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April 25, 2023

Nonprofit aims to raise $15M to buy Maine's largest newspaper group

A nonprofit formed to buy the Masthead Maine news organization has received $20,000 to date towards its goal of raising $15 million to help preserve Maine’s independent local news outlet. 

“The next coming weeks are critical for us, but we are feeling encouraged,” Bill Nemitz, president of the Maine Journalism Foundation, told Mainebiz.

Nemitz, who is also a retired local news veteran, told Mainebiz Tuesday that the campaign had received 200 donors since the announcement about the nonprofit on Sunday. 

He and his colleagues hope to have enough donors, both big and small, to convince Reade Brower, owner of Masthead Maine, “that we can do this.” 

Brower, who lives in Camden, bought the Press Herald and other news properties from S. Donald Sussman in 2015. 

Nonprofit model

“A nonprofit like ours from day one would only be about the news,” said Nemitz. “Nurturing, supporting journalism and growing it. It wouldn’t just be about the money or the investments making it better.”

Hedge funds and venture capitalists first sell off newspapers’ real estate to gain returns on their investment and Masthead Maine has little or no real estate that could be liquidated, according to Nemitz. So, for potential buyers, that’s a non-factor and foundation members fear that a buyer would cut news production and the newsroom staff. Nemitz said he's seen it happen to many news outlets across the country.

Nonprofits have taken over ownership of some major daily newspapers around the country, including at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and Salt Lake Tribune.


The Maine Journalism Foundation board also includes honorary campaign chair, Maddy Corson, a Portland philanthropist and former chair of Guy Gannett Communications; Emily Barr, former CEO of Graham Media Group; and Bill Burke, former CEO of the Weather Channel Cos. The board is advised by Carlos Barrionuevo, who is director of Public Media Co. and lives on the midcoast. 

Efforts to expand and diversify the board are underway. Nemitz said there is no end date set for the fundraising venture, but it will be a short-term effort. Details can be found at

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