Done deal: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1837 and WGME-TV in Portland have agreed on a new contract that covers about forty behind-the-scenes employees at the station. According to a news release from the union, the three-year contract ends contentious negotiations that began in early 2009 and at one point led to an advertising boycott of Channel 13 by Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
Empty desks: Here’s an update on buyouts and layoffs at the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News, Maine’s largest newspapers.
Diminished opinions: The Portland Press Herald editorial pages – and those of its sister publications, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel – took a big hit in last week’s round of layoffs and buyouts. Until the cutbacks hit, the opinion staff consisted of three people: editorial page director Bill Thompson, liberal editorial writer Greg Kesich, and conservative writer M.D. Harmon.
MaineToday Media, owner of the Portland Press Herald, notified employees today of layoffs at the paper. It’s not yet clear how many people are affected, but Tom Bell, a staff writer at the Press Herald and president of the Portland Newspaper Guild, said in an email that “numerous” union members were losing their jobs. Bell said the Guild would be issuing a statement “later.”
MaineToday Media State House reporter Rebekah Metzler circulated an email this week announcing her resignation.
“I'm writing to let you know I am leaving the MTM State House bureau for a job in Washington, D.C. to help cover politics for U.S. News and World Report,” Metzler wrote. “My last day is Friday.”
During her tenure at the Capitol, Metzler was personally attacked by Republican Governor Paul LePage for allegedly biased coverage, although there was little evidence to support that charge.
Something Fish-y: Talk station WVOM (103.9 and 101.3 FM) in Bangor and Augusta is using substitutes this week to fill in for vacationing morning co-host Ric Tyler. On Oct. 10 and 11, the replacement will be Scott Fish, owner of the conservative website As Maine Goes. Fish is smart, articulate and has a radio background (including a stint on WVOM), so the choice would seem reasonable. Except for a little problem concerning his other job.
The five hundred: The Portland Press Herald published its U.S. Postal Service statement of ownership, management and circulation in the Oct. 7 edition, and it shows a slight increase in the number of copies sold.
Emphasis on slight.
The Press Herald’s average daily circulation in the year ending Sept. 30, 2011 was 49,587. That’s about five hundred more than reported last year, an uptick of just over one percent.
Blackout on Black Point: Robert C.S. Monks is a part owner and board member of MaineToday Media. Monks also owns or invests in numerous other businesses and is heavily involved in politics. According to standard ethical journalistic practices, every time a MaineToday newspaper covers a story in which Monks has some involvement, his role should be disclosed.
Seems simple enough.
But for some reason, it also appears to be beyond the capabilities of the editors at MaineToday’s Portland Press Herald.
Trend reversal: Keep that life-support system hooked up. Cancel the funeral arrangements. The deceased just showed signs of coming out of its coma.
New figures filed with the U.S. Postal Service have the Maine Sunday Telegram and the Lewiston Sun Journal’s daily and Sunday editions reporting circulation increases for the first time in years.
Property – and news – management: The Sept. 28 Kennebec Journal carried a story by staff writer Betty Adams announcing that MaineToday Media, the company that owns the newspaper, had sold its old headquarters on Western Avenue in Augusta to Northland Enterprises LLC.