September 27, 2023 – Former Boston Globe investigative reporter Andrea Estes has joined the staff of the Plymouth Independent, a major move that is in keeping with the startup nonprofit news site’s mission to bring accountability reporting back to the growing town, which has been lacking robust coverage for years.
During her more than two decades at the Globe, Estes – a Plymouth resident – amassed an impressive body of work that uncovered corruption, abuse, and other wrongdoing in Boston and across Massachusetts. She earned a reputation as a tenacious and fearless journalist whose reporting led to criminal prosecution, firings, and policy reforms. Her many high-impact stories included:
- Exposing a kickback scheme run by then Massachusetts Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi, who steered a multimillion-dollar state contract to a company in exchange for bribes they paid through an intermediary. He was prosecuted, convicted, and served time in federal prison.
- Coverage of then-state senator Brian Joyce, who lavished colleagues with gifts, including gold-plated sunglasses, violating basic ethics rules. Estes’ reporting uncovered alleged requests for bribes, and other abuse of the public trust. Joyce was indicted on more than 100 federal corruption charges. He died before trial.
- The discovery of a flaw in a Massachusetts lottery game called Cash WinFall that allowed groups of clever bettors to win huge jackpots. The story was picked up around the country and became the subject of a movie, “Gerry & Marge Go Large.”
- A report on how then-Gov. Charlie Baker and his aides improperly blamed subordinates for management at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where dozens of veterans died needlessly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Reporting revealing that the then director of the Chelsea Housing Authority, responsible for overseeing public housing in one of the poorest areas in the state, was collecting $360,000 a year and lying to regulators about it. He pleaded guilty to federal charges and went to prison.
At the Independent, Estes will use those same skills to dig into local issues that for too long have been out of the public view.
“Andrea’s talent for rooting out important news is unparalleled,” said Plymouth Independent editor Mark Pothier. “There’s a well-worn saying about sunlight being the best disinfectant, but it holds true. And I’m confident she’ll bring a lot of sunshine to town. Having her on staff sends a strong message about the kind of serious journalism we plan to do.”
Pothier, who recently left the Globe after more than 22 years as an editor and writer, started his career there alongside Estes when they both were hired in 2001 to launch Globe South, a specially tailored section of the paper that included coverage of Plymouth. Now they’re reunited and focused on their hometown at a critical stage in its history.
The Plymouth Independent is in its planning stages, gearing up for an online launch later this year.