Maine Press Association Invites YOU to the 2020 Annual Conference

Maine Press Association Annual Conference
We’re pleased to announce that registration is now LIVE for the 2020 MPA Conference, to be held online 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!
Your $20 registration fee includes access to all the Oct. 24 Conference events and programming for the coming year.
Oct. 24 Schedule of Events 
9 – 9:30 a.m.
Annual Business Meeting (to be held via Zoom; log-in details to follow)

10 to 11 a.m.
Annual Hall of Fame Ceremony
Induction of Terry Carlisle and the late Art Guesman into the MPA Hall of Fame

4 – 6 p.m. 
Auction and Awards Ceremony

Join us at 4 p.m. for our annual Live Auction with our lively and entertaining Auctioneer Aimsel Ponti. This important auction raises money for MPA’s Scholarship Fund, helping to build the ranks with educated and trained journalists.

The Live Auction will be followed by the annual MPA Awards Ceremony, with Esteemed Host Greg Rec. Get ready to sit back in your favorite armchair and enjoy it all.

The Awards Presentation & Celebration will honor the 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.

Stay Tuned!
Coming later this week, we will launch the online MPA Silent Auction to benefit the MPA Scholarship Fund and the MPA Store, where you can purchase all kinds of branded MPA gear and other fun logo wear…. INCLUDING the commemorative 2020 Logo Wear — Year 2020 was wild, unforgettable, and we all pulled together as journalists to keep the public informed.

We’ve also added a Donation button to the event site for those who choose to make a straight donation to the MPA Scholarship Fund.

To learn more and to Register, go to:

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


Maine Press Association to induct two into Hall of Fame

Two new members will enter the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame on October 24. Terry Carlisle and Arthur Guesman have been selected by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee and will be inducted during the association’s annual Fall Conference.


When it came to journalism, the late Arthur Guesman worked to promote respect and ethics in all aspects of the industry and appreciated what freedom of speech and press really means. He began his career delivering newspapers as a child and then selling newspaper advertising as a young adult. He spent the next 20 years as a professor of journalism at the University of Maine in Orono, advising the next generation of journalists on the ethics and hard work that goes into respecting and maintaining freedom of speech and press.

As a professor, he advised over 100 students each year. He was the faculty advisor of the Maine Campus newspaper, which under his direction took the paper from a weekly to a daily and helped students and the paper win many awards along the way, including best newspaper in the east. He developed and led mass media communications classes to England and the Soviet Union to examine the fundamental differences in journalism based on the freedoms of the press or lack thereof. Guesman died in 2007.

An Ellsworth native, Terry Carlisle started working at The American in 1978, as secretary to former Publisher James Russell Wiggins. She later worked in accounts receivable before going into sales. She was promoted to advertising manager in 1988. At the time, the sales staff stayed in the office and waited for customers to come to them. Terry turned that approach on its head. She grew the sales team, established territories and pushed for ad reps to get out into the business community. The newspaper’s revenue doubled during her tenure in the position.

In 1995, Carlisle was promoted to marketing director with added responsibility for circulation. In 2000, she was named general manager in charge of all business operations. Smart, bold and innovative, Carlisle has shepherded the papers through many changes over the years. She is a past president of the Maine Press Association and was honored as Advertising Person of the Year by the MPA in 1996. She has also been a New England News and Press Association board member and served as president of the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, the governing board of Woodlawn. She retired in 2019.

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

Tickets to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony (to be held virtually this year) are available by contacting MPA Executive Director Diane Norton at or 691-0131.

MPA seeking nominations to 2020 Hall of Fame

Nominations are being taken for 2020 inductees to the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame. The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 3.

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:

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. Please be prepared to submit all nominations and supporting materials in an electronic format so the committee can access them remotely.

Nominations can be sent to the committee chair:
Faith DeAmbrose

Questions may be directed to Faith DeAmbrose or to Executive Director Diane Norton at

The 23rd annual induction ceremony will be held October 24 at the MPA Fall Conference in Bar Harbor.

MPA Signs Statement on Government Coronavirus Emergency Transparency

The Maine Press Association, along with the Maine Broadcasters Association and the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition, have joined other trade, academic and civil liberty organizations around the country in signing and sending a joint statement to state and national governmental groups that emphasizes the right to government emergency transparency and public access.

The letter grew from the National Freedom of Information Coalition, a Florida-based nonprofit that promotes press freedom, legislative and administrative reforms and litigation to ensure open, transparent and accessible state and local governments and public institutions.

“One hundred and thirty-two organizations representing diverse constituencies and political ideologies agree that our democracy and democratic practices should not be obstructed in the interest of streamlining deliberations and decision making by our governing bodies in this time of crisis,” the NFOIC said.

The statement, which can be found in full here, reads in part:
“Government bodies should not opportunistically take advantage of the public’s inability to attend large gatherings to make critical decisions affecting the public’s interest if those decisions can reasonably be postponed. Just as citizens are being asked to defer nonessential travel and errands, so should government agencies defer noncritical policy-making decisions until full and meaningful public involvement can be guaranteed. Where postponement is not realistic, every available measure should be taken to (1) notify the public of meetings of government bodies and how to participate in those meetings remotely, (2) use widely available technologies to maximize real-time public engagement, and (3) preserve a viewable record of proceedings that is promptly made accessible online.”

MPA advocates for, receives assurance of essential status

Like other press associations around the country, the Maine Press Association has shared a growing concern that newspapers/news outlets would be designated as nonessential businesses.

To ensure that would not happen, Board President J.W. Oliver wrote a compelling letter to Gov. Janet Mills, asking the state to exempt our members from restrictions on business activities, which was delivered last week by Chris Jackson of Mitchell Tardy Jackson.

Those efforts produced the good news over the weekend: The Maine press would be exempt from an executive order for the closure of nonessential businesses.

The Maine Press Association needs contest judges!

Every year, the Maine Press Association judges a newspaper contest from another state in exchange for the other state judging Maine’s contest. This year, we will judge the Oklahoma Press Association’s contest. The judging will take place in late February and early March.

Judging involves a time commitment, usually a few hours.

Many judges find it interesting to review entries from other states and gratifying to reward other newspaper professionals for outstanding work.

If you are willing to serve as a judge, please email J.W. Oliver, chair of the Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, at

J.W. will contact you shortly with a brief survey regarding your category preferences.

Maine Press Association awards $5K in scholarships

The Maine Press Association is awarding $5,000 in scholarships to five journalism students this month.

Recipients of 2020 scholarships are Hailey Bryant, of Gorham, a senior at the University of Maine and part-time employee of the Bangor Daily News; Olivia Shipsey, of Old Town, a senior at the University of Maine and editor-in-chief of the Maine Campus; Leela Stockley, of Orono, a junior at the University of Maine and contributor to the Maine Campus; Elizabeth Theriault, of Orono, a senior at the University of Maine and opinion section editor for the Maine Campus; and Amelia Bodge, of Sanford, a junior at the University of Southern Maine and contributor to USM’s Free Press.

Bryant was a recipient in 2019 as well. The other 2019 recipient, Nina Mahaleris, now works for a Maine Press Association member newspaper, The Penobscot Times.

“We wish all of the recipients luck as they complete their studies and pursue careers in Maine journalism,” said J.W. Oliver, president of the Maine Press Association Board of Directors. “It gives us special pride this year to award scholarships to several students who have connections to our member newspapers, as employees, interns, and even a newspaper carrier.”

“These students will start their careers at a challenging time for the industry, both from an economic standpoint and as newspapers come under attack daily from politicians who would like nothing more than to see us become extinct,” Oliver said. “We hope these scholarships encourage them as much as their passion for journalism encourages us for the future of our industry.”

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, but the $5,000 amount and the five recipients greatly exceed figures from recent years.

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 2021 scholarship, contact scholarship committee Chair Sindhu Manjesh at

Established in 1864, the Maine Press Association works to protect the freedom of the press and the public’s right to know, and to promote and foster high ethical standards in journalism.

2020 Camden Conference focused on ‘The Media Revolution: Changing the World’

The 2020 Camden Conference will include a range of exciting speakers, including Maria Ressa who is executive editor of Rappler, an online news site in the Philippines.

Ressa is one of the most highly-regarded journalists in the Philippines. She spent two decades working as an investigative reporter, foreign correspondent and both Manila and Jakarta Bureau Chief for CNN. She then headed the news division of the Philippines biggest TV news channel, ABS-CBN.

In 2012, she and three fellow female journalists came together to form Rappler, an online news platform with an ethos similar to a tech start-up, operating with a small team of 12 young reporters and developers. It was the first of its kind in the Philippines, and while initially seen as a site primarily for young readers, through the power of social media it has grown into the fourth biggest news website in the Philippines with over 100 journalists. Rappler also works as a fact-checker for Facebook in the Philippines in the fight against fake news.

Ressa was among the journalists named Time Person of the Year 2018, as well as numerous other prestigious journalism awards.
Other speakers will address: Where people around the world get their news and information;  the power and vulnerability of social media in political and social movements; the role of images in shaping awareness and understanding of political and social issues; journalism as a public service; rebuilding trust in media; fighting for freedom of speech and press under an authoritarian regime; personal and professional dangers facing journalists; and cyberwarfare, past and future.

For more information on the Conference and biographies of the speakers visit

Registration for the conference is open on the website or by calling the office at (207) 236-1034.

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:

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