by Edward Shanahan
Valley Advocate editor Dan Caccavaro last week wound up a six-year
stint with the alternative weekly here to head up a start-up of
a new five-day a week newspaper in the Boston area.
In discussions that proceeded at lightning speed, Caccavaro agreed
almost overnight to become editor of the Boston Metro, which will
begin publication early in May.
"It happened really quickly, a matter of two weeks, " said Caccavaro,
34, during a telephone interview after only two days on the new
"I wasn't looking for a job, I was very happy at the Advocate."
he said. "But it was too crazy an opportunity to turn down - founding
editor of a new daily paper in Boston."
Meanwhile, Tom Vannah, managing editor and columnist during Caccavaro's
tenure at the Advocate, has assumed the title of acting editor,
although it is not yet clear whether the job will be his on a permanent
"I definitely have tossed my hat into the ring," Vannah, 40, said,
where he was settling back into work after being on a three-week
leave during the birth of his first child, Charlotte.
Both Caccavaro and Vannah came to the Advocate more or less simultaneously
in 1995 from the Tab Newspapers, a string of successful weeklies
covering such in-town Boston suburbs as Newton and Cambridge.
It was the former publisher of the Tab Newspapers, Russell Pergament,
now the publisher of the Boston Metro, who made the call to Caccavaro
two weeks ago offering him the editor's job of the new venture.
According to Caccavaro, the Boston Metro will be part of a growing
string of international urban weeklies that are backed by a Swedish
publishing company. There are some 18 such papers in several countries,
including Philadelphia, Toronto and Montreal in North America, aimed
primarily at attracting morning commuters, especially those who
The Boston Metro will have a tabloid newspaper format, be circulated
through vending machines and by street hawkers, and will be free.
The initial circulation, he said, will be in the range of 150,000
As with most papers in the Metro International model, the Boston
paper will be pitched to the 18-to-35 year-old market with strong
local sports, national and international news summaries, local columnists
and vigorous local reporting. "It will sort of be like watching
CNN on paper," explained Caccavaro.
"It's really hard to leave this area," he said. "I have loved my
time at the Advocate; I have very, very close friends there. The
Advocate has been a huge part of my life for six years." As for
his legacy at the Advocate, Caccavaro cites Vannah's ongoing coverage
of scandals in the Holyoke Police Department. "I'm really proud
Also he mentioned Maureen Turner's coverage of issues in Springfield,
especially the failed attempt by city officials to build a stadium
for a minor league baseball team.
He acknowledges that the Advocate's coverage of this part of the
valley was perhaps less aggressive than it was in Holyoke and Springfield.
"We constantly talked about this, " he said. "Were we going easy
on the upper valley? It wasn't our intention."
As he scrambles to hire staff and prepare for the launch of Boston
Metro, he said: "I'm looking at it as an adventure. But I see myself
ending up out here. I've really fallen in love with this place."