WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) honored John DiStaso’s journalism career and impact on New Hampshire in a statement to the official Congressional Record.
Read Senator Hassan’s full statement that she submitted to the Congressional Record here or below:
Mr. President, I rise today to join Granite Staters in mourning the loss of John DiStaso, whose tenacious, in-depth, and effective political reporting reflected – and was a tribute to – New Hampshire’s independent, skeptical, and engaged political culture.
John got his start in our state as a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader. Beginning as a staff reporter in 1980, John rose to spend many years as the Senior Political Reporter at the Union Leader, becoming an expert on the most pressing issues facing New Hampshire and the political campaigns that help define the Granite State and the nation. Ending his tenure at the Union Leader in 2014, John later took his talents to WMUR, where he helped lead the station’s political coverage.
For any of us who were the subject of his reporting, it was always clear that John loved what he did and deeply believed in the importance of journalism to our democracy. He asked tough questions, he chased scoops, and he brought a Granite State lens to everything he wrote. Politics wasn’t a game to him, and he took seriously his role of bringing political news directly to the voters.
John is perhaps best known for setting the standard for First in the Nation primary coverage – chronicling our primary for decades. First and foremost, Granite Staters turned to him to get everything that they needed to know as they grilled candidates at town halls, and made their choices at the ballot box. And John was surely on speed dial for countless national political reporters who relied on him for his insights and analysis on our unique and historic primary. Because no one knew the First in the Nation primary better than John.
Day in and day out, John tirelessly reported the news, ensuring that Granite Staters always knew the latest, not only on elections but also on critical issues facing our state, like the substance misuse epidemic. No story was too big or too small for John. Throughout his 40-year career in the Granite State, he interviewed four sitting presidents, as well as countless New Hampshire elected officials and national leaders.
The impact of this coverage extended far beyond the page or the screen. Granite Staters are some of the most informed and engaged voters in the country, and that is in no small part due to John’s deep commitment to sharing New Hampshire political news directly with the people. His passion for reporting helped fuel the Granite State practice of deeply engaged citizen participation in democracy.
John’s love of journalism, his understanding of its importance to nurturing and protecting our democracy, and his commitment to getting it right reflect the very best of New Hampshire (even if he was a Yankees fan). He will be missed.