MaineToday Beefs Up Reporting Staff
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. At least two of them will be officially announced next week, although word has leaked out in the journalistic community. They are:
Steve Mistler, the State House reporter for the Lewiston Sun Journal, is generally acknowledged as the best on the Augusta beat. Mistler has been courted in recent months by other major media outlets in the state, leading to speculation that his days at the Lewiston paper were numbered.
Weeklies get weaker: Bangor-based Hometown Newspapers LLC announced last week that it was ceasing publication of three of its four remaining weeklies. Gone are the Citizen Journal in Bangor, the SV Weekly-Somerset Times in Newport, and the Highlands Journal-Moosehead Times in Greenville. That leaves the company with just one paper, the Penobscot Valley Explorer in Lincoln, which began publication just last month.
Publisher Robert Pushard tried to put a positive spin on the shutdowns. Pushard told the Bangor Daily News that while the economy was a factor in the decision to close, the major reason was that he wanted to focus his efforts on the company’s Web sites. He said those sites would feature local people telling their own stories, rather than hard news gathered by reporters. As of the afternoon of April 4, the websites didn’t appear to be operating.
Pushard said the contraction cost only one job, leaving Hometown with somewhere between seven and nine employees.
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com.