Kate Bramson, the industrious and wide-ranging business and economic-development reporter for The Providence Journal, is leaving the newspaper.
Bramson is becoming policy director for the Rhode Island Senate.
"Through her in-depth research and critical analysis, she has gained a deep knowledge of Rhode Island’s economy, economic and workforce development efforts," according to a Senate statement. "She has a thorough understanding of the state’s business and education communities, as well as local and state government."
Bramson was chosen from a field of 40 applicants. “Although many highly qualified individuals applied – and we are grateful to all of them – Kate was exceptional," Senate President Dominick Ruggerio said. "My team and I were remarkably impressed with her deep knowledge on a wide range of issues. I have been interviewed by Kate in the past, and I always respected her thorough knowledge of the topic she was covering. My admiration grew through the interview process for this position. She is exceptionally well-versed in many areas, and particularly economic development. Kate offered the kind of analysis and insights that will serve the Senate well as we work to make our state a better place to live and work. She will be joining an outstanding staff in our Senate Policy Office.”
Bramson is set to start on February 5, taking over the role formerly held by Marie L. Ganim. Ganim left the Senate in July to become the state’s health insurance commissioner.
Bramson's exit was announced to the Journal newsroom on Thursday. Her exit marks a sharp loss for Rhode Island's leading daily newspaper, following a series of layoffs, buy outs and other departures over a number of years, reflecting broader changes in the newspaper industry.
ProJo Executive Editor Alan Rosenberg said Bramson's departure will not reduce the number of reporters on the Journal's staff, since Paul Edward Parker, who has worked in recent months as a producer-editor, will take on Bramson's beat.
"His return to reporting means that we are maintaining our reporting staff at its current level," Rosenberg said.
Bramson has carved a profile as the state's top economic-development reporter, churning out a prolific stream of stories about big projects and debates about development (including the proposed PawSox' stadium in Pawtucket) and the stories of individual entrepreneurs and their companies.
"This week has been a whirlwind, but I am excited about embarking on my next endeavor," she said. "Leaving The Providence Journal was a very difficult decision. I love this work and believe in journalism with all my heart. I’ve been very privileged to have worked at The Providence Journal these past 15 years. I’m grateful to all the people who have trusted me to tell their stories. I will miss digging into the biggest issues of the day, holding government officials accountable for their actions and explaining to readers what’s happening in Rhode Island."
Bramson added, "Journalism remains as crucial as it ever has been, and I will continue to be a loyal subscriber to The Providence Journal."
In typical fashion, Bramson was working on two stories when RIPR initially contacted her Thursday evening.
Her last day on the job is believed to be Friday.
Bramson's former supervisor, John Kostrzewa, the ProJo's managing editor for business, was among those taking a buy out last year.
Bramson joined the ProJo in 2002, after having worked for the Duluth News-Tribune, Budapest Week, and Brown University's news service. She's a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
Parker, slated to succeed Bramson on the business beat, was once a member of the Journal's bygone four-person investigative team.
A stream of staff reductions began when the ProJo was owned by Dallas-based A.H. Belo and have continued since the newspaper was acquired in 2014 by GateHouse Media, which has a reputation for shrinking newsroom resources.
This post has been updated.