Media Mutt Blog Archive 2010
Letting Leigh lie: As reported here last week, the Portland Press Herald dismissed freelance columnist Leigh Donaldson after discovering he had borrowed liberally and without attribution from another writer’s work for an August 2 piece about scams against the elderly.
Confused news: Early on August 8, state Rep. Sean Flaherty of Scarborough was arrested for driving while intoxicated, after he crashed his car on Interstate 295 in Freeport. The next day, the Portland Press Herald reported the incident in a news brief.
No numbers … for one day: The Arbitron ratings for Portland radio stations were released to subscribers on August 10, but, in a break from past practice, the figures weren’t made public. The numbers from the spring survey of listeners are being “embargoed,” according to one station general manager who asked not to be identified, because “half the market is not subscribing [to Arbitron] this year.”
Ethical lapse: According to an editor’s note in the August 9 Portland Press Herald, the paper has permanently parted ways with local columnist Leigh Donaldson.
The note says Donaldson’s August 2 column headlined “Increased vulnerability to scams is a disease of old age” (the piece is no longer posted on the paper’s Web site) contained “a substantial amount of content” taken without attribution from material originally published on AlterNet.org.
The Maine media seems to have serious blind spots in their coverage of any group claiming to do good works. Whether it’s shipping medical supplies to Haiti, providing specialized care to children in China, or raising funds for a cancer-care center here at home, news outlets tend to trip all over themselves to provide services normally associated with lobbyists and public-relations flacks.
Real reporting, but not much of it: On August 2, Gov. John Baldacci announced several nominations for important posts that should have gotten even an average reporter’s journalism glands secreting. That’s because at least two of the nominees came with some serious baggage.
But with the exception of the Bangor Daily News’ Kevin Miller, no reporters bothered to follow up.
On July 30, the Bangor Daily News ran an op-ed by former state controller Edward Karass questioning some of the claims made by Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage. In the piece, Karass delves into LePage’s assertions that as mayor of Waterville, he cut property taxes and improved the city’s bond rating.
WVOM takes a hit from the hits: The spring 2010 Arbitron ratings for the Bangor market have been released, and they show a change in the number two slot.
Only one winner: For some time, Matthew Stone of the Kennebec Journal has been doing solid work covering the education beat.
The rest of the Maine news media? Not so much.
From a July 26 Portland Press Herald story by staff writer Melanie Creamer headlined “Police seek witnesses in Portland homicide”:
“Neighbors who had gathered outside the next-door complex at 53 Allen Ave. said they were shocked but not surprised to learn of the shooting.”