I grew up in the Dorchester and Hyde Park sections of Boston and attended Boston English High School. It was there that I met students of all races and backgrounds from across what was then a tribal city of distinct neighborhoods. I attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and spent much of my junior year traveling through Europe. The experience introduced me to new cultures. Importantly, I learned how to interact with people who did not share my values or background, an important skill when I later became a general assignment reporter.
Following graduation and another year spent working and traveling in Europe, in 1975 I purchased a one-way ticket and left for Japan. I remained there for four years, teaching English and practicing Kendo (Japanese fencing). In 1980 I returned to the States and went to work for a Japanese company in Boston that had interests in restaurants and marinas. After eight years, unsatisfied with my job I wondered what had become of my adventurous spirit, so I moved to Martha’s Vineyard and took a job selling advertising for The Martha’s Vineyard Times. One year later, I asked editor Doug Cabral if I could write a fishing column. A few years down the road Doug invited me to become a general assignment reporter.
I worked for 27 years at The Martha’s Vineyard Times where I was a reporter, later news editor, and from 2014 to October 2016, editor of the award winning weekly newspaper. For 26 years I wrote a popular weekly fishing column and occasional hunting column. Over the years my reporting and columns were honored by the New England Newspaper Association, the New England Outdoor Writers Association and the Outdoor Writers Association of America. I live with my wife Norma in Vineyard Haven. We have a daughter and a son.
Essay: Nelson Sigelman, newspaperman
By Doug Cabral, October 26, 2016, The Martha's Vineyard Times
Nelson Sigelman is an outdoorsman, a sportsman, a hunter, a fisherman. True enough, all of it, but at his core he’s a journalist. Not a journalist in the overused, hollowed-out way the word is often bandied these days, applied to any anchor, tweeter, blogger, gawker, celebrity, or political sycophant who lives and dies on ratings, clicks, and SEO, but one who would claim the job title that was years ago a distinction. Nelson is a journalist, a reporter, born to do the work, the instincts built in, although as a young man he didn’t know it, so he was a late starter.