Scott Wasser has been named by MaineToday Media publisher Richard Connor as the new executive editor of the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, according to sources at the Press Herald. Wasser was introduced to staff at the Portland paper yesterday and today.
Wasser had been the managing editor and vice president for news of Connor’s Pennsylvania daily, the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre.
Incompatible signs: It didn’t take long for things to get weird at MaineToday Media.
In a June 21 front-page column in the Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, Richard Connor, the papers’ new editor and publisher, felt compelled to inform his readers that among the many factors that resulted in his purchase of the former Blethen Maine Newspapers was astrology.
Connor’s conundrum: For Richard Connor, the new chief executive officer of MaineToday Media Inc., to fulfill all the promises he’s made in the past few days, here’s what he’ll have to do: Serve as editor and publisher of the former Blethen Maine Newspapers (the Portland Press Herald, the Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel), jobs that used to be divided among four different people he’s already dismissed.
After-hours aftermath: When the Maine Legislature ended its 2009 session shortly after 2 a.m. on June 13, most of the state’s media were nowhere to be seen. Even though legislators were still debating such important issues as highway funding and a bond package into the wee hours, reporters for a majority of the state’s dailies and broadcast outlets had already packed it in. Across most of Maine, that morning’s papers would carry nothing on the adjournment and – even more puzzling – they’d post nothing on their Web sites.
The deal is about done: Several sources indicate the sale of the Blethen Maine Newspapers to Pennsylvania publisher Richard Connor and his partners will close early next week. Once that happens, Connor plans to move quickly to sell the prime real estate occupied by the Portland Press Herald on Congress Street and the company’s old printing plant and parking lot across the street.
Unreleased: As I’ve mentioned before, some Maine media outlets aren’t particularly careful when it comes to publishing press releases. They just slap handouts online, in print or on the air, verbatim or with minimal rewriting – and with nothing to warn readers, viewers or listeners that what they’re being fed as news is, in fact, a version of the story created by one of its participants.
Staff at the Blethen Maine Newspapers got the word this afternoon. Much of the senior editorial team at the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel is not being retained by the new owners.
Self-destruction: As Maine prepares to bid goodbye to the Blethen Maine Newspapers, it’s worth noting that the financial disaster that befell the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel – thereby forcing the sale of the papers, likely to a partnership headed by Pennsylvania publisher Richard Connor – wasn’t inevitable.
Drew gets through: There’s been a change at the top at the Journal Tribune in Biddeford. Editor Drew McMullin resigned on May 22, making the announcement public in an editorial in the afternoon daily.
According to spokesman Dennis Bailey, Pennsylvania newspaper publisher Richard Connor and his partners now expect to complete their purchase of the Blethen Maine Newspapers by May 30 or soon after. Bailey called that date “an estimate,” saying minor issues could still delay the deal.
“There are daily hitches,” he said. “They come and go.”