Somewhere in the middle of editing Doug Rooks' fine cover piece on the changing landscape of Maine's daily newspapers, "Read all about it," I realized I had better provide a disclosure. But where to begin?
Both Doug and I have been involved in Maine newspapers for a long time. I bring the added complication of being married to a "recovering" journalist (his term) who has worked for a number of Maine publications. Some of the people interviewed in the story have been my co-workers, others competitors.
So to avoid a snarky mention in critic Al Diamon's Media Mutt column, let me take a stab at an appropriate disclosure: Doug was the editorial page editor of the Kennebec Journal, editor of the Maine Times, and since 2001, has run his own freelance writing business that includes policy columns carried in the Sun Journal and The Times Record.
I was a reporter and editor at the Sun Journal for 22 years, and for a period of that time, involved in story collaborations with the Bangor Daily News. My husband, Ken Chutchian, was a reporter for the Sun Journal, The Times Record, and was the State House reporter for the KJ in the late '80s. He also was on staff at the Maine Times, wrote for Casco Bay Weekly and was a regular stringer for the Boston Globe. (Please forgive me for not listing the multiple parties, weddings, baby showers, housewarmings and other social events that we've attended with our peers over the years.)
Maine's journalism community is pretty small, and at some point, you rub elbows with everyone. The complications continue. Not long after I edited Doug's piece — and saw the mention about the Portland Press Herald's intent to hire four new reporters — Randy Billings, our senior writer, gave his notice to take one of those openings. We wish him well. And sadly, we also lost our Editorial Assistant Travis Bernier (that nice guy you talk to when you have a question about a calendar listing or business brief.) He's accepted a position at WGME. Sigh.
Gratefully, the nice weather has returned to Maine to help us lure new staff. It also boosts the state's tourism industry, the focus of this issue.
Check out Randy's cover story on the increasing number of Canadians who cross the border to shop, in "Going Loonie." We were tipped off to the phenomenon at our On The Road Bangor reader roundtable, so thank you to the folks who offered story ideas while we were there.
Staff Writer Matt Dodge offers a nice roundup of new education and training offerings for the hospitality industry in "Heeding the call," on page 21, and Online Editor Mindy Woerter gives us a glimpse at the growing interest in experiential vacations on Maine farms and a recent boost they got from lawmakers, in "Back to the land," starting on page 22. Also, Gerard Kiladjian, general manager of the Portland Harbor Hotel, shares some advice on managing cyber critics, in "Online hotel reviews," on page 24.
So now that you've checked in, check out the rest of the issue.