Braude shakes it up

Jim Braude shook up the local news business this week by announcing he is jumping from his Broadside TV show at New England Cable News to Greater Boston at WGBH. The move gives WGBH a solid brand name to replace former host Emily Rooney and leaves NECN with a gaping hole to fill.

There is no one else like Braude on the local news scene. He’s a lefty liberal (a former tax advocate and Cambridge city councilor) with a strong point of view, but he’s smart, fair, and not afraid to ask tough questions. Even more important, he’s a broadcast personality who is willing to tackle complex issues and even ventures out of the studio occasionally to check out a news story in person.

Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung, who broke the story, reported that WGBH officials thought Braude was the logical choice to replace Rooney after she announced her retirement last year but didn’t think he could get out of his contract with NECN. Somehow he did, and now takes over at Greater Boston on March 2. Rooney, who will continue to host Beat the Press on Fridays, called Braude’s hiring a “natural transition.”

The move should make Braude’s life a little easier. He already was doing a midday radio show at WGBH with cohost Margery Eagan and then hustling off to NECN’s studios in Newton to do Broadside. Now he can stay put at the WGBH studios in Brighton all day long.

Braude and WGBH officials haven’t commented on how Greater Boston will change with its new host. Braude should benefit from the growing news operation at WGBH and the more deliberate format of Greater Boston: at Broadside, he sometimes seemed to be under pressure to cram more and more into his show rather than focusing on a few key issues or personalities.

For NECN, the Braude departure is problematic. Broadside is one of the most recognizable shows on the cable news channel, and filling Braude’s shoes won’t be easy. But word from folks in the newsroom is that a new show with one or more hosts is in the works.

BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

Looking for a model of state government transparency? Don’t head to Beacon Hill, as Massachusetts sits at the bottom of the barrel on many measures of open government, writes the Globe‘s David Scharfenberg.

Lawmakers ask Attorney General Maura Healey whether former governor Deval Patrick illegally cut regional school transportation funds, the State House News reports.

Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas is dismissive of US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s focus on political corruption, particularly the Probation corruption trial.

The Globe looks at the challenges facing Gov. Charlie Baker’s housing and community development chief, Chrystal Kornegay.

The Senate may study the issue of legalizing marijuana, but in a nod to Groucho Marx, Gov. Charlie Baker declares that whatever they come up with, he’s against it.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera returns on Friday from his third trip to Washington, DC, in a year, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh‘s chief of staff, Daniel Koh, is attending the annual gathering of world movers and shakers at Davos. The top aide to the populist mayor is joining the ultimate gathering of elites, a conference that has been pummelled mercilessly for, among other things, drawing attendees who arrived on 1,700 private jets to a conference where discussion of global warming is high on the agenda.

Salem wants a bigger in-lieu-of-tax payment from the South Essex Sewerage District wastewater treatment plant, but officials at the plant say higher payments would drive up assessments on Salem and the other communities served by the facility, the Salem News reports.

CASINOS

Wynn Resorts gives the Massachusetts Gaming Commission what it wants, a bit of Las Vegas in EverettCommonWealth reports.

New Bedford officials and KG Urban Enterprises, which is vying for the state’s final casino license, have reached an agreement on a feasibility study on siting a casino on the waterfront.

OLYMPICS

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh sent an email to all 18,000 city employees telling them they are free to express their opinions, good or bad, on a Boston Olympics — despite an agreement he signed with the US Olympic Committee that bars any city employee from criticizing the effort.

Criticism is coming loud and clear from parks advocates who call the prospect of Olympic beach volleyball competition on Boston Common “a terrible idea” that will put the Common out of commission for weeks or months and could result in permanent damage to the country’s oldest park.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

A botched attempt by GOP congressional leaders to use their new clout to restrict abortion caused a rift with Republican women in the House, forcing the majority party to pull back a measure that would have banned the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy.  Does this presage a rise of a moderate Republican wing? TheNational Review calls it a “cowardly retreat.”

In the “It’s not just us” department, the speaker of the New York Assembly was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors with taking millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks using his outside law practice to funnel the money.

ELECTIONS

Gov. Charlie Baker lost Boston to Martha Coakley by 30 points, yet his approval rating in the capital city is now at 58 percent, WBUR reports.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Massachusetts adds 10,900 jobs in December, WBUR reports.

A (wait for it) rebounding Converse, once teetering on the brink, now has a considerable bounce in its sneaker step. Naturally, that means the company now wants to be with the cool kids, so it’s shifting its headquarters from the suburbs to a new downtown Boston perch on Lovejoy Wharf.

A New Bedford pizza delivery man who was bullied over a tip when he delivered an order to an auto dealer in a video that went viral was feted by the City Council.

EDUCATION

A generous teacher at UP Academy Dorchester may have run afoul of state ethics laws by accepting gifts from the Ellen DeGeneres show, CommonWealth reports.

Massasoit Community College is planning to open a satellite campus in Marshfield with a focus on marine technology and environmental programs.

Matt Malone, the state’s former secretary of education and one-time Brockton school superintendent who is interested in Boston’s top school job, says he loves his new current profession as a butcher.

HEALTH CARE

Scientists split on the health risks of e-cigarettes, Time reports.

With a month left in open enrollment, the Obama administration is near its goal of signing up 9.1 million people for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

TRANSPORTATION

It’s a record-setting year for guns in carry-ons at the nation’s airports. The most disturbing find among other weapons? A knife wrapped in an enchilada.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A new state report finds that the Cape and the Islands are among of the top spots for coastal erosion.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A judicial inquest will investigate the 2009 death of a mental health patient at Bridgewater State Hospital.

Adrian Walker writes that the US attorney’s office has empaneled a grand jury to consider whether a ham-handed play made by two Boston ministers who have been mainstay of black clergy leadership, Gene Rivers and Bruce Wall, amounted to extortion. Rivers and Wall appeared to try to shakedown Keolis, the French company that ultimately won the contract to run the regional commuter rail system, as they pushed the company on its hiring practices.

It’s proving difficult to find an impartial jury for the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial, Governing reports.

An MBTA police officer was ordered to get treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in a non-secure setting after pulling a gun on her wife, who is also a transit cop. Prosecutors urged that she be confined.

MEDIA

Greater Boston looks back at the crusade to raise children’s television standards by Peggy Charren, the ad-free pioneer advocate who passed away Thursday at the age of 86. The Globe has this look at her life and work.