Maine Secretary of State’s office seeks help for student mock elections

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Greetings, esteemed members of the Maine media:

In this high-profile election year, we at the Secretary of State’s office are beginning to discuss plans for this year’s Student Mock Election and are mulling a “media in politics” theme for the event.

We are looking for partners in this effort, so if you have any ideas or resources that relate to the political process and the media’s role, that would be great to share.

We also know that transportation to the event (which takes place in Augusta) can be a significant barrier for schools, so we are asking media outlets statewide to consider a contest or other sort of sponsorship promotion that would award a school group by covering the costs for them to attend the Mock Election.

This bi-annual event covers elementary through high school and we’re just starting to nail down the details and brainstorm great ideas for activities that will get Maine youth excited about voting. Thank you for your consideration and I hope to follow up with you soon to discuss some ideas if your media outlet is interested in participating.


Kristen Schulze Muszynski

Director of Communications

Department of the Secretary of State

148 State House Station

Augusta, ME 04333

Office: 207-626-8404

Cell: 207-441-7638

Lincoln County News names next editor


JW Oliver

The Lincoln County News Publisher Chris Roberts has named Deputy Editor J.W. Oliver the next editor of the newspaper.
Oliver will move into the role upon the departure of Editor Sherwood Olin, who announced his resignation in an editorial last week. Olin plans to step down in late February.
Oliver, 31, grew up in South Bristol. He is a ninth-generation resident of Lincoln County. Except for a partial kindergarten year at South Bristol School, he is a product of home schooling from kindergarten through high school.
Oliver holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Maine at Farmington, where he also studied journalism and feature writing and was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper as a senior.
The Lincoln County News hired Oliver in May 2010 to cover the towns of Alna, Dresden, Edgecomb, Westport Island, and Wiscasset. He has since reported from every town in the county, as well as Hibbert’s Gore and Monhegan Plantation.
His byline is most familiar to readers in Bristol, Damariscotta, Newcastle, and South Bristol, where he was assigned from September 2010 until his promotion to deputy editor in May 2014.
As deputy editor, Oliver assists in the management of the news staff, edits staff work and outside submissions, and remains active as a reporter.
Shortly after becoming deputy editor, Oliver spearheaded the newspaper’s ongoing partnership with the Bangor Daily News with the intention of better informing readers about statewide issues.
As a reporter, he oversaw the newspaper’s successful return to competition in the Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest after a long absence. The newspaper has collected 33 awards in the last three years of the contest.
“I am grateful to Sherwood for giving me an opportunity as a rookie reporter in 2010, and I am grateful to the Roberts family for entrusting me with the leadership of the newsroom,” Oliver said.
“I have deep roots in Lincoln County and The Lincoln County News has always been part of my life,” Oliver said. “I am dedicated to continuing to serve our readers, preserving the 139-year legacy of this newspaper, and strengthening it as we continue to confront the challenges and embrace the opportunities presented by changes across the industry.”
The Lincoln County News Publisher Chris Roberts said he is pleased to announce the hire.
“We are happy to have as our next editor someone who shares our family’s commitment to serve the community,” Roberts said. “J.W. has a strong sense of fairness, and we believe he has the skills, vision, and work ethic to lead the newsroom forward.”
Oliver represents the newspaper on the Maine Press Association Board of Directors and sits on the association’s contest, legislative, and scholarship committees.
Outside the office, he likes to spend time with family and play basketball. He manages and plays for The Lincoln County News-sponsored team in the men’s league at The First Baptist Church of Waldoboro.
Oliver lives in South Bristol with his wife, Rachael Oliver, and their 4-month-old son, Harrison.

Full-Time Reporter

The Boothbay Register is seeking a full-time reporter for the Boothbay region, with a focus on municipal/town/school boards, community organizations/events, spot/breaking news beats.
Applicants with news journalism experience and/or a degree in journalism will be considered first. Experience with word processing, content management systems and social media will be key applicant considerations. Ability to work in a dynamic, distributed team environment with command of a journalistic writing style and positive, objective attitude are a must.
Please send a cover letter, references, writing samples to or by mail to Boothbay Register, c/o Human Resources, 97 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538

Rhoades to retire from Sun Journal

Rex Rhoades

LEWISTON — Rex Rhoades, the executive editor of the Sun Journal, will retire from his position on April 1 after 40 years in the newspaper business. About half of that career was spent as executive editor of the Lewiston paper.

The Costello family, who owns the newspaper, has named Managing Editor Judith Meyer as the new executive editor.

“I have had the good fortune of working at four newspapers in four states, and I owe much to my wife, Luanne, who never said ‘no’ and who always made a better life for our family, and a better career for herself, in each new place,” Rhoades said. READ MORE

Press Herald’s Mike Lowe named Maine Sportswriter of the Year

Mike Lowe

Mike Lowe, a staff writer with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, has been named Maine Sportswriter of the Year for 2015 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

It marks the second consecutive year a Press Herald reporter has won the honor. Last year, Mark Emmert was named Maine Sportswriter of the Year. He and Lowe were the two finalists for the award in 2015.

Lowe, who has worked for the Press Herald since 1982, was selected for the honor through a nomination and balloting process among NSSA members. He covers the New England Patriots, along with high school and college sports.

New managing editor appointed for the Journal Tribune


BIDDEFORD — The Journal Tribune recently appointed veteran journalist Rod Harmon to the position of managing editor. Journal Tribune Publisher Devin Hamilton was thrilled to bring in Harmon, who brings 25 years of experience with him.

“We are excited that a community-minded editor of Rod’s caliber is joining our team,” said Hamilton. “Rod brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the newsroom, including serving as an editor for several years in Maine.”

Harmon, who has worked for newspapers in Illinois and Florida, was an assistant managing editor at the Portland Press Herald for six years before being promoted to executive editor of the Coastal Journal in Bath in 2013.

Harmon started his own freelance consulting and public relations business in January and has been specializing in helping non-profits and small businesses in Maine and New England.

Harmon is ready to help bring the Journal Tribune to the next level. “I saw an opportunity here. There is a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of potential for growth – especially under new publisher Devin Hamilton,” said Harmon. “I like challenges and I like the opportunity to help a product realize its full potential.”

Hamilton believes with Harmon’s leadership the Journal Tribune is positioned to become an even bigger asset to the community – from both the digital side, which includes a new website, and an improved print edition. “We are set for a tremendous 2016. Rod joins our associate editor, Dina Mendros, in leading the way to strengthen our media presence in York County,” said Hamilton.

Harmon lives in Freeport with his wife, Martha, and his daughter, Rachel, who is an eighth-grader at Freeport Middle School. Since moving to Maine in 2007, Harmon says his family has made several trips to York County. “We’ve done the usually touristy things since moving to Maine – Old Orchard Beach, Ogunquit beach, Ogunquit Playhouse. We love the playhouse, we try to go to at least one production there a year. Sometimes we make our way down to the Kennebunks to do some shopping or some sightseeing,” said Harmon.

Harmon is ready to start exploring the rest of the area and getting to know the Journal Tribune community. “I’m excited to be here, and I’m looking forward to meeting new people in the community,” said Harmon.

MTM hires two

Maine Today Media recently announced two new addition to their team

Shamus Alley
Shamus Alley

Shamus Alley joined the web development team earlier this month as the Director of Digital Design, replacing Peter Vachon. A graduate of the Maine College of Art, Shamus is a skilled artist, interactive web designer and web developer. He’s managed his own design firm and worked with clients such as Allagash Brewing, Pierce Promotions and Kate Lowry Designs. Shamus has experience in digital agencies, with roles such as creative director, front end developer and art director. He was a staff writer/interactive creative director for Rescue Magazine and most recently was a front end developer/designer for Page One web solutions.

Jason Pafundi
Jason Pafundi

Jason Pafundi joins the Kennebec Journal news team as a reporter, replacing Paul Koenig. Jason has several years’ experience in news and media; freelancing as a sports writer for the St. Pete Times, reporter for the Queens Tribute (Australian publication), was a media relations associate for the New York Rangers, and most recently was a reporter for the Daily Journal corporation in L.A. Jason had been doing some freelancing for the Press Herald before being hired at the KJ. Jason holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Florida.

Analysis category contest results found


After giving up hope and writing this category off as a loss, the judge finally came through. Congratulations to the winners. See results and judges comments below.

Category: Analysis-Daily/Weekend

1st – Maine Sunday Telegram: “Tax relief scarce in school consolidations”

Comments: A very impressive – and thorough – analysis piece which looks at the state’s consolidation issue – and history. All the angles were covered here. The chart and timeline were added pluses. I also liked that there was no determination of positive or negatives – just data and experiences.

2nd – Morning Sentinel: “Ayla Reynolds Case: Three Years Later”

Comments: This piece was gripping and walked readers through the entire case, including sidebars of all the people involved in the tragedy. The map and extensive – full page! – timeline was very comprehensive.

3rd – Sun Journal: “Out-of-Control Kids”

Comments: This is a solid offering about a complicated issue facing schools, parents, and clinicians today. The writer spent worthwhile time building – and sharing – the complicated health crisis with readers. It’s always good to add resource info, too.

Category: Analysis-Weekly 1

1st – The Camden Herald: “Family Asks ‘what-if’ in pharmacy robbery”

Comments: A very good piece by the writer. It’s clear he spent time with the family and police reports to tell the story. Quite heartbreaking, actually.

2nd – The Weekly Packet: “Is downtown Blue Hill dying – or just changing?”

Comments: While the question never really gets answered, a lot of folks in town had stuff to say about their community’s main drag. The writer touches all the bases in this piece.

3rd – York County Coast Star: “Worker visas move forward”

Comments: A nice overview of how vital foreign workers are to the tourism trade in the region. Nice job!

Category: Analysis-Weekly 2

1st – “The ‘gatekeepers’: Ten wealthy Mainers giving $3.95 million to this election”

Comments: A great team effort here looking at the top political donors in the state. Exhaustingly researched and compiled. More news orgs should really put the time and effort into sharing this information so that their readers know who is pulling the political purse strings.

2nd – Pen Bay Pilot: “In aftermath of Rite Aid standoff and death, Camden Police investigate gun history”

Comments: A thorough overview of a terrible tragedy all around. The writer was able to look at some different angles with the story which gave it solid footing and reader insight.

3rd – The Courier-Gazette: “Our new generation of veterans”

Comments: A very good piece, with heart and insight, from those who have served in the modern era. The reporter clearly was able to gain the comfort of the sources which is not an easy task.

Maine Today Media hires four

Melanie Sochan Lawlor
Melanie Sochan Lawlor

Melanie Sochan Lawlor joins the marketing team as a part time creative services photographer. Melanie has many years’ experience as a professional photographer. She was a staff photographer at the Tribune Chronicle in Ohio and Saginaw News in Michigan. Since coming to the east coast, Melanie has been a self-employed, owning her own photography business.

Sam Bonsey
Sam Bonsey

Sam Bonsey joins the Portland newsroom as a part time news clerk. Sam is a recent graduate from the University of Maine-Orono, obtaining his bachelor’s degree in journalism. Sam was an intern with the sports staff at the BDN.

Gina Johnson joins the South Portland distribution team as a part time distribution assistant and Michael Hodgkin joins the South Portland circulation team as a part time field services representative.

(sorry, no pictures of Gina and Michael available.)