Donnybrook: There are plenty of people who own news outlets who have strong political prejudices. The Warren family used to go to outrageous lengths to promote Republicans and bash Democrats in the pages of the Bangor Daily News. Those practices didn’t cease until well into the 1990s. The Gannett family was solidly GOP and made sure their newspapers – the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel – reflected their political tastes.
Space shot: I don’t believe Maine attracts any tourists from outer space traveling in flying saucers. I think most people who spot strange lights in the sky over this state aren’t necessarily lying, stoned, or crazy. They’re just mistaken. They’re seeing ordinary phenomena from unfamiliar angles or under unusual circumstances and incorrectly interpreting the information.
A buck in Bangor: The Bangor Daily News found space in its pages in recent days for stories on the escalating cost of oil and gasoline. But apparently it didn’t have room for any mention of the thirty-three percent increase in its own cover price.
The unannounced hike to a dollar leaves the Lewiston Sun Journal as the only morning paper in the state still charging seventy-five cents.
The other shoe drops: Almost overlooked in the announcement on Feb. 17 that Portland Press Herald managing editor Cliff Schechtman has been promoted to executive editor of the MaineToday Media newspapers was the news that one of the last remaining vestiges of the era of deposed CEO Richard Connor has been removed.
Don’s early light not bright enough: There are certainly a host of ethical issues surrounding the Feb. 10 announcement that hedge-fund manager S. Donald Sussman, through a limited liability corporation formed on Feb. 2, is buying a portion of Maine’s largest daily newspaper company.
Early wedding gift: Last week’s announcement by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins that’s she’s engaged to be married was handled by the Maine media with the same timidity that’s been the hallmark of coverage of the state’s congressional delegation dating back several decades.
Doesn’t hold water: On Feb. 3, the Portland Press Herald ran an interesting story by staff writer Tom Bell on how the Shipyard Brewery in Portland had somehow been undercharged for sewer usage for years, an errors that had cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. Nobody seemed to know how this mistake, which occurred in 1996 when a second water line was installed, had happened.
Another contender: The New Maine Times website is reporting that Robert C.S. Monks and Michael Payson may be trying to buy MaineToday Media, publisher of three daily newspapers in the state. Monks is currently a MaineToday board member and minor investor in the company.
Fact-checking the fact-checker: When Republican Gov. Paul LePage opens his mouth, he’s demonstrated a tendency to cite statistics that aren’t always accurate. So, it made good sense for some enterprising journalist to closely examine the figures in LePage’s Jan. 24 State of the State address to see how they measured up to reality. In a story published Jan.
New Arbitron radio ratings for Maine’s three markets were released this week, although only the Augusta-Waterville survey was made public. The Portland and Bangor numbers are available only to clients of the rating company, but Lou Morin, director of marketing and public relations for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, made them available to me.