Bangor Daily News is Back in Augusta
Under the dome, again: The Bangor Daily News has returned to the State House in Augusta after an absence of more than a year. The paper announced in its Feb. 6 edition that reporter Kevin Miller will be its new full-time correspondent in the state capital.
Miller, 33, has been covering environmental and energy issues for the BDN for the past three years. He’d previously reported on state government in Virginia for the Roanoke Times and in Maryland for the Carroll County Times.
The News said Miller’s coverage will be supplemented with articles from its story-sharing arrangement with other Maine dailies, Associated Press copy and reports from Mal Leary of the Capitol News Service. That combination has the potential to offer BDN readers a more comprehensive survey of state government than any other Maine news source.
There is, however, a downside. According to the story in the News, Miller is being replaced on the environment beat by “several BDN reporters.” Translation: He’s not being replaced at all. Such stories will be assigned to whomever is handy, regardless of whether they have experience in reporting on environmental or energy issues. In effect, coverage in one area is being sacrificed for coverage in another.
And there’s one more tiny concern. In November 2006, the BDN laid off its veteran State House reporter A. Jay Higgins (now with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network) as part of a larger money-saving move. Now, it has, in effect, replaced Higgins with a younger – and presumably lower-paid – reporter.
This isn’t a healthy trend, but it is one I expect to see more of.
Under the ethical line, again: The Feb. 6 Portland Press Herald carried a business brief on the McClatchy Co. reporting a loss of $21.7 million for the fourth quarter. (It doesn’t seem to be on the PPH Web site, but you can read it here.
As is the usual practice at the Press Herald, there’s no disclaimer with the piece informing readers that McClatchy owns 49.5 percent of the newspaper’s parent company.
Digitally divided: According to published reports, here’s how Maine television stations plan to handle the delay in the conversion date for digital broadcasting from Feb. 17 to June 12.
WCSH-TV in Portland (Channel 6) and WLBZ-TV in Bangor (Channel 2)are officially undecided as to whether they’ll shut down their analog transmitters early or wait until June. “We’re weighing out the issue,” spokeswoman Judy Horan told the BDN.
WMTW-TV in Auburn (Channel 8) will keep its analog signal until June, as will WABI-TV in Bangor (Channel 5).
WGME-TV in Portland (Channel 13) and WPFO-TV in Portland (Channel 23) are applying to the Federal Communications Commission for permission to stop their analog broadcasts and expect to receive the OK to go all-digital later this month.
WPXT-TV in Portland (Channel 51), WPME-TV in Portland (Channel 35) and all Maine Public Broadcasting Network stations have already made the shift to digital.
Offer is off: David Offer, the former executive editor of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, will be heading to Alaska this summer. Offer, who still writes a weekly column for the papers, has been named to the C.W. Snedden Chair in Journalism at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks for the 2009-2010 academic year. Offer told the KJ he plans to return to Maine after his year in academia is up. (The notice of Offer’s appointment doesn’t seem to be on the KJ’s Web site, nor could I find it on the university’s site.)
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.