Expensive bowlful: In the April 19 Bangor Daily News, former Village Soup reporter Stephen Betts has a revealing story about the upcoming auction of the remaining assets of what was once Richard Anderson’s mini-media empire.
Girls just want to have facts: Steve Peoples is the new Associated Press reporter in Maine, so maybe he should be given a little leeway. But not anywhere near this much.
Peoples’ April 17 story on independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King’s alleged problem attracting women voters was riddled with assumptions based on guesses and inexcusable omissions of fact.
Dialing for dollars: The media consulting and research firm BIA Kelsey has released the first edition of its quarterly survey on radio revenues. For over-the-air stations, the report says revenues were essentially flat nationally in 2011, with what little growth there was – just .4 percent over 2010 – coming from online ad sales, which jumped more than 15 percent.
It’s not that the front page of the April 11 Lewiston Sun Journal had no local news on it. It has a story about a guy arrested for jury tampering. But it came from the Bangor Daily News. And there was an article on plans to investigate operations at the state Department of Health and Human Services. Also from the Bangor paper. In addition, there were two national pieces, courtesy of the Associated Press.
The art of disclosure: S. Donald Sussman, the wealthy hedge-fund manager who owns seventy-five percent of MaineToday Media, is more than a political force. While the MaineToday papers have done a good job of disclosing Sussman’s involvement in stories concerning his wife, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, they've been less thorough in other areas where his influence is felt.
More feet on the street: After nearly two years of shedding staff, including many veteran reporters, MaineToday Media – publisher of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel – will soon announce that it’s adding some significant local journalists to its staff. According to a reliable source in the industry and a source at MaineToday, the company plans to hire six new reporters in the next few weeks.
Oil and wood don’t mix – or do they? Did the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting unfairly smear Democratic state Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake by reporting on March 22 that he owed as much as $250,000 to a company owned by Canada’s powerful Irving family, while Martin was also sponsoring a controversial bill for another Irving business?
Maybe. But probably not.
Transparency deficit: If MaineToday Media is serious about disclosing conflicts of interest and other ethical problems that will undoubtedly arise as a result of its new ownership, it failed miserably in its first test.
Meaty reporting: The Hannaford chain of supermarkets is a major employer in Maine. The company wields considerable clout in both the business world and in politics. And Hannaford is a big advertiser in the state’s media – a factor it has not, on occasion, been shy about employing to guard against unfavorable coverage.
Competition for Village Soup readers: Reade Browers, publisher of the Free Press in Rockland, has confirmed to Mainebiz that he’s planning to revive three of the former Village Soup weekly newspapers in the midcoast.