John DiStaso, Star Reporter of New Hampshire Primaries, Dies at 68

“John and his generation saw it as their duty to uphold and represent that image of New Hampshire to the nation,” Dante Scala, a political scientist at the University of New Hampshire, said in an email. Mr. DiStaso treated all candidates alike, he said, whether they were incumbent presidents or business executives with no political experience.

Either way, Senator Maggie Hassan, Democrat of New Hampshire, said in a statement that she entered into the Congressional Record, “he took seriously his role of bringing political news directly to the voters.”

“Politics,” she said, “wasn’t a game to him.”

John Joseph DiStaso was born on Feb. 18, 1954, in Paterson, N.J., where he grew up. His father, Joseph, was a carpet layer. His mother, Helen (Walton) DiStaso, was a bank teller.

He studied English literature at Villanova University, graduating in 1975. He earned a master’s degree in communications at William Paterson College (now University) in Wayne, N.J., in 1979.

While at Villanova, he met Diane Randazza through her brother. Mr. DiStaso and Ms. Randazza married in 1979.

He began his New Hampshire journalism career as the seacoast-area correspondent for the Union Leader. He became a staff reporter in 1980 and stayed until 2014, when the Union Leader hit rocky financial times. He then stunned the political world by becoming the news editor at New Hampshire Journal, a moribund political website owned by Republican operatives, who hired him to bring credibility to their venture. He left a year later for WMUR.

In addition to his wife, Mr. DiStaso is survived by their sons, Dante and Nicholas, and his sister, Doris DiStaso. He lived in New Boston, N.H.

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