Jim Kinsella should be remembered.

I write that as I look for the Cape Cod Review online tonight. It’s a day after my friend died, and his final project seems to have evaporated into the digital ether. It’s too bad because it may just have been the project closest of any to his heart in his 40-plus years in journalism.

You never know the effects people you meet in college are going to have on you in your life. Kinsella (and I’ve always referred to him by his last name) had as big an impact as anyone on me that spring in 1978 when I met him. He was the music director at WSBU-FM at St. Bonaventure and I was just going on air that spring on the little then 10-watt station.

We bonded over the music. I found out later that when the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks album came into the station, he was the one who wrote all over it with “This sucks!” “This album is great!” and all kind of conflicting comments. The next fall he created a dorm room trio called the Bonaventure Blues Ensemble that played almost coherent songs on my Saturday night/Sunday morning radio show during a segment called “The 12:14 Report” because it came on sometime around then. When they played the Rathskeller, I convinced them to have me sing Carl Perkins’ Boppin’ the Blues with them, one of my few times singing with a band on stage — ever. I went to shows that fall with him that included Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the Grateful Dead.

With all of the self-importance of college students, we labeled ourselves The Fringe, short for The Lunatic Fringe. Kinsella, meanwhile, put together his own alternative newspaper, Some News, with a group of like-minded souls for one issue at St. Bonaventure that fall.

Kinsella was an early fan of Bruce Springsteen, catching him in Buffalo a couple of years before. So when Springsteen came to Bona that fall, he was in line early for some of the best tickets (and had too much character to let me cut in and join him in line). And after that, what was there left to do? He graduated early that December and went into the newspaper biz.

He went to work in Plattsburgh for a while, and I resurrected Some News during my last semester at Bona in 1981. His original was better, to be honest.

We saw each other every few years after that, but always stayed in touch by phone and Christmas cards. He came to Sandi’s and my wedding, and we visited him in Plattsburgh and then Massachusetts, when he joined the Cape Cod Times. Like Sandi and me, he was a New York Mets fan with a soft spot for the Boston Red Sox (him through proximity, us through our daughter in Boston).

Kinsella was the prototype of a newspaperman. A friend described how he could stare a deadline in the face and knock out a story. Three hours to do an impossible job? Yeah, that’s what we do.

But he also had an eye for quality. I remember reading parts of The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam at his apartment, alongside a history of the American alternative press. The characters like Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill were among his heroes, but he also had an appreciation of the artists and craftsmen such as Roger “Boys of Summer” Angell. When I started teaching a class on sports journalism, he provided me with a list of suggestions for stories for my students to read, like Kenny Moore’s stories about running, an interest we shared.

Life took me back to the Buffalo area, to copy editing, to reporting and eventually to teaching. The waves of the newspaper industry took him to the Vineyard Gazette, a traditional paper dating to 1846. He became a bit of a celebrity on local cable access TV as the guy who was always asking the pointed questions at the end of town meetings — because that’s when the officials were available to answer them.

Eventually he worked for the Bourne Enterprise and Capenews.net, as well. While his dreams may have started with the New York Times or Daily News, he fell in love with Cape Cod and embraced the role of small-town journalist, getting to know everybody and everything on the Cape.

Over the past year, though, he finally had the opportunity to do his own thing again. He created an online journal, The Cape Cod Review, with the goal of encouraging an approach like The New Yorker’s, with stories from the Cape, but also stories from anywhere — a writers at-large kind of approach. The idea was to charge for it, but also to pay writers (what an amazing concept).

It was an idea we’d been talking about for years. When I last went to the Cape around six years ago, we brainstormed over lobster (which he tried to show me and my daughter how to eat properly; it didn’t take). I loved the idea, but had my doubts about whether it could be done.

But last year Kinsella did it. And then life, and health, got in the way. After a promising start with some excellent work, it is gone.

And so is Kinsella, not unlike so much of the newspaper business that he loved. I’d love to see somebody salvage Kinsella’s Cape Cod Review and archive the pieces.

But if you look, you can still find some of his other work. Another project Kinsella was working on was a book about his relationship with individual songs from some of the classic albums of the rock/pop canon. He sent me a couple of chapters to run in the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation JAM online journal — one on Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness, and the other on Springsteen’s Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), a song celebrating life as much as any in rock music.

When I went outside to drive to Fredonia this morning, I clicked on Sirius/XM on the radio and hit the E Street Band channel. Rosalita was playing. That one, I thought, is for you, brother.

Jim Kinsella worked as a reporter/senior writer for the Gazette from 2004 to 2008. He died on March 19 at the Cape Cod Hospital.

Elmer Ploetz is an associate professor of journalism at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He spent 27 years in newspapers with the Peekskill Star and Buffalo News. Reprinted with permission from his blog newsandetc.com.