A very good day for Maine journalism

The many journalists, student  journalists, supporters of journalism  and even members of the public who attended the 2019 MPA conference last Saturday in South Portland were part of something very special.

It was a day — as all MPA annual conferences are — to celebrate the best journalism of the year and its many creators. That right there’s enough reason to host the annual event.

But there was much more this year.      Fellow journalists, family and friends surround Marian McCue, center, after
being inducted into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame last Saturday.    — There were the behind-the-scenes insights on how the New York Times does its investigations by none other than Colby College grad and former Morning Sentinel newbie Rebecca Corbett, who now leads the investigative teams at the NYT and who steered the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation exposing Harvey Weinstein. And who reminded everyone in attendance how much our work matters.

— There was the poignant, inspiring induction of three veteran journalists into the MPA Hall of Fame:
* Chris Cousins, who inspired with his energy, passion and humanity, and who died far too young.
* Stephen Fay, who inspired with his high standards, natural writing talent, wit and leadership at the Ellsworth American.
* Marian McCue, who inspired a generation of journalists with, among many things, the transformation of the Forecaster into a professional, competitive, reliable, profitable news source.
And it was the record-breaking number of people who attended that luncheon to be part of the induction and to hear Journalist of the Year J.W. Oliver speak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

— There was the youthful vibe. Thanks to students from the University of Maine, the University of Southern Maine and Bowdoin College, like those at left, more energy, more questions during sessions and more young faces filled the conference. And three of those students, Olivia Shipsey, Alyson Peabody and Emily Cohen, hosted a session on college journalism that made it clear the future of journalism — in whatever form it takes — will be in good hands.

And even the “traditional” conference offerings had more.

— Did you attend the morning MPA Board meeting, which kicks off every conference? Of course you didn’t. No one does! But the board — with three new members — is one of the youngest, most dynamic in years, promising even more good things for MPA members in the future.

— Then there was the BDN’s Jennifer Holmes, the outgoing MPA president, talking up all the efforts undertaken throughout the year by the board — as well as Mitchell Tardy Jackson and supportive lawmakers at the State House — to protect Maine newspapers, to support the work of Maine journalists, and to ward off efforts that would have made it harder to know what our government is doing. (For more on the MPA’s work, see the post below.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 There were the sessions and workshops: Everything from a reporters bootcamp on open records and dealing with a demanding public, to tips for designers, and the latest on building revenue through reader engagement and enhanced sales techniques.

 And there was J.W. Oliver getting personal for a few minutes. The incoming MPA president and 2018 Journalist of the Year who leads the Lincoln County News team talked about the inspiration he has felt over the years thanks to the Maine Press Association and fellow Maine journalists. Which provided its own inspiration for luncheon-goers.

— And there were the awards, honoring the best Maine writing, photography, design and advertising in Maine journalism over the last year, as well as the most outstanding journalists and  Sun Journal Managing Editor Marla Hoffman advertising sales professionals. The 2019 Better Newspaper talks about design at a morning session.    Contest Awards results are available for viewing on the MPA                                                                              website: http://mainepressassociation.org/mpa-contest/2019-contest-winners/

Everyone who attended the conference likely had their own highlight. There were plenty of positive take-aways for those who went. Those who didn’t can be part of it all next year — the MPA board is already thinking about how to make the 2020 conference in Bar Harbor just as special.

NYT Investigations Editor Rebecca Corbett, practical workshops, Hall of Fame awards highlight conference

Here comes the 2019 MPA annual fall conference offering a day full of information, recognition and networking.

 Rebecca Corbett

One of the highlights of Saturday, Oct. 19, will be a keynote conversation with Rebecca Corbett, Investigations Editor at the New York Times. Rebecca led the Times Pulitizer Prize-winning coverage on Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment. Rebecca will be interviewed by Amy Calder, Morning Sentinel reporter.

The conference at the South Portland DoubleTree by Hilton will also offer a day full of workshops for almost everyone involved in newspaper operations, as well as the induction of three journalists into the MPA Hall of Fame, the annual auction and the evening dinner and awards ceremony.

Here’s the day’s schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 19

9:30 – 10 a.m.  Annual business meeting

10 – 11:30 a.m.  Concurrent Sessions:
* Unlock the Secrets of Successful Selling
Hear from sales veterans on how to get from no to yes. Review the tried and true strategies and pick up some new tips.
* Newsroom Bootcamp
30-minute mini-sessions on: 1) Dealing with a combative public; 2) Winning the battle over open records; 3) The Training Ground: A look into the world of college newspapers with editors from three Maine college papers

11:35 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Concurrent Sessions:
* Design Workshop
Advice from veteran designers on ways to update the look and features of your print pages.
* Reporter Roundtable
Join a free-flowing conversation with veteran reporters about issues of the day, solutions reporters have created to handle the challenges they face, and the best journalism advice they’ve received.

12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon
Join MPA members and guests as we hear from the 2018 Journalist of the Year, J.W. Oliver of The Lincoln County News, and induct the 2019 MPA Hall of Fame nominees: Stephen Fay, who recently retired after 23 years as the managing editor of The Ellsworth American; Marian McCue, former editor of The Forecaster; and the late Chris Cousins, who was a reporter at the Bangor Daily News.

2 – 3 p.m. Keynote Conversation with Rebecca Corbett
Investigations Editor at the New York Times, Rebecca Corbett started her career at the Morning Sentinel after graduating from Colby College. She will sit down for a conversation with Sentinel Reporter Amy Calder.

3:05 – 4 p.m.  Driving Audience Engagement and Consumer Revenue
Revenue leaders from Maine newspapers talk about ways to engage readers and boost revenues; and the Portland Press Herald will share findings from its participation with Google in a national six-month “Digital Subscriptions Lab” aimed at improving revenue strategies.

5 – 6:15 p.m.  Scholarship Auction & Reception
Join your MPA comrades and guests at this rousing reception and auction, where you can bid on an array of things — many considered “interesting” and “unique” — all to benefit Maine college students pursuing careers in the newspaper field.

6:30 p.m.  2019 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Dinner & Banquet

Exotic trips? Memorable experiences? Booze? Stuff from your basement? The auction’s the place

Greg Rec and Lisa DeSisto enjoy honey from the auction.

The Maine Press Association’s annual auction is only 10 days away and organizers are asking members to consider donating items for the beloved and raucous tradition. Proceeds from the auction go to deserving college students pursuing degrees in journalism or related fields.

Thanks to generous members in the past, items that regularly go up for bid include get-aways, hot-air balloon rides, fine aged wines, award-winning photographs, baskets of Maine’s Official State Treat, beer, signed best-sellers, swag from award-winning newsrooms, highly coveted MPA hoodies, Buckfield artisanal honey, hand-crafted Maine art, regional delicacies and more. As a result of generous donors and active bidders, thousands of dollars have been raised over the years for Maine journalism students. At the same time, high bidders have gone home with their treasures (or often their spouses’ treasures) knowing they have helped foster the future of journalism in Maine.

Please consider bringing an auction item (or several) from your attic, basement, liquor cabinet, wine cellar, man cave, she shed, agricultural fair, neighbor’s garage, newsroom, area retailer, local apiarist, cupcake baker, brewery, craft fair, winery or orchard. Airbnb vouchers, plane tickets, Alaskan cruises and Patriot’s tickets are gladly accepted.

Let us know what you’re bringing by emailing mpacontest@mainetoday.com. On the day of the conference, bring your items and leave them in the designated auction area. See MPA Executive Director Diane Norton at the conference if you have questions. She can also be reached at 691-0131 and at mainepressmail@gmail.com

Deadlines near for MPA conference registration and hotel rooms; full day of offerings detailed

The much anticipated Maine Press Association annual conference on Oct. 19 is a month away, but conference registration and the deadline for hotel room reservations is only a week away, Friday, Sept. 27.

Don’t miss out on this year’s conference, which will include a day full of workshops for almost everyone involved in newspaper operations, as well as a keynote talk with former Maine resident and New York Times Assistant Managing Editor Rebecca Corbett, the Hall of Fame induction, the annual auction and the evening dinner and awards ceremony.

Here’s a look at the day’s schedule:

9:30 – 10 a.m.  Annual business meeting

10 – 11:30 a.m.  Concurrent Sessions:
* Unlock the Secrets of Successful Selling
Hear from sales veterans on how to get from no to yes. Review the tried and true strategies and pick up some new tips.
* Newsroom Bootcamp
30-minute mini-sessions on: 1) Dealing with a combative public; 2) Winning the battle over open records; 3) The Training Ground: A look into the world of college newspapers with editors from three Maine college papers

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  Concurrent Sessions:
* Design Workshop
Advice from veteran designers on ways to update the look and features of your print pages and websites.
* Reporter Roundtable
Join a free-flowing conversation with veteran reporters about issues of the day, solutions reporters have created to handle the challenges they face, and the best journalism advice they’ve received.

12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon
Join MPA members and guests as we hear from the 2018 Journalist of the Year, J.W. Oliver of The Lincoln County News, and induct the 2019 MPA Hall of Fame nominees: Stephen Fay, who recently retired after 23 years as the managing editor of The Ellsworth American; Marian McCue, former editor of The Forecaster; and the late Chris Cousins, who was a reporter at the Bangor Daily News. (See below for brief bios of this year’s inductees.)

2 – 2:45 p.m. Keynote Conversation
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Editor Rebecca Corbett, who helps lead the paper’s investigative teams and who started her career at the Morning Sentinel after graduating from Colby College, sits down for a conversation with Sentinel Reporter Amy Calder.

2:45 – 4 p.m.  Driving Audience Engagement and Consumer Revenue
Revenue leaders from Maine newspapers talk about ways to engage readers and boost revenues; and the Portland Press Herald will share findings from its participation with Google in a national six-month “Digital Subscriptions Lab” aimed at improving revenue strategies.

5 – 6:30 p.m.  Scholarship Auction & Reception
Join your MPA comrades and guests at this rousing reception and auction, where you can bid on super items like stays in Maine vacation cottages, whale watch tickets, golf passes, restaurant gift certificates, ski lift tickets, and member swag — all to benefit Maine students pursuing careers in the newspaper industry.

6:30 p.m.  2019 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Dinner & Banquet

Sign up today: The conference will be at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 363 Maine Mall Road, South Portland. We’ve negotiated a super hotel rate ($109) for the nights of Oct. 18-19 for MPA members and guests at the DoubleTree.

To book your room, call the DoubleTree at 1-800-774-1500 and reference Maine Press Association. For online bookings, go to portlandme.DoubleTree.com and use group code MPR (yes, MPR). Hotel reservation deadline is Friday, Sept. 27. The hotel will try but cannot guarantee group rate and room availability beyond this date.

You can find conference registration information and a registration form on the MPA website at www.mainepressassociation.org (look for the 2019 Fall Conference tab on the top left). Conference registration deadline is also Friday, Sept. 27.

OTHER CONFERENCE NEWS:

In Memoriam: A number of people connected to Maine’s newspaper industry have died over the last year. As we’ve done the last couple of years, the MPA will take time during this year’s evening awards ceremony to honor those who have passed. If you would like to make sure someone who passed in the last year is honored, please send a sentence or two about their connection to the industry and a photo, if possible, to ceremony master of ceremonies Greg Rec. He can be reached at grec@pressherald.com.

Bylaw change: MPA board members will vote at the annual business meeting on a bylaw change that will add language addressing termination of membership. The bylaws currently have no such language. While there is no request for termination before the board and the board hopes it does not have to make use of the proposed language, a question arose this past year that led the board to research the issue of removal and develop the amendment based on language from other press organizations. A vote of membership is required for a bylaw change. The meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. at the conference on Oct. 19.

Packed agenda at Oct. 19 MPA Fall Conference  will offer something for everyone


 

 

This year’s Maine Press Association annual conference will offer something for everyone — reporters, editors, ad reps, designers, publishers, as well as the family and colleagues of this year’s three Hall of Fame inductees and anyone interested in hearing about the internal workings of the New York Times. And more!

Sure to be memorable for the awards ceremony alone and the honoring of Maine newspapers’ best work in 2018-2019, this year’s fall conference will also offer:
• A newsroom bootcamp on three topics: 1) Dealing with a combative public and threats 2) An open records primer 3) A look into the world of today’s college newspapers, hosted by Maine college newspaper editors
• A session on design, for both print and web
• An advertising workshop on successful selling
• A reporters’ roundtable offering free-flowing discussion on issues of the day
• A look at the Portland Press Herald collaboration with Google and newspapers across the U.S. developing new strategies for boosting readership and revenue through digital subscriptions
• A keynote talk by Maine native and New York Times Assistant Managing Editor Rebecca Corbett

Of course the conference will also feature the popular Hall of Fame luncheon, an address by last year’s Journalist of the Year J.W. Oliver of the Lincoln County News, the delightful and raucous scholarship fundraising auction, and many opportunities to talk with other journalists from across the state.

The conference is set for Oct. 19 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland Hotel, 363 Maine Mall Road, South Portland. We’ve negotiated a super hotel rate ($109) for the nights of Oct. 18-19 for MPA members and guests at the DoubleTree.

To book your room, call the DoubleTree at 1-800-774-1500 and reference Maine Press Association. For online bookings, go to portlandme.DoubleTree.com and use group code MPR (yes, MPR). Hotel reservation deadline is Friday, Sept. 27. The hotel will try but cannot guarantee group rate and room availability beyond this date.

You can find conference registration information and a registration form on the MPA website at www.mainepressassociation.org (look for the 2019 Fall Conference tab on the top left). Conference registration deadline is also Friday, Sept. 27.

Maine Press Association to induct three into Hall of Fame

Three new members will enter the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame on October 19. Stephen Fay, Marian McCue, and the late Chris Cousins were selected by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee and will be inducted during the association’s annual Fall Conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Portland.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay started out as a news reporter in 1974. He became an editor in 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling at the Ellsworth American in 1996.

Fay retired May 31 after 23 years as the managing editor of the American. Well respected by his colleagues and the community, Fay worked closely with reporters to ensure stories that were well-sourced, organized, and written in a way the average reader could understand. A story should “sing,” he was often quoted as saying. Dozens of reporters and interns have benefited from his mentorship over the years.

His self-deprecating humor shone in his long-running “Cheers” column. Purportedly a review of cheap wine, it was as likely to contain show tune lyrics and musings on married life as it was references to “aftertaste” or “hints of oak.” A brilliant writer, his column and stories had heart.

His work, and that produced by his newsroom, have won numerous state, regional and national awards over the years.

Marian McCue

Marian McCue purchased a small fortnightly local town tabloid mailed directly to residents in 1990 and eventually turned it — with great foresight and a singular journalistic duty — into what would become arguably “the” community newspaper of record for the greater Portland area.

At the helm of what became simply The Forecaster, was a dyed-in-the-wool muckraker with a nose for scoops coupled with a devotion to truth, balance and fairness.

In 2003, knowing she was only a steward of the paper, McCue sold it to the Costello family, agreeing to stay on as editor to launch the Portland edition the same year and the Mid-Coast edition two years later.

In 2006 she handed over the reigns of the newspaper to her trusted and capable managing editor, Mo Mehlsak, but never really left journalism. Instead, McCue lent her reporting talents to many Maine newspapers on a freelance basis and for the last four and a half years has been writing a monthly column for The Forecaster focusing on issues at the State House.

Christopher Cousins

Fresh out of college, Christopher Cousins went to work for the Advertiser Democrat, a weekly newspaper that served the town of South Paris where he grew up. By holding elected leaders accountable and ensuring that school and municipal officials abided by public meeting laws, he made it a better, more open place. In 2005 the Nieman Foundation agreed and awarded him a fellowship for community journalism.

No story was too big or too small, and his signature response to even the most impossible assignment was: I am not afraid. He truly wasn’t.

As a general assignment reporter for The Times Record, and later the Bangor Daily News, Cousins explained arcane education and corrections policies by talking to students and inmates about how lawmakers’ decisions changed their lives. When he moved to the State House in 2013, he made it a better place by giving as much voice to regular folks affected by politics as he did to government officials and paid political operatives.

Cousins died unexpectedly on August 15, 2018, at the age of 42.

The MPA Hall of Fame, established in 1998, honors newspaper people with Maine connections who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. Its members are on the MPA website, at http://mainepressassociation.org/hall-of-fame/

Tickets to the Hall of Fame luncheon are available by contacting MPA Executive Director Diane Norton at mainepressmail@gmail.com or 691-0131.

Public Notice: An American Tradition

 

Most of us take public notices for granted. Which is understandable. After all, they’ve been running in newspapers for hundreds of years. So we tend to forget about them.
But when you really think about it they’re kind of amazing. Federal and state governments actually passed laws requiring themselves—and politically powerful private interests—to disclose information about their plans and activities.
They represent the best of self-government. Along with open-meeting and freedom of information laws, they’re an important part of the three-legged stool of government transparency. They ensure citizens have access to information they need to participate in the governance of their communities. They’re an essential element of our fragile democracy.
Unfortunately, proposals that would drastically revise our public notice laws put their vital role in our democracy at risk.
This pamphlet will explore the origins, purpose and defining characteristics of public notice in the U.S., and will address the present threat and how we can avert it.

Full Presentation Here

MPA Annual Fall Conference recap

More than 130 members and guests attended Better Newspaper Contest Awards Dinner and Banquet at Sunday River resort


Thanks to everyone who attended the Annual Fall Conference on October 20 at Sunday River. We were pleased to host 63 attendees at the 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon, and 132 MPA members and guests at the Better Newspaper Contest Awards Dinner & Banquet.

The jam-packed conference featured engaging sessions including a fast-paced keynote address by Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley, wonderful comments by our three Hall of Fame Inductees, and the opportunity to celebrate the 2018 contest award winners and this year’s Unsung Hero, Bob Drake Young Writer, Advertising Person of the Year, and Journalist of the Year.

The full 2018 Contest Winner’s list has been posted on the MPA website and can be found by clicking on the “MPA Contest/2018 Contest Winners” tab at www.mainepressassociation.org.

Engage, Learn, and Interact at the 2018 MPA Conference

Join members of the Maine Press Association as we gather at Sunday River Resort on October 20 to exchange ideas and celebrate the year’s achievements. A full day of informative and engaging sessions is being planned, including a general session with keynote speaker, Leigh Saufley, Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. Here’s an overview of the day’s events:

Morning

8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.   | Annual Business Meeting

9:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. | Newsroom Mini Bootcamp | Parts 1 and 2 

Three half-hour, jam-packed sessions focused on the needs of reporters but relevant to all who are interested in libel, copy editing or safety inside and outside the newsroom.

  • 9:00 a.m. to 9:50 a.m.| Libel, Copyright and Privacy Rights Workshop: How to stay out of libel trouble. Panelists will bring plenty of examples. Please bring yours. With Sig Schutz, libel czar at Preti Flaherty, Lisa Haberzettl, universal desk editor at MaineToday Media Today, and Matt Kaiser of Portland, who works for Global Sports Advocates and has experience defending the intellectual property rights of athletes.
  • 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.| Copy Editing Bootcamp: Get your copy as clean as can be: Get tips from the pros and learn to think like an editor. Bring your questions and examples. With Carol Semple, non-swimming editor at The Portland Press Herald; Mary Delamater, Sun Journal word dominatrix; and Scott Paida, copy editor extraordinaire at The Ellsworth American.

9:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. | Revenue Innovations

  • The Ellsworth American’s rate card and rating strategy have been recognized best in New England – for all newspaper categories – for several years. Learn from General Manager Terry Carlisle how the American changed its rating strategy and developed effective ad packages.
  • We’ve all heard the term “sponsored content” in digital, but what about print? Melissa Pritchard, Creative Services Director at MaineToday Media, will describe MTM’s learnings and successful approaches to sponsored content, from concept to sales to execution.

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. | Growing Consumer Revenue

Peter Doucette, former Chief Consumer Revenue Officer for The Boston Globe and current member of FTI Consulting’s Technology, Media & Telecom practice, unlocks the mystery of growing subscription revenue and acquiring and retaining customers. Doucette has spent the last decade studying industry best practices and testing innovative ideas on consumer-centric business models. With advice for newspapers large and small, don’t miss this important session focused on the largest growth area for our industry. Driving engagement to attract new subscribers requires the involvement of all departments in a newspaper. It’s not just a marketing thing. If you’re interested in the future of newspapers, catch this session!

 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. | Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon

Join MPA members and guests as we hear from the 2017 Journalist of the Year, Matthew Stone, of the Bangor Daily News, and induct the 2018 MPA Hall of Fame nominees: R. Nathaniel W. Barrows, in his 50th year as publisher and editor of Penobscot Bay Press; Kathryn Olmstead, a writer, editor, and publisher who has been affiliated with Maine journalism since the late 1970s; and the late Winifred French, founder (and reporter, editor, publisher and distributor) of The Quoddy Tides in 1968 when Eastport had no newspaper.

 Afternoon

1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. | Keynote Address: The State of Maine’s Judiciary Branch, Maine Chief Justice Leigh Saufley

Chief Justice Saufley, a graduate of both UMaine and UMaine Law School — is Maine’s first female chief justice, known for her candor, energy , sense of humor and commitment to improving access to justice. Now in her third 8-year term, she has overseen the streamlining of Maine’s business and consumer courts, implemented a mediation program to better resolve residential foreclosures, and her Juvenile Task Force has pushed for laws and programs that have contributed to a substantial decrease in the number of youths being incarcerated. In addition, the buck stops at her desk when it comes to suggested changes to court access and the recording of court procedures by the media. She will share information regarding the Maine Judicial Branch and general matters of justice. She will be available for 45 minutes, including remarks and questions from the audience.

2:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. | Cross-Platform Packaging Workshop

Today’s newspaper journalist is being asked to do multiple jobs effectively. It’s no longer enough to simply provide text – good visuals and video are becoming increasingly important. In this workshop, veteran photojournalist Russ Dillingham (Sun Journal) and University of Maine professor Mike Socolow will go over the basics of creating effective imagery and videos in a timely and efficient manner. Using examples from his career, Dillingham will demonstrate how to frame and structure images so that they report an accurate and engaging narrative, and how your smartphone can be as important as your DSLR and offer more interactive storytelling with your audience. He will also go over the dangers and pitfalls of broadcasting live video as news unfolds.

2:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Newsroom Mini Bootcamp | Part 3

Safety in the Field | Keeping it real (safe) on the street and in the building: With William DeLong, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s protective security adviser assigned to Maine and an expert on workplace security in all fields.

 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. | Scholarship Auction & Reception

Join your MPA comrades and guests at this rousing reception and auction, where you can bid on super items like stays in Maine vacation cottages, whale watch tickets, golf passes, restaurant gift certificates, ski lift tickets, and member swag—all to benefit Maine students pursuing careers in the newspaper industry.

 6:30 p.m. | 2018 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Dinner & Banquet