Lots of Changes at Lots of Weeklies
Switch off: MaineToday Media’s free biweekly lifestyle publication The Maine Switch appears to have published its last issue, at least for now.
According to a brief article in the August 6 issue by editor Karen Beaudoin, Switch is “on hiatus” while its new owners are busy “studying it, changing it and eventually re-introducing it as a product that’s more in line with the needs of Greater Portland and more competitive with the alternative weeklies currently in this market.”
(Disclosure: My weekly political column runs in one of those “alternative weeklies,” the Portland Phoenix.)
Switch lasted about a year and a half, but never seemed to find its readership, perhaps because its contents were an odd mix of stories aimed at everybody from urban hipsters to suburban soccer moms. Its management seemed to be unaware that one such demographic group wouldn’t be caught dead reading a publication aimed at the other.
Nevertheless, Beaudoin claimed in her farewell piece that, “I can honestly say I can count on four fingers the times I’ve heard from someone who didn’t like The Maine Switch or something in it.”
Make that five.
Moran moving on: Brendan Moran, the executive editor of the six weeklies in York and Cumberland counties put out by Current Publishing has resigned, effective at the end of August. Moran is moving to New York City and has not yet decided on his next career move, according to Current publisher Lee Hews.
(Another disclosure: My weekly column runs in four of the Current papers.)
Moran started at Current as part-time reporter for the American Journal in 2001, working his way up to the top post over the past eight years.
His replacement will be Jane Lord, a former features editor at the Portland Press Herald and ex-city editor at the Morning Sentinel in Waterville. Some of Moran’s duties will also be handled by Ben Bragdon, former editor of the Moosehead Messenger in Greenville.
Hews also announced that John Balentine is returning to his previous position as editor of the Lakes Region Weekly, and ex-Press Herald reporter Tess Nacelewicz would be covering a beat for the weekly Current in South Portland.
Mainely cutbacks: Mainely Media, which publishes six free weeklies in York and Cumberland counties, has converted two of those publications to a single advertising shopper, eliminating local news coverage. The Gazette (which covers Gorham, Buxton, Hollis, Standish and Limington) and the Sanford Register are the two papers that underwent the transformation this past week in what appears to be a cost-cutting move. Two people were laid off as a result.
Mainely Media is part of the Pennsylvania-based Sample Media Group, which also owns the daily Journal Tribune in Biddeford and the Times Record in Brunswick.
Freeing up Capital: As reported here in June, the Village Soup’s Capital Weekly in Augusta has shifted from paid to free circulation.
(Yet another disclosure: my column runs there, too.)
According to an editorial by editor Beth Staples in the July 30 edition, the move is designed to “increase circulation, generate more advertising dollars and, in turn, improve our coverage of local news, events, issues and people.”
Snow job: A reliable source related this story in an e-mail:
An employee of the Kennebec Journal arrived at the paper’s building in Augusta on Wednesday afternoon, and encountered a maintenance guy in the parking lot removing the plow from the company’s truck and tidying up the vehicle.
Why was he doing that, the employee asked?
The maintenance guy said he was told to do it because MaineToday Media editor/publisher Richard Connor's son, Rory, wanted the truck and his father had given it to him.
"Stripping the place already," said the employee.