Closed case: The Lewiston Sun Journal scored a scoop on July 23 when it reported that a Superior Court justice had ruled that the state Board of Environmental Protection hadn’t followed the law last year in issuing a permit allowing construction of a casino in Oxford. The story by managing editor Judy Meyer was factually correct and reasonably complete in presenting reaction from pro- and anti-casino factions.
Drunk and disorderly: The July 22 Maine Sunday Telegram and Lewiston Sun Journal took me by surprise. Among the soft features and long-but-less-than-comprehensive articles that have become the mainstay of both Sunday newspapers in recent years were two pieces that reminded me why I still bother to read them.
Nothing but static: On July 19, Arbitron, the broadcast rating company, put out its latest survey of radio stations in the Portland market, reporting results from polling done this past spring.
Selective histories: When a public figure or someone who has attracted public notice dies, the Maine news media tends to treat them as if all their sins had been expunged from the record, no matter how serious those trespasses happened to be.
There were two glaring examples of this sort of incompetent and incomplete coverage in the Portland Press Herald last week.
Pennsylvania-based Sample Media announced on July 13 that it was selling off its building in Brunswick and the Alliance Press printing operation to a partnership formed by one of its executives and the owner of several weekly newspapers.
Numbers lag: On July 11, MaineToday Media – publisher of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal. and Morning Sentinel – released the results of a poll it commissioned on the major races in the fall election. MaineToday is to be commended for paying for its own polling, rather than relying on figures compiled by others. It used a reputable firm, a sizable sample and got results that appear credible. But I still have a problem with one important aspect of this survey.
Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, New Hampshire, announced on July 9 that it had hired former MaineToday Media chief executive officer Richard Connor as its new CEO. The announcement was made by Patricia D. Foster, the newspaper company’s president and publisher. In a story posted online, Foster is quoted as saying, “We feel he is uniquely qualified to lead this company during turbulent times.”
During the Great Recession, Maine daily newspapers’ editorial pages shriveled up like slugs exposed to salt. Opinion editors left and weren’t replaced. Staff-produced editorials became a rarity, with syndicated – and sometimes irrelevant – pieces from major-city dailies taking their place. Local columnists all but vanished, and those who remained often worked for nothing or next to it.
Down East magazine got it wrong.
The parent publication of this Web site, which pays me to critique the Maine media, is guilty of exercising poor judgment. Down East made a mistake in choosing the reporter who wrote the story in the July issue on the controversy surrounding legislation to allow mining on Bald Mountain in Aroostook County.
Donald who? Since hedge-fund manager Donald Sussman became majority owner of MaineToday Media earlier this year, the company’s three daily newspapers – the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel – have been careful to run disclosure statements whenever they mentioned his wife, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.
The disclosures were nowhere to be found in the June 29 editions, both in print and online.