Picky, picky: In theory, MaineToday Media’s new “Truth Test” feature is a good idea. It’s supposed to take politicians’ public statements and carefully fact-check them. Used judiciously, this kind of journalism ought to result in a useful service to the voting public.
So far, that’s rarely been the case.
Shortfall on deficit reporting: On June 18, several Maine news operations produced stories on the discovery of $12.5 million in red ink in the state Department of Health and Human Services budget.
Ideologically ignored: In the wake of former CEO Richard Connor’s alleged financial mismanagement, the MaineToday Media newspapers dumped most of their freelance columnists to save money. Now that new majority owner Donald Sussman has injected enough cash into the operation to stave off bankruptcy, the Portland Press Herald, Morning Sentinel, and Kennebec Journal are again attempting to restore some local flavor to their op-ed pages.
It’s June, but there’s definitely a chill in the air. A state government agency is considering a rule that, in effect, would allow it to make decisions as to what constitutes a real news organization.
Tongue tied: On June 3, Meghan Torjussen was anchoring the late news on WMTW-TV in Portland and attempted to give the results of the NBA playoff game between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. Torjussen announced the contest had “just ended. It ended in a tie.”
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.
Self-delusion: The May 26 Bangor Daily News carried an op-ed headlined “Maine newspapers remains strong” that was jointly authored by public relations executive Michael Cuzzi and Lewiston Sun Journal director of new media Tony Ronzio.
It contains this remarkable paragraph:
Rich’s reward unrefunded: The owners of the Times Leader newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit on May 24 against former publisher and CEO Richard Connor claiming he had failed to repay $250,123 in loans.
Augusta exit: There aren’t a lot of experienced reporters covering Maine state government these days. There aren’t even a lot of inexperienced reporters. The media offices at the Capitol complex have plenty of empty desks and funny echoes.
And they’re about to get more so.