MaineToday Drops Pingree Disclaimer
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.
Which is unfortunate, because Pingree was prominently mentioned in staff writer John Richardson’s comprehensive front-page piece on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s health care ruling will affect Maine.
Pingree got to repeat much of what she told Richardson in staff writer Kevin Miller’s sidebar on reaction from the congressional delegation, again, with no disclaimer.
And there was no mention of the Sussman connection in Miller’s short piece on how Maine’s representatives dealt with the motion to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, even though Miller noted that Pingree was one of the Democrats who walked out on the proceeding.
I can’t tell if this lack of disclosure was simply an oversight – actually, three oversights in a single day – or a new policy. If it’s the former, it’s sloppy work by the reporters involved and their editors. If it’s the latter, it’s inexcusable and bodes ill for the prospect of unbiased coverage during the upcoming election season.
Back on the bird: WABI-TV in Bangor has settled its dispute with DirecTV, according to the Bangor Daily News. The station pulled its two channels, which carry CBS and CW programming, off the satellite service earlier this month in a dispute over fees. In competing news releases, the two sides blamed each other for the interruption. Neither company would release details of the new agreement or reveal how long it will run.
Back in Bangor: The Hometown Newspaper chain may be gone, but its publisher, Bob Pushard, is still very much in the news business. Pushard closed down three of his four weeklies in April, saying he wanted to restructure to concentrate more on online operations. That left him with only the Penobscot Valley Explorer, a free weekly that covers the Lincoln area. Now, Pushard says he’s almost ready to return to one of the markets he abandoned earlier this year.
In August, he plans to launch the Bangor Explorer, also a free weekly. A Web site is already up and the first print version is expected to hit the streets on the first or second Thursday in August.
Pushard said that initially, the paper will concentrate on covering the suburbs of Brewer and Hampden, while expanding slowly into other towns and the central city. He said the paper will be available on apps for mobile phones and other devices, with news updates posted several times a week.
“We’re working to be a news organization,” he said, “not just a newspaper.”
Irregular usage: From a front-page story by BJ Bangs on the robbery of a local convenience store in the June 27 issue of the Original Irregular, a weekly newspaper published in Kingfield:
“Armed robberies are not rare, but not unheard of in the area.”
They’re sort of uncommonly common.
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.