MaineToday Media Fails to Report on Itself
The November 3 Portland Press Herald had a front-page story on a Westbrook company that appears to be in big financial trouble. So, there’s no question the editors at the Portland paper recognize that such financial developments are newsworthy.
Unless, of course, the company in question is the one they work for.
When that happens, they leave the reporting to the competition.
On Nov. 3, the Bangor Daily News had a story by staff writer Judy Harrison revealing that MaineToday Media – the company that owns the Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel – is being sued by a paper company in North Carolina for failing to pay for $124,000 worth of newsprint. Even more disturbing is Harrison’s discovery that “all financial decisions about paying MaineToday’s vendors on past-due amounts are now made by CRG Partners, a firm specializing in restructuring companies.”
In addition, MaineToday is being represented in the court case by a Maryland lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy and debt-restructuring cases.
But the big question here is not how MaineToday could be in such dire financial circumstances that it can’t pay bills for a product it absolutely has to have. The huge unresolved issue is how a responsible news organization could have failed to even mention these matters last week while it was going through the process of letting its CEO “resign” and booting the company president out the door.
Did the powers that be really think nobody would find out?
Did they believe the public would buy the idea that the staff exodus and the overdue payments were unrelated?
Did they consider what having the story break elsewhere would do to their credibility?
Did they realize how much they’ll look like hypocrites the next time they accuse a politician or business leader of not being forthcoming?
The answers to those questions may have more to do with deciding MaineToday’s future than any cash flow problem.
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.