit for the website and its owner, Advance Publications.

“I’ve covered Boston for a decade, pacing the halls of Dorchester District Court, City Hall and the State House,” Dumcius said in an email. “The job at MassLive.com is a great opportunity for me to continue haunting those places and others across Boston.”

Masslive editor-in-chief Ed Kubosiak told WMassP&I in a statement, “I am thrilled to announce the addition of Gin to our reporting team in Boston.” Noting the Quincy native’s political and community reporting, Kubosiak continued, “Gin brings a deep knowledge of the Boston scene following his previous stints at the State House News Service and The Dorchester Reporter.”

Dumcius moved to the SHNS full-time last year after 10 years at The Reporter, a paper based in Boston’s sprawling Dorchester neighborhood. For much of that time he served as The Reporter’s News Editor. He led that paper’s coverage of the 2013 mayoral race, which, incidentally, Dorchester Rep Marty Walsh won. The election became fodder for Dumcius’ e-book on the race.

Masslive’s new hire comes amid some turnover there and at its print counterpart. In addition to Quinn’s exit, Former assistant managing editor Greg Saulmon recently left to become managing editor at The Daily Hampshire Gazette. He was replaced by The Republican’s Robert Rizzuto.

Masslive is based at One Financial Plaza, down the street from The Republican's building at Main & Liberty Streets. (WMassP&I)

Masslive is based at One Financial Plaza, down the street from The Republican’s building at Main & Liberty Streets. (WMassP&I)

While The Republican and Masslive are independent entities, Advance publications owns both and each’s content may appear in the other. Similar to Advance’s other properties in Portland, Ore. and Cleveland, shorter stories and live reporting by print reporters often appear only on Masslive while online reporters’ stories appear in print as needed to maintain coverage.

Advance’s model has drawn scrutiny, especially as the usually unionized print side scales back and the websites grow in an clear shift to digital. In any event, Masslive has been hiring to aggressively expand into Worcester and Boston.

Kubosiak alluded to this in his email saying Dumcius adds to Masslive’s effort in recent years to provide more and stronger political reporting as part of its overall vision of Masslive as a “statewide site.”

The beat Quinn maintained included statewide and deep Boston municipal political reporting. This ran the gamut from following Boston’s Walsh on an economic development trip to Ireland to following the Tsarnaev trial and casino licensing in Eastern Massachusetts. Given his background, Dumcius will likely follow the beat with the same versatility.

“I get to work alongside Shira Schoenberg, one of the best in the business,” Dumcius added, referring to The Republican’s Boston-based political correspondent.

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