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Maine Press Association to induct three into Hall of Fame

Three new members will enter the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame on October 22. Earl Brechlin and Chris and Paula Roberts have been selected by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee and will be inducted during the luncheon at this year’s Fall Conference.

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin had a distinguished career in Maine journalism that began in 1977 at the Bar Harbor Times. Brechlin got his start in the job shop hand-setting lead type. From there he went to the production darkroom, taking photos and writing a photo column. In 1981 he joined the newsroom staff as a reporter and was promoted to editor in 1983. Under his leadership the Times consistently earned general excellence press awards in Maine and New England.

In 2001 Brechlin, along with Ellsworth American publisher Alan Baker, founded a new, locally owned weekly newspaper on Mount Desert. With no reporters, no staff, no name and no design, the two got to work and the first edition of the Mount Desert Islander rolled off the presses six weeks later on November 15, 2001.

Under Brechlin’s leadership, the Islander earned first place among Maine small weeklies 12 out of its first 13 years, best in New England for several years and was honored by a first-place award from the National Newspaper Association.

Since 1981 Brechlin has been a member of the Maine Press Association in some form. He served as the association’s president four times along with 17 years on the board. In 1997 he was named Maine Journalist of the Year for a series of articles on financial improprieties at a local bank.

Earl retired from journalism in 2017, but only after receiving more than 150 individual awards for writing, photography, layout, news, featured videos and Freedom of Information.

Earl is a registered Maine Guide, the author of more than a dozen books on the outdoors and history of Maine and New England.

Chris and Paula Roberts

Chris & Paula Roberts

Christopher A. Roberts began life with ink in his veins, being born into the family business of running The Lincoln County News. As many children involved with family-run businesses, he was always at the shop, helping with operations as early as he was able.

While he always worked in some capacity at the paper, he started his career after graduating from the University of Maine, at the end of 1977. Over the 44-plus years, he would go on to lead the paper and make a huge impact on the company and the community it serves.

Paula Flagg met Chris while in high school at Lincoln Academy and they became sweethearts. They were engaged in 1977 and married on Nov. 25, 1978. Before Paula began her full-time career at the newspaper, she worked as a physical education teacher and raised two sons. She joined the staff part time in 1981 and became a full-time sports reporter in 1993.

Paula remains the newspaper’s sports reporter and photographer. She logs tens of thousands of miles a year as she crisscrosses the state to cover sports, mostly at the high school level. She routinely covers several games at different schools in the same evening. She has won awards for her photography and writing in the Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, including first place for Sports Photo in three of the last seven years.

Today, Chris is publisher of The Lincoln County News and president of Lincoln County Publishing Co., the newspaper’s parent company. He represents the fourth generation of the Erskine-Roberts family to own and publish The Lincoln County News. His great-grandfather, Samuel H. Erskine, published his first edition of the newspaper Dec. 9, 1920. He took over this role in 1992 from his father, Samuel E. Roberts.

Chris has overseen many changes during his time as publisher. The company upgraded its newspaper press in 2000, 2004 and in 2017 to allow for more color to flow onto its pages and has always ensured that production of the newspaper has been at the cutting edge. He has overseen the newspaper’s advancement into the digital age with a series of websites, the latest of which launched in 2016 and won first place in the 2018 Maine Press Association contest. He has also invested in new publications, like Lincoln County Magazine — another award-winning product now in its 18th year.

In addition to this year’s slate of inductees, we will also honor last year’s inductees–Dorothy “Dot” Roderick, Dieter Bradbury and Judy Meyer—who were unable to be recognized in-person after that portion of the conference was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Roderick, who will enter posthumously, was one of the first women advertising executives in the newspaper industry. Roderick worked 43 years for Gannett, starting in 1937 with the Central Maine Morning Sentinel and then transferring to Portland in 1940 to work for The Portland Press Herald, Evening Express and Sunday Telegram. Dot retired in 1980 from Gannett’s Portland newspapers and died on March 1, 2020, at the age of 101.

Bradbury, who retired from the Portland Press Herald last year, was hired part-time in 1980 for the Portland Press Herald’s afternoon paper, the Evening Express. Two years later, he became a full-time reporter for the Press Herald, covering the night cops beat and later was the environment reporter. For the last 10 years of his career, Bradbury directed the State House, political and election coverage and he shepherded some of the Herald’s top projects during his time as deputy managing editor.

Meyer began working for the Sun Journal as a freelancer out of the Norway (Maine) bureau, where she covered local selectmen’s meetings and breaking news in nearby towns. In 1996, she was hired full-time to run that bureau, and from there she rose swiftly through the ranks of one of the largest daily newspapers in Maine. Today, Meyer is responsible for overseeing the Sun Journal, the third-largest daily newspaper in Maine, as well as at a half-dozen weekly newspapers spread throughout Sun Media’s western Maine coverage area. She also serves as executive editor of the central Maine dailies: Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal.

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 induction ceremony, which takes place during the luncheon, are available by contacting MPA Executive Director Diane Norton at mainepressmail@gmail.com or 691-0131.

Nominations sought for 2022 MPA Hall of Fame

Nominations are now being accepted for 2022 inductees to the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, July 1.
Candidates must be Maine newspaper professionals who made lasting career contributions to their craft, in or out of the state. Members can be elected 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/

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 in care of Faith DeAmbrose at fdeambrose@mdislander.com. Questions can be directed to her or to Maine Press Association Executive Director Diane Norton at mainepressmail@gmail.com.

The 24th annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held October 22 at the MPA Fall Conference in Bar Harbor.

MPA Individual Award Nominations due July 8

It’s time to nominate your deserving staff and co-workers for the 2022 MPA Individual awards. Please email all nominations to maine@newspapercontest.com by July 8, 2022. Digital entries only, please. The 2022 winners will be announced at the MPA Fall Conference on Oct. 22 in Bar Harbor.

Here are the categories:

  • Unsung Hero Award: For any staff member, in any department, whose contributions to his or her newspaper have been essential but often overlooked. Nominations may include examples of the nominee’s work and letters from supervisors and/or co-workers detailing his or her contributions.
  • Advertising Person of the Year: For an advertising employee whose work has been truly distinguished over the course of a year or years. Candidates may have established unique marketing plans or stood out through other measures, such as sales record. Work samples may be included with a nomination letter.
  • Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award: For a full-time employee of a Maine Press Association member with fewer than three years of full-time experience in journalism as of July 8, 2022. A letter from the staffer’s supervisor must contain a review of the nominee’s experience and accomplishments. School or college newspaper experience does not count as full-time experience. Entries will be evaluated on writing quality, enterprise, imagination, thoroughness, balance, and general reporting. As many as six articles may be submitted. 
  • Journalist of the Year: For an exceptional news employee whose work has been truly distinguished over the previous year or a period of years. A reasonable number of news clips, photographs, or other samples of work must be included with a cover letter from the nominee’s editor or publisher. The nominee must be an employee of a member organization.

Jody Jalbert named publisher of the Sun Journal

The Sun Journal has named Jody Jalbert, a 34-year veteran of the Lewiston newspaper, to the role of publisher. 

The move hands Jalbert leadership of the Sun Journal and the Western Maine Weeklies. 

The promotion is particularly impressive considering that Jalbert began her career more than three decades ago taking classified ads over the phone.  That was in May 1988 and it was just a part-time gig. But over the next three decades, Jalbert rose through the ranks of the newspaper’s advertising department, ultimately becoming its vice president for advertising in 2018. 

Jalbert’s face is a familiar one to anyone who has worked for the newspaper at any level over the past three decades. “The Sun Journal deserves to have a local publisher,” said Lisa DeSisto, CEO of Masthead Maine, “and there’s no one better suited for this role.” Her colleagues, from the press crew to the news staff to those in leadership positions tend to agree. “Jody loves Lewiston and she loves the Sun Journal,” said Judith Meyer, executive editor of the Sun Journal and other papers. “Having her at the helm is good for our city and for our newspaper. She knows our readers very well, she knows our business and her support of our journalism is unwavering.” 

“I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by mentors and co-workers who fed my curiosity and allowed me to transition, learn and grow throughout my career,” Jalbert said. “I felt it important to know and understand the process — the details of each department’s handoff to the other, from the person meeting with an advertiser, design, paper layout, pagination, plating, printing, distribution and transportation to ensure advertisers and readers get the best possible product so they continue to support the mission of our newsroom.” 

We know it’s early, but we’re on it!

Every year, MPA holds its annual Scholarship Fund Auction to raise money that we turn around and give (100 percent!) to selected students enrolled in Maine higher education journalism programs.

The goal is to encourage more young journalists to join the profession, and every autumn, we distribute approximately $2,500 to 4,000 in scholarships.

The exact amount, however, depends on how successful our auction is, and this year, we are going BIG!

After two years of virtual conferences, MPA is banking that we gather together IN PERSON this coming October. That means we have the opportunity to make the MPA Scholarship Auctions — live and silent — one to beat the band.

That’s where you come in. Please put on your MPA auction thinking cap see what you might donate to the cause.

Ideas? Gift cards to shops, restaurants, pet sitting/grooming services and grocery stores; theme-based baskets; overnight stays at your camp (rustic to luxurious!); boat rides and picnics.

It doesn’t have to be fancy (yes, one year a member newspaper donated a box of toilet paper. Considering how lean our office budgets are these days; hell, a roll of toilet paper is gold), but we do want to raise some cash.

Email mainepressmail@gmail.com with ideas and questions, and we will get you the proper donation form. Don’t delay; no one likes the deadline blues!

Learn more about the Scholarship Fund and how it impacts aspiring Maine journalists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ7LBQHeHAc

2022 MPA Better Newspaper Contest: 2021 Publisher’s Statements needed by April 6

In an effort to balance the entrant count in the Weekly 1 and Weekly 2 Divisions, the MPA Contest Committee has adjusted the circulation requirement:

Weekly 1: Published fewer than five times per week with circulation or distribution from one to 1,999.

Weekly 2: Published fewer than five times per week with circulation or distribution of 2,000 or more.

Online-only members the Daily Bulldog, The Maine Monitor, and Pen Bay Pilot will remain in the Weekly 2 division while Spectrum News Maine will compete in the Daily division.

All entrants, with the exception of online-only members, must submit a copy of their Oct. 2021 Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation by April 6 so that we may verify your circulation and ensure each member is accounted for correctly in the Contest entry portal. (Free newspapers, please provide a print invoice from Oct. 2021 with documentation of your print run.) Once we have this information, we’ll reach out to weekly members with confirmation of their division. Email the statement/information to Executive Director Diane Norton at mainepressmail@gmail.com .

Legislative Committee Update | 2.3.22

The Maine Legislature Judiciary Committee voted Jan. 27, 2022 to table LD 1529, “Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Create a Right to Privacy.” The bill was introduced in May, 2021 and proposes changes to Article 1, §1 and §5, and the addition of §25, “Privacy.” The MPA Legislative Committee submitted testimony Jan. 24, 2022 opposing the bill, and maintains its stance after new amendments were since introduced which the committee feels do not address concerns for the future of journalists and information gathering.

The changes to Maine’s constitution would provide a natural right “of privacy” and protections against unreasonable search or access to “electronic data or electronic communications.” Original language provided for freedom from “governmental and private intrusion” which includes “a natural person’s interaction with an Internet, communication or other electronic data service does not diminish the natural person’s reasonable expectation of privacy.”

MPA Legislative Committee member Judy Meyer authored the testimony on behalf of MPA, New England First Amendment Coalition, the New England Newspaper & Press Association, the Maine Association of Broadcasters, the Society of Professional Journalists Maine and SPJ New England. The coalition felt the bill failed to adequately preserve First Amendment rights for news gathering organizations in its efforts to secure a right to privacy for all.

“People deserve privacy,” Meyer wrote, “but there must be a balance between privacy and public access, between shielding personal information and allowing businesses to use that information to serve customers, between privacy and First Amendment freedoms, and between blocking access to all private communications and thoughts – even if a person chooses to make private thoughts public on social media or other forums.”

The testimony suggested addressing governmental intrusion only, striking “private intrusion” for unintended consequences – as other states with similar provisions are experiencing – to organizations and individuals which collect data for the public good.
“If LD 1529 moves forward as written, and goes to referendum and is adopted, the Constitution can’t be overridden through legislation and the damage would be real … We ask that this Committee compare this overly broad language with the work being done in other states to protect individual privacy, and proceed with a more balanced approach, perhaps doing so through legislation that could be amended if or as needed.”
A recent amendment revealed a shorter passage designated for Article 1 §25, a provision the MPA still feels is inadequate for First Amendment protections: “All natural persons have an inherent right to privacy that is free from intrusion, including privacy of a natural person’s personal life, personal communications, private affairs and personal thoughts or inner life.”

The Judiciary Committee did not indicate when LD 1529 would return to its work session agendas.

Joe Charpentier
Boothbay Register

Maine Press Association awards $2,500 in scholarships

Emma H. Smith (L) and Meaghan Bellavance (R)

The Maine Press Association is delighted to announce the recipients of two journalism scholarships totaling $2,500. The recipients of the 2022 scholarships are Emma H. Smith and Meaghan Bellavance. 

Smith, a Bangor native, is currently in her fourth year of study at the University of Maine at Orono, working towards a Bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Communication and Journalism as well as Women’s, Gender and Sexuality studies. While interning at the Fox 22 / ABC 7 broadcast news station in Bangor, she fell in love with the newsroom and was inspired by the quick wit and genuine nature of those around her. Onwards, she wants to focus on her writing, and her dreams include publishing books with historical narratives, as well as working on investigative projects to uncover and write about long-awaited truths. 

Bellavance, is a fifth-year student at the University of Maine at Orono. A native of Danielson, a small town in the quiet corner of Connecticut, she is currently studying to earn a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Journalism and Anthropology. She is the Culture Editor for Maine Campus, UMaine’s student newspaper of record since 1875. After graduation this coming May, her career goal is to become a multimedia journalist and become fully immersed in the journalism 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. 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 2023 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.

The Portland Press Herald, the Portland Phoenix, and The Camden Herald among MPA winners

CAMDEN, Maine, November 13, 2021 –The Portland Press Herald, the Portland Phoenix, The Camden Herald, and the Maine Sunday Telegram have been honored by the Maine Press Association for General Excellence in print newspapers.

The Portland Press Herald, The Maine Monitor, and the Boothbay Register 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 awards presentation, this year held virtually due to COVID-19.

Dorothy “Dot” Roderick, one of the first women advertising executives in the newspaper industry; Dieter Bradbury, a force in Maine journalism for more than four decades; and Judy Meyer, executive editor for Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel and a fierce advocate for First Amendment rights, were selected by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee as the 2021 inductees. Due to the decision to forego this year’s in-person conference, the formal induction ceremony will be held at next year’s MPA Conference, Oct. 22, in Bar Harbor.

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

The contest judges, who hailed from The South Dakota Press Association, wrote of The Portland Press Herald, “Clearly the class of this division. Front page designs are attractive and leave no doubt about the day’s top story. It features a robust editorial page with local editorials and an attractive sports page…. The writing ranges from professional to first-rate.”

“There’s not much getting done on Sundays in Portland for the readers of this newspaper,”  said the judges about the Maine Sunday Telegram. “It’s stuffed with ads and sections that feature stories from staff writers in each one. The sports news pops off the page. Headlines are solid and photos are crisp.”

In the Weekly 1 division, for newspapers with less than 3,000 print circulation, The Camden Herald took the top prize. Judges said, “This is a newsy, well-written newspaper. The front pages are attractive…It has lively opinion pages and a first-rate sports section.” The Weekly 2 winner, the Portland Phoenix, was lauded for its differences. “Unlike many tab-sized newspapers, this one does not overload its front page, opting to take an attractive magazine approach. The writing here is superb.”

The Camden Herald and The Lincoln County News won the Freedom of Information first-place award in the Weekly 1 and Weekly 2 divisions, respectively, while Bangor Daily News took top honors in the Daily/Weekend division.

Samantha Hogan of The Maine Monitor was named the Journalist of the Year and Jane Patriquin of the Portland Press Herald was the Advertising Person of the Year.

Emily Bader, formerly of the Lakes Region Weekly and now of the Sun Journal, won the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, and Keith Taylor of MaineToday Media was honored by the MPA as the Unsung Hero of the Year.

A complete list of 2021 award winners will be posted later this week on the MPA’s website.

The Maine Press Association (MPA), founded in 1864, is one of the oldest professional news organizations in the nation. Learn more at www.mainepressassociation.org.