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Steve Riley, former managing editor of Press Herald, dies at 90

By Dennis Hoey, Portland Press Herald, January 29, 2018

Veteran Maine newspaper editor A. Stephen “Steve” Riley died this month at his home in Meredith, New Hampshire. Riley, whose career at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram spanned 30 years, was 90 years old. His family said his health had been declining.

Steve Riley

Veteran Maine newspaper editor A. Stephen “Steve” Riley died this month at his home in Meredith, New Hampshire. Riley, whose career at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram spanned 30 years, was 90 years old. His family said his health had been declining.

Riley, who lived in Cumberland Foreside’s Wildwood neighborhood for more than 50 years, spent nearly all of his adult years working as a journalist, rising up from the reporting ranks to become managing editor of the Press Herald and Sunday Telegram.

In the mid-1980s, he left the Press Herald to become editor of the Central Maine Morning Sentinel in Waterville. He remained there until his retirement in 1990.

Riley was a decorated journalist. In 1989, he was named Maine Journalist of the Year by the Maine Press Association and in 1994 he received the prestigious Yankee Quill Award from the New England Society of Newspaper Editors, or NESNE. The Yankee Quill Award recognizes a lifetime spent achieving excellence in journalism in New England. In addition to those honors, Riley was inducted into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame in 2005.

“My father always wanted to be a reporter,” said his son, Stephen W. Riley of Vienna, Virginia, a foreign service officer for the U.S. State Department. “He had this innate sense of curiosity.”

“His interest in journalism wasn’t as grandiose as making the world a better place, but more that he liked keeping people informed,” his son explained in a telephone interview Sunday.

After graduating from the University of Maine in 1950, Riley started working for the Brunswick Record and later the Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald, where he covered news in York County.

He then worked briefly for the former Bangor Commercial newspaper before joining the news staff of the Press Herald as its Bangor correspondent.

He spent the rest of his career with the former Guy Gannett newspapers, eventually transferring to Portland, where he became a feature writer for the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Riley remained active in New England journalism and served one year as president of NESNE. In the 1980s, during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Riley participated in an exchange program with Soviet journalists.

He was a member of NESNE delegations that traveled to the U.S.S.R., and NESNE hosted Soviet journalists in New England four times.

“He found that exchange quite rewarding and fascinating,” his son said. “He took great pride because he felt it opened the eyes of Soviet journalists.”

Bill Nemitz, a columnist for the Press Herald and Sunday Telegram, said that if it weren’t for Riley, he may not have wound up writing for the Portland newspapers.

Nemitz recalled he had been working as a reporter for the Morning Sentinel when he interviewed for a job with the Press Herald.

“I didn’t get the job. I was devastated,” Nemitz said.

But two days later, Riley got back to him with an offer Nemitz could not refuse – working as a reporter for the former Evening Express in Portland.

“Steve was an old-school editor, who loved the news,” Nemitz recalled Sunday. “Nothing excited him more than a good news story.”

Nemitz said Riley was more interested in helping other journalists succeed than in his own success. “It was always about the newspaper, not about him,” Nemitz added.

During a November 1990 presentation at a Maine Press Association conference, Riley offered some possible reasons for reader malaise.

“Could it be that we’re putting out papers that please us as editors and reporters but which, in many ways, do not serve the readers’ needs?” Riley said.

“Our product has been jazzed up. Sizzle has been added, but what about substance? I’m talking about news, not features, but real hard news.”

Riley’s son said his father will be remembered as a “tough but fair editor.”

“He always took the straight-down-the-middle approach. He’d tell me that if he had people on both sides of an issue mad at him, then he was doing his job,” his son said.

Riley felt strongly that the best reporting focused on issues that affect people and that stories should have substance.

He tried to mentor young reporters and managed his staff with aplomb.

“He was not a yeller or a screamer,” his son said. “He got his point across, but he did it in a very benevolent way.”

Riley moved to New Hampshire in 2010 to be closer to his daughter, Beth Mattson of Bristol, New Hampshire.

The family held a private service in early January for Riley, who died Jan. 7 at his home in Meredith.

 

Portland Press Herald, Mount Desert Islander and the York Weekly among MPA winners

BAR HARBOR – The Portland Press Herald, the Mount Desert Islander of Bar Harbor, the York Weekly and the Maine SundayTelegram have been honored by the Maine Press Association for General Excellence in print newspapers.

The Bangor Daily News, The Ellsworth American and Boothbay Register took top honors for digital General Excellence in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The awards were presented Saturday night at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar Harbor, concluding a day of workshops for journalists, advertising staff and newsroom managers throughout the state.

Lincoln Millstein, Senior Vice President of Hearst Newspapers, was the featured conference speaker and shared his views on the future of newspapers and why ‘digital first’ won’t deliver.

Earlier in the day, the association inducted two new members to its Hall of Fame: Mark Woodward, former executive editor of the Bangor Daily News, and Alan Baker, longtime owner and publisher of The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander.

In the General Excellence competition for print newspapers, the Portland Press Herald was judged the best daily in Maine while the Maine Sunday Telegram was the weekend Newspaper of the Year for the seventh time in eight years.


Lincoln Millstein, Senior Vice President of Hearst Newspapers, was the featured speaker at the Maine Press Association’s 2017 Fall Conference.

The contest judges wrote of the Portland Press Herald, “Strong writing and beautiful photography throughout the paper, and strong coverage of state and local government” while praising the Maine Sunday Telegram for its “Great writing, well organized, elegant design. Important news stories and lifestyle features. This is the total package.”

In the Weekly 1 division, for newspapers with less than 4,000 print circulation, the York Weekly was described as “A paper that has strong content and is easy to read. People in the community should – and want to – read this paper” while the Weekly 2 winner, Mount Desert Islander, was lauded for its “items of interest for regular readers and/or visitors from out of the area with good editorials and very clean writing.”

The Mount Desert Islander has been named Newspaper of the Year 11 times since 2006 – six times in the Weekly 1 division and five years in Weekly 2 (4,000 and over circulation).

The Courier-Gazette won the Freedom of Information first-place award in the weekly category, while the Sun Journal took top honors in the daily/weekend division.

Matthew Stone of the Bangor Daily News was named the Journalist of the Year while Carla McGuire of the Kennebec Journal was the Advertising Person of the Year.

Maia Zewert of the Lincoln County News won the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, and Robert Long of the Bangor Daily News was honored by the MPA as the Unsung Hero of the Year.

A complete list of 2017 award winners can be found on the MPA’s website: www.mainepressassociation.org


Mark Woodward, left, and Alan Baker, this year’s Maine Press Association Hall of Fame inductees.

Maine Press Association brings real world perspective and experience to its annual Fall Conference

Join members of the Maine Press Association as they gather at Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar Harbor on October 21 to exchange ideas and celebrate the year’s achievements. A full day of workshops, including a general session with guest speaker Lincoln Millstein of Hearst, has been organized.

Hear from a panel of actual advertisers about why they advertise and what they need to be successful, participate in a discussion about media bias and how newspapers can protect their brand (of good, quality journalism), and gain tips and information about management that will be useful across all departments.

The day begins at 8:30 a.m. with the Annual Business Meeting, when the new slate of 2017-2018 MPA officers and board members will be voted in. Morning sessions will run from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. followed by lunch and the induction of Mark Woodward and Alan Baker into the MPA Hall of Fame at 12:30 p.m. Our final session is in the afternoon from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Auctioneer Extraordinaire Earl Brechlin will reprise his role—possibly for the last time—at the Scholarship Auction & Reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the 2017 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Dinner & Banquet.

The Conference registration deadline was Oct. 2. For further information about the conference or registration, please contact MPA Executive Director Diane Norton at mainepressmail@gmail.com or via phone at 691-0131.

Maine Press Association brings real world perspective and experience to its annual Fall Conference

Join members of the Maine Press Association as they gather at Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar Harbor on October 21 to exchange ideas and celebrate the year’s achievements.

A full day of workshops, including as a general session with guest speaker Lincoln Millstein of Hearst has been organized. Hear from a panel of actual advertisers about why they advertise and what they need to be successful, participate in a discussion about media bias and how newspapers can protect their brand (of good, quality journalism), and gain tips and information about management that will be useful across all departments.

*Featured speaker: The Future of Print and Why ‘Digital First’ Won’t Deliver  (10:45-12:15)
Lincoln Millstein, Senior Vice President of Hearst, will share his views on the future of newspapers at a General Session at the annual Fall Conference. Don’t let his digital background fool you, Lincoln is bullish on the future of print and he will tell you why. Get a preview of Lincoln’s thoughts on the future of newspapers by reading the first chapter of a book he is writing on the topic.
His talk is for every MPA member whether on the business side or in the newsroom. You won’t want to miss this. Lincoln was a digital executive at the New York Times Company before joining Hearst. He was the founder of Boston.com and a former business editor at The Boston Globe. He and his wife Irene vacation on MDI each summer and he is delighted to join us in Bar Harbor.

News, Fake News and Media Bias  (9:15 to 10:30)
Is ‘fake news’ hurting journalism? Do we really mean to say bias when we say ‘fake’? How should media organizations respond and what can they do to keep their brand in tact? Explore the basic tenants of journalism with a panel of guests that will talk about what newspaper organizations can do to promote and support their work, especially when it comes under attack.
Panelists: Nat Barrows, Editor and Publisher, Penobscot Bay Press
JW Oliver, Editor, Lincoln County News
Judy Meyer, Executive Editor, Sun Journal

Your Market, Your Advertiser — Why People Buy (9:15 to 10:30)
You sell advertising. But, have you thought about why people buy it? We have invited a group of advertisers to show you another side of the process—their side. They will take your questions and give insight into how to strengthen relationships in your community.

Management: A Delicate Balance (2:15 to 3:30)
Newsrooms are stressful, Ad Departments are stressful, heck, all departments are stressful—that’s the business we’re in.
In light of that constant grind, how do you still motivate staff on a regular basis? How do you deal with difficult personalities? How do you manage being an intermediary between the staff and ownership? Hear about ways to build your human resources knowledge and hopefully make a happier staff.
Panelists: Jennifer Holmes, Vice President, Bangor Daily News
Justin Pelletier, Managing Editor, Sun Journal
Michelle Lester, Publisher, Times Record

MPA 2017 Annual Fall Conference Schedule of Events

The MPA’s Annual Fall Conference will be held on Oct. 21 at Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar Harbor.

Here’s the schedule of events:

8:30 am – 9:00 am: Annual Business Meeting

9:15 am –10:30 am: News, Fake News and Media Bias

9:15 am –10:30 am: Your Market, Your Advertiser—Why People Buy

10:45 am – 12:15 pm: Featured speaker Lincoln Millstein, The Future of Print and Why ‘Digital First’ Won’t Deliver

12:30 pm – 2:00 pm: Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon

2:15 pm – 3:30 pm: Management–A Delicate Balance

5:30 pm: Scholarship Auction & Reception

Awards Dinner immediately following

Registration now open for the MPA Annual Fall Conference in Bar Harbor

The Maine Press Association’s Annual Fall Conference will be held this year on October 21, 2017, at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar Harbor. A full day of conference events is planned, including the Hall of Fame Inductee Luncheon, annual Scholarship Auction, and the 2017 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Dinner & Banquet.

Contest judges have been jamming the MPA Office with packages, decisions and wonderful comments. We hope to have the majority of decisions sorted, reviewed and ready to share with members in the next ten days.

As always, we’ve negotiated a great hotel rate for the nights of Oct. 20-21 for MPA members and guests at Atlantic Oceanside. All MPA rooms have a single king or two queen beds and are in the Main Hotel. The nightly rate is $139.

Guests can make hotel reservations by booking directly online at www.AOBarHarbor.com  (BOOK NOW) and using the MPA Group Code 27348, or by calling the Atlantic Oceanside reservation line at 800-336-2463 and referencing Maine Press Association. Reservation deadline is September 20, 2017. While the hotel will honor the MPA group rate after the reservation deadline, they cannot guarantee room availability.

You can find Conference Registration information and a registration form on the MPA website (look for 2017 Fall Conference tab) or by clicking here. Conference registration deadline is Monday, October 2.

MPA Annual Fall Conference is October 21 in Bar Harbor

The Maine Press Association’s Annual Fall Conference will be held this year on October 21 at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar Harbor. A full day of conference events is planned, including the Hall of Fame Inductee Luncheon, annual Scholarship Auction, and the 2017 Better Newspaper Contest Awards Dinner & Banquet.

And what about those awards? Judges are being mindful of this week’s deadline for decisions and comments, and have been overwhelming the MPA Office with packages, decisions and wonderful comments. We hope to have the majority of decisions sorted, reviewed and ready to share with members in the next two weeks.

As always, we’ve negotiated a great hotel rate for the nights of Oct. 20-21 for MPA members and guests at Atlantic Oceanside. All rooms held for us have a single king or two queen beds and are in the Main Hotel. The nightly rate is $139.

Guests can make hotel reservations by booking directly online at www.AOBarHarbor.com  (BOOK NOW) and using the MPA Group Code 27348, or by calling the Atlantic Oceanside reservation line at 800-336-2463 and referencing Maine Press Association. Reservation deadline is September 20, 2017. While the hotel will honor the MPA group rate after the reservation deadline, they cannot guarantee room availability.

In the meantime, be on the lookout next week for registration information as well as details about this year’s program and sessions.

MAINE PRESS ASSOCIATION TO INDUCT TWO INTO HALL OF FAME

 

A former executive editor of the Bangor Daily News and the longtime owner and publisher of two of Maine’s top weekly newspapers will enter the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame in October.

Mark Woodward and Alan Baker were selected this month by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee. They will be inducted Oct. 21 during the association’s annual Fall Conference at the Atlantic Oceanside in Bar Harbor.

Woodward’s career with the Bangor Daily News spanned 38 years, including 12 in which he was executive editor. As he led the news staff, he emphasized local news and oversaw the early years of the paper’s digital platforms and coverage.

He also emphasized community involvement, serving with organizations promoting education, economic development and elder care. He launched story-sharing agreements with Canadian and other Maine newspapers, and helped to establish a statewide courts and media committee, to resolve issues of mutual concern to journalists and the judiciary.

Woodward joined the Bangor Daily News in 1971 as a city reporter. He became editorial page editor in 1982 and helped shape public opinion in Maine for 15 years. He left the paper for eight months to be communications director for Sen. Susan Collins in Washington, D.C., in 1997. He was named executive editor in the fall of that year.

Woodward always valued the special role of a family-owned newspaper in Maine’s small communities, and especially in Bangor.

He retired on Jan. 1, 2010. In the paper’s article announcing his retirement, Mike Dowd, an editor who worked with Woodward for nearly 30 years, said, “It would be simple to measure Mark’s impact on the newsroom by the numerous awards the BDN has won under his stewardship. I think Mark’s leadership is best measured by the enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication our staffers display day in and day out. It all stems from his can-do attitude.”

Baker, owner and publisher of The Ellsworth American and the Mount Desert Islander, is known for his fervent belief that newspapers should be owned by individuals who are available and accountable to the communities they serve.

He has been a strong supporter of public notice and right-to-know laws in Maine, and has not hesitated to back up his papers’ insistence on openness by suing to prevent government officials from keeping the public’s work secret.

A native of Orrington, Baker joined James Russell Wiggins at the American in 1986. He bought the paper from Wiggins in 1991 and remained true to the famed editor’s legacy.

The paper prospered under his guidance, expanding its operations and modernizing its printing plant. The number of employees doubled, advertising revenue quadrupled and the paper began publishing award-winning special sections and supplements.

In 2001, Baker launched the Mount Desert Islander, a weekly in Bar Harbor that competed with a long-established, corporate-owned paper, which folded in 2012. He understood, in an era of shrinking news holes and news staffs, that content would ensure a community newspaper’s survival and success.

The Islander and the American have been recognized multiple times as the best weekly papers in Maine, New England and even the nation.

“None of that would be possible were it not for Mr. Baker’s insistence that the paper have the resources it needs to adequately serve the community,” said Earl Brechlin, the Islander’s editor since its first issue, in a letter nominating Baker for the MPA Hall of Fame. “His mantra is ‘content sells newspapers.’”

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.

 

MPA seeking nominations to Hall of Fame

Nominations are being taken for 2017 inductees to the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame. The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 7.

Candidates must be Maine newspaper professionals who made lasting career contributions to their craft, in or out of the state. Typically, some of each year’s Hall of Fame class is inducted posthumously.

The Hall of Fame was established in 1998. A list of all inductees is on the MPA website at: http://mainepressassociation.org/hall-of-fame/

The MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee asks that nominations be submitted as soon as possible so they can be circulated among the committee members who will select the inductees.

Each nomination should be accompanied by supporting material that will help committee members as they make their decisions.

Nominations can be sent to the committee chair:
Jeff Ham
Jeffham36@gmail.com
or
26 Elmwood Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107

Questions may be directed to Jeff Ham or to Executive Director Diane Norton at mainepressmail@gmail.com.

The 20th annual induction ceremony will be held Oct. 21 at the MPA Fall Conference in Bar Harbor.

Sports Reporter Needed

The Times Record, a five-day-a-week newspaper serving the Bath-Brunswick area of beautiful Midcoast Maine, has an immediate opening for a full-time Sports Reporter. The two-person sports team serves seven area high schools, along with Bowdoin College and Hyde School in Bath.
The right candidate will:
• Have a love of high school and college sports;
• Be well-versed in sports writing, copy editing and photography, and be willing to learn on the job in a fast-paced environment;
• Be knowledgeable in social media, as the sports department provides live coverage by using Twitter and Facebook.
The Sports Reporter will be expected to lay out pages. Experience is a plus, but we are willing to train the right candidate.  Position will start on Monday, June 19.
Those interested should submit a resume, cover letter
and three writing samples to Sports Editor Bob Conn
at bconn@timesrecord.com.