Updated: Mal Leary’s Back – and Other Changes
Capital news from Capitol News: Capitol News Service’s Mal Leary returned to action with a June 4 piece on taxing Internet sales. Leary has been absent from his State House beat for several weeks, after kidney stones, an infection, pneumonia and a mild heart attack hit him in succession. He also missed both the Republican and Democratic parties’ state conventions for the first time in more than thirty years.
(In the original version of this post, I incorrectly reported that Leary’s stories did not appear in MaineToday Media newspapers. In fact, for the past year, they have been showing up in the MTM-owned Kennebec Journal.)
Waterville bound: Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling is on the move again. The George Polk award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist will be joining the staff of the Morning Sentinel in Waterville next week.
Hongoltz-Hetling first attracted notice at the weekly Advertiser-Democrat in Norway, where he co-authored a series of investigative pieces on inspections of subsidized housing that failed to deal with serious problems. He made a lateral move to the Forecaster weekly papers – like the Advertiser-Democrat, owned by the Sun Media Group – in late March, because, he said, “I wanted to get to a larger market.” Now, he said, he’s making another change to add to his resume.
“I always figured at some point, I’d have to go from the world of weeklies to the world of dailies,” Hongoltz-Hetling said. “This seemed like a good opportunity to do it.”
He said his new job would involve covering stories in Waterville, but he’s not sure exactly what his beat will be.
Crash into the Sun: The Portland Daily Sun, the free five-days-a-week paper, last week announced that Crash Barry – the iconoclastic columnist, blogger and book author – would begin writing a weekly column on June 30.
In an email, Barry promised his pieces would be “No holds barred,” although he’ll have to forego his customary use of expletives. For that, his fans will have to turn to the monthly Bollard, where he’ll continue to write a column and do longer investigative pieces.
Digital departure: MaineToday Digital, the marketing and public relations company started by former MaineToday Media chief executive officer Richard Connor, appears to be in upheaval. Stephen Galligan, MTD’s president and the chief revenue officer at MTM, has apparently left both companies. His profile no longer shows up on MTD’s website, and two phone messages left for him there were not returned.
In addition, several Digital employees who were supposed to provide content for the company website have been shifted back to MTM’s employ in recent weeks.
Still not enough truth: As noted here last week, the MaineToday Media newspapers are running an interesting and useful feature called “Truth Test” that examines candidates’ political claims. The second edition ran on June 2 and had the same obvious weakness as the first:
No byline in the version that appeared in the Portland Press Herald. The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel credited the work to Michael Shepherd.
There’s no good reason – and certainly, no ethical one – for keeping these pieces anonymous. Doing so calls into question the newspaper’s agenda, which is something MTM can ill afford to do, given owner Donald Sussman’s many political connections.
As of June 7, this problem seems to have been corrected. The third “Truth Test” piece carried Shepherd’s byline in all the MTM papers.
(This item has been corrected and updated to note that the KJ and Sentinel versions of “Truth Test” carried bylines.)
Bird is not the word: WABI-TV in Bangor and DirecTV have so far been unable to reach an agreement on a new contract for the satellite provider to carry Channel 5’s programming. If nothing changes, most DirecTV subscribers will lose both CBS and CW network shows on June 5, according to a release from the TV station.
Update: The Bangor Daily News has the latest on the dispute here.
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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