Overlooking 30 Lost Jobs in Augusta
Misprint: The MaineToday Media newspapers did a better job covering this week’s changeover of the printing of the Kennebec Journal from Augusta to MTM’s South Portland plant than they did reporting on a similar move by the Morning Sentinel last week.
Better, but not good.
Portland Press Herald staff writer Beth Quimby turned in a gushy piece that ran in all three daily papers, extolling the advantages of the move. But at least Quimby managed to mention that of the thirty-nine people formerly employed at the KJ’s old printing plant, only nine had accepted reassignment to SoPo. The other thirty “opted to leave the company,” rather than commute an extra hour or more to the south. Their jobs appear to have vanished.
That information was omitted from the previous week’s coverage in the MTM papers of the Sentinel’s printing switch, which said all the displaced workers had been offered new jobs, without mentioning that the majority of them decided not to take them.
If any other company had axed thirty positions, most competent reporters would have put that information in the first paragraph.
But when you own the printing press, you can bury the bad news about yourself on the jump page.
Forgotten, but not gone: The Dec. 12 Sentinel and KJ carried a story by staff writer Meghan V. Malloy on a new policy for the state’s jails when violent offenders are released.
It featured a quote from and photo of Naomi Schalit, who was identified as executive director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. What it didn’t feature was any mention that Schalit, until last August, had been the papers’ editorial-page editor, before resigning in a dispute with the new owners.
That past connection merited disclosure.
Gone, but not far: After nine years at WGME-TV in Portland, reporter Lucas Colavecchio has made the move to politics. Colavecchio, known for his over-hyped style in such Channel 13 segments as “Streets of Speed,” is now working for the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Rosa Scarcelli.
Scarcelli’s Web site doesn’t say what Colavecchio will be doing for the campaign, but rival candidates should be watchful for a guy in a trench coat pointing a radar gun at their vehicles.
Snow job: I’m hardly unprejudiced on the subject of the town of Carrabassett Valley (where I live) borrowing $10 million to buy a new gondola lift for the Sugarloaf ski area. The project carries substantial financial risks for local taxpayers, risks that were completely ignored in the Dec. 13 story by the normally reliable Deirdre Fleming in the “Outdoors” sections of the MaineToday Media papers.
Surely in interviewing everyone from the town manager to bartenders to skiers, Fleming could have found somebody willing to express a tiny measure of skepticism about the plan. Including a paragraph or two from those with concerns about the deal would have lent a little perspective.
Rent-a-little-hustle: Just wondering if anybody in the Maine media is sort of embarrassed for letting USA Today own the story of the alleged financial improprieties of Kaile Warren of Windham, founder of the Rent-A-Husband franchise operation.
While that national publication has been dogging Warren’s tracks for months, local news organizations have seemed reluctant to get involved, perhaps because Warren was often a guest on TV shows and a prominent figure in Windham politics. Except for an extensive piece in the Lakes Region Weekly in September (disclosure: my weekly political column runs in that paper), there was no in-depth coverage of the controversy by Maine reporters until after Warren was indicted.
The media also ought to be asking itself if its generally positive coverage of Warren – coverage that continued even after it became obvious all was not as it seemed at his company – aided him in his efforts to attract new investors, investors who may never see their money again.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com