LD 876 withers following a committee’s ought-not-to-pass vote

Thanks to a lot of heavy lifting on the part of the Maine Press Association’s Legislative Committee, Executive Director Diane Norton, and MPA’s lobby team — Chris Jackson and Mitchell Tardy Jackson (https://www.mitchelltardyjackson.com) — we watched the resounding committee defeat of LD 876, An Act to Promote Efficiency in County and Municipal Government during an April 14 work session.

That bill proposed allowing county and municipal governments to meet the public notice requirement by merely posting on respective websites, and not, a currently stipulated, in a newspaper of general circulation. https://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/1/title1sec601.html

The Local and State Government Committee http://legislature.maine.gov/committee/#Committees/SLG voted 10-0 in favor of an ought-not-to-pass motion.

Wednesday’s vote was a relief for MPA members for many reasons, including that the publication of public notices represent a substantial revenue stream for many newspapers.

MPA board members had testified against this bill, and personally called State and Local Committee members, carefully substantiating why public notices belong in newspapers, and not just at governmental websites. Our points were these:

  • Newspapers provide accessibility, independence, verifiability and archivability — all essential elements of the public notices law.
  • Citizens affected by public notices must have a realistic opportunity to read them. Newspapers and their websites draw far larger audiences than government websites and combined with their print reach, far exceed the reach of individual government websites.
  • The bill especially disenfranchises low-income, minority, and older residents who are less likely to have internet access.
  • The bill moves business away from a well established, functioning private industry system, and diverts it to the government with no established system or track record.
  • Notices should be published by organizations independent of the government body or corporation whose plans or actions are subject to the notice. Newspapers provide third-party neutrality that ensures public notices run in accordance with the law.

Bills such as 876 have been crossing committee desks for the past decade, and we are certain the debate is not over.

Which means MPA and its members must better market its public notices, and our website, mainenotices.com.

Maine is not the only state with bills that have surfaced proposing to remove public notices from newspapers. It is a critical issue for the newspaper business, and the Americas Newspaper organization recently released marketing materials focused on protecting public notices.

The materials include print, digital and social media components.

Visit here  https://newspapers.org/marketing-public-notice-ads/  to join the campaign and download ads for your own newspapers and websites.

NEFAC Strengthens Advocacy in Maine, New England with Additions to Board of Directors

Sun Journal Editor Judy Meyer and Gannett New England Executive Lisa Strattan to Help Lead Coalition

The New England First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce two additions to its Board of Directors: Judy Meyer, Executive Editor of the Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel; and Lisa Strattan, vice president of News for Gannett New England.

“We are thrilled to have Judy and Lisa join our Board of Directors,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “Their experience and expertise will help strengthen our advocacy in Maine and throughout all New England states.”

JUDY MEYER | Sun Media Group

Judy Meyer

Judy Meyer is executive editor of the Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal, the Morning Sentinel and six weekly newspapers owned by the Sun Media Group. She serves as vice president of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition and is a member of the Right to Know Advisory Committee to the Legislature.

A journalist since 1990 and former editorial page editor for the Sun Journal, she was named Maine’s Journalist of the Year in 2003. She serves on the New England Newspaper & Press Association Board of Directors and was the 2018 recipient of the Judith Vance Weld Brown Spirit of Journalism Award.

A fellow of the National Press Foundation and the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, she attended George Washington University, lives in Auburn with her husband, Phil, and is an active member of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.

LISA STRATTAN | Gannett New England

Lisa Strattan is currently vice president of News for Gannett’s New England region, leading a team of approximately 300 journalists and responsible for 16 daily publications; 84 weekly publications and more than 100 websites.

Prior to the merger of Gannett and Gatehouse, Strattan was Vice President of News developing and executing the editorial vision for 11 daily publications, 120 weekly publications and more than 180 websites across three states.

Earlier in her career, Strattan served as GateHouse Media New England SVP/Executive Editor & Publisher of Wicked Local, the company’s network of 160 hyper-local websites. She was also Executive Editor of The Patriot Ledger & The Enterprise of Brockton. Previously, Strattan served as publisher of GHMNE’s SouthCoast division, comprised of The Herald News, Taunton Daily Gazette and O Jornal. For many years she was editor in chief of The Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette, and she has worked in various newsroom roles at newspapers in Colorado, Florida and Iowa.
Strattan served as vice chair of the board of UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research and is a member of the Dennison Memorial Community Center. For several years, she was a SMILES mentor, and served on the executive committee of the Women’s Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts, chairing its marketing committee. She also served on the Board of the Directors of the Battleship Massachusetts Memorial Committee, Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce, the Taunton Area Chamber of Commerce, Metro South Chamber of Commerce and Bridgewater Credit Union. She currently serves as a board member for the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association.

LCN Names Deputy Editor

Maia Zewert is the new deputy editor of The Lincoln County News. (Amber Clark photo)

Maia Zewert is the new deputy editor of The Lincoln County News. (Amber Clark photo)

The Lincoln County News has named Maia Zewert deputy editor.

Zewert joined The Lincoln County News as a general assignment reporter in August 2015. She covered the towns of Bristol, Damariscotta, Newcastle, and South Bristol. In November 2017, she received the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award from the Maine Press Association.

In January 2018, she moved into the business side of operations as marketing and engagement coordinator for Lincoln County Publishing Co., which publishes the LCN. She managed the company’s social media and the #LCNme365 photo contest, served as coordinator of Lincoln County Magazine through a successful relaunch of the publication, and developed award-winning youth engagement programs.

As deputy editor, Zewert will move back into the editorial department. She will assist the editor and serve as editor of special publications, including the magazine. She will also continue her work with local students and continue to manage the photo contest and social media.

Zewert becomes the first deputy editor at the newspaper since 2016. The change was effective Feb. 24.

J.W. Oliver, editor of The Lincoln County News, said he is glad to welcome Zewert back to the newsroom.

“Maia has the news judgment and skills necessary to be a leader in the newsroom. She is an excellent reporter and writer with an eye for detail,” Oliver said. “We had a good rapport during her time as a reporter and I am excited to see what we can accomplish together as an editing team.”

Zewert looks forward to returning to the newsroom and her editorial roots.

“Working at The Lincoln County News and living in this community has changed my life in many ways, and I am excited about this next chapter,” Zewert said.

A 2015 graduate of Iowa State University, Zewert lives in Waldoboro.

In another staff change, editorial assistant Nettie Hoagland will move into a new role as a part-time reporter.

Hoagland, of Walpole, first came to the LCN as a summer news intern in 2019 and rejoined the staff as a part-time editorial assistant in December 2020.

Hoagland is a graduate of South Bristol School, Lincoln Academy, and St. Michael’s College.

Maine Press Association awards $4K in scholarships

The Maine Press Association is awarding $4,000 in scholarships to three journalism students for the spring semester.

 Recipients of 2021 scholarships are Jack Allsopp, of Old Orchard Beach, a senior at the University of New England and editor-in-chief of The Bolt; Michael Corrado, of Medford, Mass., a senior at the University of Maine and contributor to Guy Boston Sports; and Bhavana Scalia-Bruce, of Portland, a senior at the University of Maine and business manager of the Maine Campus.

 The Maine Press Association awards at least one scholarship every year to a junior or senior with financial need who plans to pursue a career in journalism. The scholarships are possible through the generosity of bidders at the Maine Press Association’s annual scholarship auction and the donors who provide the auction items.

 To inquire about the 2022 scholarship, contact scholarship committee Chair Sindhu Manjesh at sindhu.manjesh@maine.edu.

The Maine Press Association (MPA), founded in 1864, is one of the oldest professional news organizations in the nation. We strive to promote and foster high ethical standards in journalism and the best interests of the journalists and media organizations that constitute our membership; to encourage best business and editorial practices and a better media environment in Maine; and to protect the principles of freedom of the press and the public’s right to know.

Upcoming FOIA Webinar hosted by the Maine Press Association

The Maine Press Association is excited to offer a wide variety of webinars throughout 2021. Our first in the series focuses on Maine’s Freedom of Access Act.
Join Maine Monitor Senior Reporter Samantha Hogan as she discusses the complexities of Maine’s public-access rules and the importance of holding government officials accountable. Hogan will also share useful tools that can help journalists with digital research, public access and data visualization.
Samantha Hogan, Senior Reporter for the Maine Monitor, focuses on a range of government accountability projects. She previously worked for The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, covering state politics, agriculture, the environment and energy, and interned twice for The Washington Post. In 2020, Samantha was selected to work with the ProPublica Local Reporting Network to investigate Maine’s indigent defense system. She lives with her cat Ida – named for the mother of investigative journalism, Ida Tarbell.
Cost: $10
Platform: Zoom
Please use the link below to learn more and register:

News and More from MPA

The 2020 MPA Conference: By the #s

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s MPA Conference. While we missed being together in person to celebrate, we made the most of the virtual platform with plenty of emojis, applause, and shout-outs to our comrades and friends. And take a look at those Scholarship Fund donations, hailing from the Silent Auction, Live Auction (thanks Aimsel!), and MPA Store. See below for your chance to own some commemorative logowear and keep that Fund # growing!

  • 40 Attendees at the Hall of Fame Induction
  • 100+ Attendees at the Live Auction & Awards Presentation
  • 60 Better Newspaper Contest Awards, 3 Divisions, 34 entrant newspapers
  • $3,642 and counting raised for the MPA Scholarship Fund via the Live & Silent Auctions, and MPA Store

Survey Says? Please Take This Brief Conference Survey

Conference organizers would appreciate hearing your thoughts regarding the 2020 MPA Conference, featuring the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, Live Auction, and Awards Presentation. If you have feedback or suggestions you’d be willing to share anonymously, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2CLP578

2020 Better Newspaper Contest Award Winners

Looking for a list of the 2020 Winners? You’ll find the complete list plus the 2020 Awards Supplement on the MPA Website. Visit http://mainepressassociation.org/mpa-contest/2020-contest-winners/

Buy some MPA Logowear, Fund a Scholar

Now’s your chance to score some 2020 MPA Commemorative Logowear while contributing to the MPA Scholarship Fund. We’re getting ready to award 2021 Scholarships and the more money we have in the Fund, the more scholarships we can bestow. Choose from Hoodies, T-Shirts, and Hats, all bearing the “Adapt, Adjust, Inform 2020 Conference” Logo; and Newsprint Cotton Masks, handsewn by the team at the Boothbay Register. All are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 100% of the proceeds benefit the MPA Scholarship Fund. Inventory is below. Email Diane Norton at mainepressmail@gmail.com to place your order.

  • Hoodies | $40 $30: 1 Small (1 Light Blue) | 1 Med (Light Blue) | 2 Large (1 Ash, 1 Light Blue)
  • Crew T-Shirts | $25 $15: 1 Small (Heather Navy) | 3 Med (2 Ash, 1 Heather Navy) | 2 Large (1 Ash, 1 Heather Navy)
  • Ladies V-Neck T-Shirts | $25 $15: 1 Small (White) | 2 Med (1 White, 1 Navy) | 2 Large (1 White, 1 Navy)
  • Hats | $15 $10: 3 Black | 4 Navy
  • Cotton Newsprint Masks | 3 for $25 $3 for $15

Maine Press Association Programs Commence with Focus on FOAA

The first session of MPA’s virtual program initiative will take place in late January.  Stay tuned for details on how to register and participate. The January topic will be: Project journalism and how to optimize Maine’s Freedom of Access Act

Join Maine Monitor staff writer Samantha Hogan as she discusses her work investigating Maine’s public defense system and the state’s county jails. Samantha will share tips and ideas that she’s learned by working closely with the ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network and data team. She will also talk extensively about Maine’s Freedom of Access Act and how to stay organized — and vigilant — while pursuing public records in Maine.

Contest Judges Needed 

Each year, the Maine Press Association partners with another press association in a different state to help with judging Better Newspaper Contests.

This year, our partner is South Dakota, and we need to get to work judging that state’s entries in February. This involves assessing editorial, as well as advertising entries.

If you are willing to join the effort, please email your category preference (editorial, production, sales)  to mainepressmail@gmail.com and we will be in touch soon!

Fellowship Resource 
Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute is now accepting 2021-22 RJI Fellowship applications from individuals or organizations with an innovative journalism project idea that could also benefit the industry.

Potential project ideas could include devising new strategies or models to solve a problem, building new tools, creating a prototype, or advancing a prototype, so it’s ready to launch.

This year’s fellowship projects address the increasing challenges in covering climate change, unpublishing, harassment of marginalized journalists and more.]RJI will be hosting its 15th class of fellows in 2021–22. Since launching in 2004, the fellowship program has hosted a wide variety of entrepreneurs and innovators that have come from different backgrounds including large legacy newsrooms and small nonprofits.

“Our fellows are trailblazers, creative thinkers, determined doers and great partners,” says Randy Picht, RJI’s executive director. “If that sounds like you, then it’s time to apply.”

RJI’s eight-month fellowship is a flexible program with three types of fellowship options — residential, nonresidential and institutional that give fellows the time, space and resources they need to work on projects.

“I have felt absolutely supported and backed by people who didn’t know anything about us before,” says Dagmar Thiel, USA Director of Fundamedios.“I became part of a community of professionals that believe in change and also believes it is important to listen to the voice and needs of minorities.” Fundamedios is working on a diagnostic and database of threats, online and offline harassment of Latino journalists working in the U.S.

Fellows can either choose to work from RJI’s headquarters in Columbia, Missouri, with a residential fellowship and an $80,000 stipend. They can choose to work from the location of their choice with a nonresidential fellowship or with their newsroom or organization with an institutional fellowship. Both institutional and nonresidential fellowships come with a $20,000 stipend.

Fellows get access to the intellectual and technological resources of RJI and the Missouri School of Journalism, including access to programmers, support to conduct market research and paid students to produce multimedia content.Fellowships are open to anyone above the age of 18 from around the world. Applications are due December 18, 2020.
Full article here: https://www.rjionline.org/stories/rji-now-accepting-applications-for-the-15th-fellowship-class-of-innovators

The Portland Press Herald, The Ellsworth American and the York County Coast Star among MPA winners

Clockwise from top left: Randy Billings, Journalist of the Year; Meg Robbins, Bob Drake Young Writer; Carl Natale, Unsung Hero; Joanne Alfiero, Advertising Person of the Year.

CAMDEN – For the second consecutive year The Portland Press Herald, The Ellsworth American, the York County Coast Star and the Maine Sunday Telegram have been honored by the Maine Press Association for General Excellence in print newspapers.

CentralMaine.com, The Maine Monitor, and The Camden Herald took top honors for digital General Excellence in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The awards were presented Saturday afternoon during the association’s annual conference, this year held virtually due to COVID-19.

Earlier in the day, the association inducted two new members to its Hall of Fame: the late Arthur Guesman, who served as the faculty advisor of the Maine Campus newspaper and a professor of journalism at the University of Maine for 20 years; and Terry Carlisle, who recently retired after 42 years at The Ellsworth American, serving in key management positions where she led with innovation, excellence, and total enjoyment of her job.

In the General Excellence competition for print newspapers, The Portland Press Herald was judged the best daily in Maine for the second consecutive year while the Maine Sunday Telegram was the weekend Newspaper of the Year for the tenth time in eleven years.

The contest judges, who hailed from The Oklahoma Press Association, wrote of The Portland Press Herald, “Beautiful page design and use of photos throughout. Strong reporting and local coverage. Good ad design and service directory.”

“Amazing CMP investigation with six pages of stories, photos and coverage that tell the full story,” said the judges about the Maine Sunday Telegram. “Striking feature and news photos. Strong reporting, beautiful front-page feature designs and solid ad design.”

In the Weekly 1 division, for newspapers with less than 3,000 print circulation, the York County Coast Star took the top prize. Judges said,  “This is the complete package – good news coverage, well written; good layout with strong headline writing and good photos/reproduction; and excellent political coverage” while the Weekly 2 winner, The Ellsworth American, was lauded for its, “Good mix of local news, strong editorial page, great classified section, well-designed ads, and colorful and well-composed photos.” This was the second consecutive win for both newspapers.

The Maine Monitor won the Freedom of Information first-place award in the Weekly division while the Sun Journal took top honors in the daily/weekend division.

Randy Billings of the Portland Press Herald was named the Journalist of the Year and Joanne Alfiero of the Portland Press Herald was the Advertising Person of the Year.

Meg Robbins, formerly of the Morning Sentinel and now of The Maine Monitor, won the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, and Carl Natale of the Sun Journal was honored by the MPA as the Unsung Hero of the Year.

A complete list of 2020 award winners will be posted later this week on the MPA’s website: www.mainepressassociation.org

VERY IMPORTANT 2020 MPA Conference Information!

  1. Did you newspaper register you as part of a group? If so, you need to register yourself individually in order to have access to all of the events happening Saturday, and future programming.

It’s easy to do: Go to the conference site (https://mpa.vehlovenue.com/) and register individually, using the guest code provided to you by your employer. You’ll also need to enter your own payment information under “My Account” for auction bidding or donations. Questions? Contact Diane Norton at mainepressmail@gmail.com.

All of the events will take place at the conference site (On Saturday, look for the link at the top of the page, next to “Register Now” that says “Go to Event”).

  1. Web Browser: Users will experience the site differently on a Mac(iOS)/Safari vs Mac(iOS)/Chrome or Windows/Chrome. The preference is via the latest version of Chrome (on either type of system). However, for those users who are on a Mac(iOS)/Safari, the only option is to join the event via the App. Here are the instructions for those Mac users:

Option 1: If using a Mac device and you have never used Zoom before (Zoom is NOT installed on your device):

  1. Click on Join via App
  2. pkg will download
  3. Click show downloads
  4. install Zoom.pkg
  5. Welcome to the Zoom installer window, click “Continue”
  6. Select a destination > Choose “Install for all users of this computer” or INstall for me only
  7. Click “install”
  8. Enter your password (prompt)
  9. CLose the “installation was successful” window
  10. Go back to Safari window and click on “Launch Meeting” blue button
  11. Enter your name in the Enter your name window and click “Join”

Option 2: If using a Mac device and you HAVE used Zoom before (Zoom IS installed on your device):

  1. Click on Join via App
  2. Click on “Launch Meeting” blue button
  3. Enter your name in the Enter your name window and click “Join”

You can still register for the event :  The $20.00 registration fee includes access to all 10/24 Conference events and programming for the coming year. Register here: https://mpa.vehlovenue.com/

10/24/20 Schedule of Events: 

9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (via Zoom) | Annual Business Meeting

You have the right to attend and participate in the Maine Press Association’s annual business meeting! The annual meeting includes the election of new board members and reelection of those members whose terms end at the annual meeting. Every “regular” member of the Maine Press Association — all those other than associate and individual members — has one vote in this election. The annual meeting is open to all members and to the general public. We welcome you to attend.
– Maine Press Association 2019-2020 President J.W. Oliver

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/71188107028?pwd=OUlFUGVkTVQ3N2JsWGZPVVBWOElaZz09

Meeting ID: 711 8810 7028 | Passcode: 2e9V69

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. | Induction of Terry Carlisle and the late Art Guesman into the MPA Hall of Fame

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. | Live Auction with Aimsel Ponti and Awards Presentation & Celebration with Greg Rec, honoring winners of the 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, as well as the Individual Awards: Journalist of the Year, Advertising Person of the Year, Bob Drake Young Writer, and Unsung Hero.

The Silent Auction is Live: Once you’ve registered for the event, you can access the Silent Auction which will be open for bidding through conference day with a stop time of 9:00 p.m.

Live Auction items are also visible once you’ve registered. Take a look and get your auction paddle ready. Don’t forget to check out The MPA Store for 2020 commemorative logo wear and other fun items.

All proceeds of both Auctions and The MPA Store benefit the MPA Scholarship Fund and we’ve added a Donation button to the event site for those who choose to make a straight donation to the MPA Scholarship Fund.

A big thank you to our Conference Sponsors: Mitchell Tardy Jackson and Broadreach Public Relations


To learn more and to Register, go to: https://mpa.vehlovenue.com/

We look forward to seeing you at the 2020 MPA Conference.

9 Days Away: MPA Annual Conference

Maine Press Association Annual Conference

We’re 9 days away from the 2020 MPA Conference to be held October 24. There’s no question that we have endured a strange, challenging and remarkable year, so let’s get together and celebrate each other, albeit online!

Thanks to those of you who have already registered and we look forward to seeing more registrations as we get closer to the event. Register here: https://mpa.vehlovenue.com/

Your $20.00 registration fee includes access to all 10/24 Conference events and programming for the coming year.

10/24/20 Schedule of Events: 

9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (via Zoom) | Annual Business Meeting

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. | Induction of Terry Carlisle and the late Art Guesman into the MPA Hall of Fame

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. | Live Auction with Aimsel Ponti and Awards Presentation & Celebration with Greg Rec, honoring winners of the 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, as well as the Individual Awards: Journalist of the Year, Advertising Person of the Year, Bob Drake Young Writer, and Unsung Hero.

The Silent Auction is Live: Once you’ve registered for the event, you can access the Silent Auction. Thanks to those of you who have donated items to both the Silent & Live Auctions. We’ve set up the timeline so that folks can bid on items right up and through conference day with bidding set to close 10/24 at 9:00 p.m.

Live Auction items are also visible once you’ve registered.

The MPA Store is live and includes 2020 commemorative logo wear.

All proceeds of both Auctions and The Store benefit the MPA Scholarship Fund and we’ve added a Donation button to the event site for those who choose to make a straight donation to the MPA Scholarship Fund.

In Memoriam: We’d like to include an In Memoriam piece in the program and need your help. Please send a photo and brief by 10/15 for any MPA-related people who have passed away in the past year to Awards Presentation MC Greg Rec at grec@pressherald.com

A big thank you to our Conference Sponsors: Mitchell Tardy Jackson and Broadreach Public Relations


To learn more and to Register, go to: https://mpa.vehlovenue.com/

We look forward to seeing you at the 2020 MPA Conference.