Three new members will enter the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame on Oct. 20. Nat Barrows, Kathryn Olmstead and the late Winifred French were selected by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee and will be inducted during the association’s annual Fall Conference at the Sunday River Resort in Newry.
Nathaniel “Nat” W. Barrows is celebrating 50 years as owner, publisher and editor of Hancock County’s Penobscot Bay Press newspapers.
He began his Maine career in October 1968 with the purchase of Penobscot Bay Press and Island Ad-Vantages in Stonington. In 1981, he purchased The Weekly Packet, based in Blue Hill, and in 1990 he added the Castine Patriot. His newspapers cover 10 towns on the Blue Hill peninsula, Deer Isle and Isle au Haut.
Barrows has received numerous awards for his news stories, photography and editorials. In 2007, he was honored as Maine Journalist of the Year for his fearless coverage of the discovery, arrest and conviction of a serial pedophile who had elevated standing in the community.
He served two terms as president of the MPA, from1989-91, and was a director of the New England Press Association.
Winifred French started publishing The Quoddy Tides in 1968, when Eastport and the surrounding communities did not have a newspaper. “Lubec and Eastport weren’t covered by the press at that time and, in Eastport, the council had their meeting around a kitchen table,” French recalled on her retirement in January of 1995. “I thought people should know what was going on.”
Although she had no experience in journalism, she did research and spoke with numerous editors and publishers before launching the newspaper. She was the twice-monthly paper’s editor, publisher and distributor, while being helped by a team of staff members and freelance writers that she assembled.
French quickly earned the respect and admiration of her contemporaries. She was named the MPA’s Journalist of the Year in 1979, and was inducted into the New England Newspaper Association’s Hall of Fame in 2002.
Kathryn Olmstead began her affiliation with Maine journalism in the mid-1970s as a correspondent for the Bangor Daily News. In 1977, she went to work for the Aroostook Republican & News in Caribou, first as a reporter, then the editor.
Olmstead served U.S. Sen. William S. Cohen as northern Maine field rep from 1979 to 1984 before joining the journalism faculty at the University of Maine. Her career at UMaine spanned 25 years, including six as associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
In 1988, she co-founded Echoes: Rediscovering Community, a quarterly magazine focused on Aroostook County. She edited, designed and managed Echoes until its final edition in 2017. She also wrote a column about life in Aroostook County for the Bangor Daily News from 2010 to 2017.
In 1993, Olmstead founded the Maine Center for Student Journalism, to foster the practice and teaching of journalism in secondary schools. In 2002, she was honored for that work with a special award from the New England Scholastic Press Association.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 691-0131.