MTM announces new appointments, assignments

   MaineToday Media Inc. has hired a digital media pioneer to help continue the newspaper company’s transformation into a multi-platform information organization.
   Tim Archambault, a native Mainer with 13 years of experience in online innovation and technology, is the company’s new vice president of new media and digital operations.
    His appointment is one of several personnel changes announced on July 7 by Richard Connor, chief executive officer of MaineToday Media, which publishes The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, the weekly Coastal Journal in Bath and their affiliated websites.
   Connor noted Archambault’s broad experience in online publishing, most recently as director of new media innovation and technology for Herald Communications, a Utah-based subsidiary of Lee Enterprises, which publishes news and advertising in 53 U.S. markets.
   Archambault led digital media efforts for one daily newspaper, 10 weekly newspapers, an on-demand television station, a cable television station and associated websites. Before that, he was online manager for the Bangor Daily News from 1997 to 2008, when he led various efforts to develop website content, attract readers and increase advertising revenue.
   “Tim has literally been a pioneer in the field of new technology and new media,” Connor said. “Tim will be leading us into uncharted but exciting and promising waters in online and web information delivery.”
   Archambault was born in Lewiston, grew up in Brewer and lives in Holden with his family. He graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1993, followed by a master’s degree in 2001.
   At MaineToday Media, he will work closely with the advertising, news and information technology departments to develop products and partnerships that will drive readers, revenue and market opportunities to the company’s various websites, Connor said.
   Hari Thummalapalli is the new chief information officer for MaineToday Media. Connor initially hired Thummalapalli six months ago to direct the relocation of all information technology functions for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram when it moved last month from 390 Congress St. to One City Center.
   Thummalapalli graduated from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1995 with a master’s degree in aerospace engineering.
   He is an educator, entrepreneur and technology specialist who has worked in the automotive, airline, health care, finance and software industries. He is now dividing his time between Maine and his family’s home in Austin, Texas.
   Pamela Cassidy has been named the company’s director of promotions. She will work on various marketing and promotion projects and be responsible for maintaining and growing readership in various media platforms.
   Sharon Leeman has been named customer care manager, a position held previously by Cassidy. Leeman has more than 20 years of experience in the field, the last four as home delivery manager.
   Bill Wardwell has been named home delivery manager. Wardwell comes from The Record in Bergen County, N.J. Before that, he held key supervisory positions in the mailroom and pressroom of The Providence Journal.

Colby Lovejoy Journalism Award goes to Corchado

   Alfredo Corchado, the Mexico bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News, is this year’s recipient of Colby College’s Lovejoy Journalism Award.
   The Waterville college will present the award on Sept. 26.
Corchado will visit the Colby campus for several days to give a lecture, participate in a panel discussion and meet with students from the college who are interested in journalism.
   According to a press release from Colby, Corchado has reported on violence, organized crime and government corruption on the border of the United States and Mexico, as well as the resulting effect on journalism in the area, including a silenced local press and kidnapped reporters.
   Born in Durango, Mexico, Corchado was raised in California and Texas and now lives in Mexico City, according to the release. He graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1987 and since has received honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University.
   The Lovejoy Award was established in honor of former Colby student Elijah Parish Lovejoy, a publisher in the 1830s who supported abolition   and was eventually killed because of his beliefs.   Colby started giving out the award in 1952 and its recipients include Halberstam, Pearl and former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham.
    Last year, the award was given to Paul Salopek, who was detained in Darfur while reporting in the war-torn African nation.
    A selection committee that included editors from some of the nation’s most influential newspapers chose Corchado from a pool of about 20 nominees, according to Sandy Maisel, the director of Colby’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement and a member of the selection committee.

Unlocking the power of public records

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) recently sponsored a very informative seminar in Portland on access to public records.  This was much more than a “what does the law say” type of presentation, according to MPA legal counsel Sigmund Schutz. Instead, the focus was on practical techniques to get and use public access to records.
The presenter graciously agreed to share the contents with the MPA.
Unlocking the Power of Public Records 2010

Newspaper asks for ruling on document request

AUGUSTA — The Kennebec Journal wants a judge to order the state to provide documents it received in John Richardson’s effort to get public funding for his gubernatorial run.
MaineToday Media, owner of the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, Morning Sentinel in Waterville and the Portland Press Herald, filed a complaint  in Kennebec County Superior Court against the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices after it refused to release records.
The ethics panel says the documents are confidential by statute because they involve intelligence and investigative information, and because they have been referred to the Attorney General’s Office.
The appeal is brought under the state’s Freedom of Access Act and seeks an expedited hearing. No hearing was set as of May 21.

Village Soup rejoins Maine Press Association

After a one-year hiatus, the Village Soup newspapers have rejoined the Maine Press Association. The group includes the Republican Journal in Belfast, the Capital Weekly in Augusta, the Bar Harbor Times and the Herald-Gazette serving the Camden-Rockland area.
With a strong emphasis on multi-media, Village Soup was honored with a Knight News Challenge award in 2007 when they began using a digital platform in open-source code so that other communities easily could start online news sites.
Richard Anderson is the founder of Village Soup while Ron Belyea serves as president and chief operating officer.

Muhs, Grant promoted at MaineToday Media

Angie Muhs has been promoted from deputy managing editor to managing editor at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram; and Joe Grant has been promoted from assistant sports editor to sports editor.
The announcement was made last week by Executive Editor and VP of MaineToday Media Scott Wasser.
Muhs now has oversight for all city desk, business, sports and features reporting as well as photography, page design and copy editing for the print and online edition of the two publications.
She joined The Press Herald/Sunday Telegram in 2005 as assistant managing editor, initially for the copy desk and late for the features and online departments. Prior to her arrival in Maine, she worked at The State in Columbia, S.C.; the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and the Miami Herald.
Grant was named assistant sports editor last fall after serving on both the sports and news copy desks. His primary responsibility was expanding and enhancing the two papers’ high school sports coverage, which he did well enough to help the sports sections earn a national award in the Associated Press Sports Editors’ annual contest.
Grant joined The Press Herald/Sunday Telegram as a part-timer in 2002 following a pair of full-time stints in Central Maine 1990-96 and 1997-2000.
He also worked in Rockland and Lewiston and gained full-time status in Portland in April 2008.

Hews joins MPA Board of Directors

Lee Hews, the founder and president of Current Publishing, has been appointed to the Maine Press Association Board of Directors.
Thanks to a by-law change enacted at the November 2009 annual meeting, the number of MPA directors may vary from seven to 15. One seat is reserved for an associate member and another one is designated for a member representing the University of Maine’s Journalism Department.
Hews began her newspaper career in 1987 as the assistant classified manager with the Portland Newspapers (then Guy Gannett Publishing).
She was promoted to special sections manager and then group sales manager before leaving in February of 1996 for the advertising director’s position at the York County Coast Star. Hews was eventually promoted to general manager overseeing the Star and York Weekly.
The first issue of the Current was published on September 13, 2001. Since that time, Current Publishing has grown to six weeklies, one monthly, two bi-monthly, one seasonal tourist magazine and what Hews describes as an “extremely active online community” at
Hews has four daughters, four dogs, two cats and resides in Scarborough with her partner, Brian.

Levesque retires from St. John Valley Times

Longtime St. John Valley Times icon Don Levesque has retired after more than 25 years at the newspaper. Levesque held almost every position at the newspaper, from ad salesperson to business manager and from managing editor to publisher.
As publisher, Levesque advocated for the Valley as a unique cultural asset to the state and the world. His work in promoting Franco-American and Acadian culture will always be remembered, as will his commitment to the truth and to serving his community.
Levesque joined the St. John Valley Times in 1985, hired as an advertising sales representative by then-Publisher Barry Stokes. He was named advertising manager then general manager shortly thereafter, in addition to selling ads throughout the Valley.  Levesque became a reporter-photographer in 1988 and, during the same year, was named managing editor in addition to his duties as general manager and reporting from the greater Madawaska area.
Levesque was named publisher/editor in 1996 when ill health forced then-Publisher/Editor Emery “Legs” Labbe to step down. Labbe had been publisher for 10 years.
Publishers prior to Labbe were Barry Stokes, 1980-1986; Forrest Rahrig, 1971-1980; and founder Joe Falter, 1957-1971.
Levesque continues to contribute his popular weekly column “Mon 5 cents” to the Valley Times and is now working toward bringing a successful World Acadian Congress to the Valley in 2014. He also offers his time to the Levesque Association and Le Club Francais.
Tessie Dubois stepped into the publisher position in January, bringing fresh ideas and an equally strong commitment to the St. John Valley Times.
Dubois has worked for newspapers in New Hampshire, New York and Maine, including the St. John Valley Times where 20 years ago she had been recruited by Labbe to work as a reporter for Levesque. More recently, she attained her MBA in Organizational Management in 2007. Upon her decision to move back to Maine, she worked as a Research and Development Specialist at Northern Maine Development Commission before deciding to rejoin the St. John Valley Times.
Since that time, General Assignment Reporter Tory Bonenfant of Verret, New Brunswick has joined the St. John Valley Times team just as new, state-of-the-art computers replaced the majority of computers at the Times, bringing the paper forward 10 years in technology.

Ellis, Turner leaving Maine Today Media

Glenn Turner, who has held a variety of management and editorial positions at the Central Maine Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal over the past 37 years, has taken advantage of a termination officer and will leave March 31.
So will Justin Ellis, the host of NXT: The Next Generation blog at the Press Herald.
“The plan and its timing afford me a chance to explore new opportunities,” Turner wrote in an e-mail to his colleagues on Monday. “Personally and professionally, I believe this is the right thing to do. But don’t think I won’t miss you all.”
Turner’s latest assignment was special sections editor for the two dailies. He also served as president of the Maine Press Association in 1992-93.
Maine Today Media had previously announced several cutbacks at all three of its daily newspapers – the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Central Maine Morning Sentinel – in order to trim expenses.
Ellis, who has been with the Portland paper since 2003, made his announcement on March 17.
Referring to Maine Today Media’s announcement last month that another round of staff reductions was looming, Ellis said that since the company was looking for “willing bodies (to accept a buyout), I volunteered.”
“Even though I’ll be sticking around Press Herald Plaza till the end of the month, I wanted to drop the news first before anyone else got around to it.” 
Although Ellis wrote that the NXT desk “will likely close its doors,” no announcement from MTM was made about the future of the blog.
Ellis presented a social networking workshop at the 2009 Maine Press Association Fall Conference.