Veteran journalist and Capital Region resident Mike DeMasi takes a deep dive into the area’s history and some of its most compelling stories in his new book, “What They Said: 25 Years of Telling Stories.”
DeMasi’s book, published by The Troy Book Makers, officially hit shelves at a book launch on Dec. 9 at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library.
A resident of Clifton Park, DeMasi’s book relates what he sees as the most significant stories he worked on during his career, including some published in the Post-Star, The Daily Gazette, and his current publication, the Albany Business Review.
“What They Said: 25 Years of Telling Stories,” is a collection of my favorite stories that I’ve written as a reporter," DeMasi said. "Each newspaper gave me permission to republish the stories and photos."
According to DeMasi, the idea for the book came to him about two years ago, and he worked on the project for roughly a year.
The book is comprised of 40 stories and interviews with subjects ranging from dentists to artists to local political figures, including an in-depth interview with Sharon Jordan, well-known political operative and right hand to Brian Stratton, former mayor of the City of Schenectady.
Many of the stories, he said, include updates that describe where the subjects of his stories are now.
DeMasi worked at The Post-Star from 1992 to 1996 and at The Daily Gazette from 1997 to 2005. He has been at the Albany Business Review since 2005.
DeMasi discussed the details of his new book with The Daily Gazette:
Q. How did you start on your path as a reporter and, ultimately, as a book writer?
A. My interest in reporting started at Troy High School, when I took a journalism class and wrote for the school paper. I liked talking to people and writing stories about them. I also wrote for the school paper at Ithaca College and then freelanced for local papers after graduating in 1991. I was fortunate to eventually get a full-time job at The Post-Star in Glens Falls and have been a reporter ever since.
Q. When did the idea for the book come to you? How did that happen?
A. About two years ago I read a book by Dave Blow, a former co-worker at The Post-Star, which was a collection of his favorite stories. I thought I could perhaps do the same but knew it would take a lot of time. I couldn’t have written the book without permission from The Post-Star, The Daily Gazette and the Albany Business Review to republish the stories and photos and really appreciate their help.
Q. Was there a point during the process where you wanted to give up?
A. No, because I was committed to finishing the book. However, it took a little longer than expected and involved considerably more time than I ever imagined. Even though most of the content was previously published, I had to pick the stories, compile them and make some edits. I also re-interviewed a number of people to update what happened to them after the stories were first published. Three of my co-workers at the Business Review — Mike DeSocio, Melissa Mangini and Andrew Roiter — generously gave their personal time to help with the editing, design and marketing of the book. Jeff Wilkin and Jeff Haff at the Gazette tracked down photos for me, and Bob Condon at the Post-Star found old stories and photos.
Q. Was it difficult to pick the stories you selected for the book?
A. Choosing the stories to include was a bit challenging. Some stood out in my mind from years ago. Others were fun to read again but didn’t quite cut it for the book.
Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors, or journalists?
A. As much as possible, write about people, not process.
DeMasi will attend a book signing at The Open Door bookstore from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 16 and from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza. For more information about the book, visit michaeldemasi.com.