New Magazine Promises “Affinity”
Another life for Port City Life: Maine magazine, a refurbishing of the defunct, Portland-centric Port City Life, is launching this month as a statewide publication that will appear on newsstands ten times a year.
The upscale lifestyle magazine, from the same company that produces Maine Home & Design, aims for much the same market as Portland magazine and this Web site’s parent publication. Which is to say affluent people.
One major difference between the new magazine and its competitors may be in its editorial attitude. According to an article on the industry Web site Folio, “Where Maine will draw its ad-edit line may be questionable. In a release, [publisher Kevin] Thomas said there will be ‘more affinity between editorial and advertising’ than is customary for print titles.”
I called Thomas to ask what he meant by that comment.
“I’m curious myself where they got that quote,” he said. “I don’t really remember that anywhere in a press release. I need to go back and check.”
Thomas promised to let me know what he discovered.
More “affinity”: WGME-TV, Channel 13 in Portland, and Wright Express, a company that manages fuel sales for business vehicle fleets, are jointly sponsoring a contest in which Wright will award $10,000 to a worthy small company that provides the best answers to three questions about its operations and aspirations.
The television station is airing spots promoting the contest and features a link on its Web site.
So far, so good. But here’s where it goes bad.
On August 31, WGME carried a story about the contest in its evening newscast. The piece included a glowing profile of Wright Express and almost all the details about the contest. The only major item left out was Channel 13’s co-sponsorship of the promotion.
It’s questionable whether this contest, which requires each entrant to explain “how critical vehicles are to its success” (is that to help Wright solicit future business?), is newsworthy in the first place. But there’s no question that WGME should have included a disclaimer with the story detailing its own involvement.
Either way, this use of news time to promote its own promotion is bound to leave viewers with the impression that Wright managed to buy itself some positive coverage.
New veeps: MaineToday Media – owner of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel – has two new vice presidents.
Ann Roderick will become company v.p. and chief financial officer. Roderick previously held financial management positions in Maine and elsewhere at health care companies.
Mark Barry, currently the marketing and circulation manager for a publisher in Connecticut, will become the vice president of circulation and marketing at MTM.
According to the Press Herald story, the hirings “represent a new direction.” Roderick and Barry will assume responsibilities in their respective areas that were previously handled by separate managers in Portland and central Maine.
The consolidation of those positions, according to a quote from MTM chief executive officer Richard Connor, “is based in my philosophy that we can find people whose talent is so deep that they can run operations at different properties.”
Connor himself exemplifies that “philosophy,” since he’s editor/publisher of all three Maine papers, as well as the Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
The universal spokesman: Some days, public-relations guru Dennis Bailey is unavoidable. In the Sept. 2 Press Herald, he’s quoted in his role as front man for the anti-gambling group CasinosNO! in a story about another attempt to build a gambling emporium in Oxford County.
A few pages later in the same paper, Bailey turns up again, this time as the voice of Maine Jobs First, a organization advocating for a liquefied natural gas terminal in Calais.
In the past, Bailey has also served as spokesman for Richard Connor, the Press Herald’s editor/publisher, but neither story contained a disclaimer to that effect. It’s not clear if Bailey still works for Connor. He didn’t return several phone calls seeking comment, making this one of the few Maine news stories in which he’s not quoted.
The universal op-ed piece: Lewiston Sun Journal staff writer Rebekah Metzler did a nice job in a Sept. 1 article exposing a scam that targeted newspaper editorial pages. Metzler reported that she’d received an anonymous e-mailed tip indicating a national group, Americans United for Change, was behind unusually similar opinion pieces, supposedly authored by local people, that ran in newspapers in Maine and Florida.
The Maine version appeared in the Press Herald on August 27 under the byline of state Rep. Alexander Cornell du Houx.
The piece, headlined “Vote for clean energy is vote for national security,” bore a striking resemblance to parts of a column carried by the Orlando Sentinel on August 5 and authored by Donald Kerrick of Jupiter, Florida.
Cornell du Houx admitted to Metzler that he’d had “help” from the advocacy group in composing his column. The state director for Americans United told her the practice was “quite common” and that he was “mystified as to why that’s a story.”
Here’s why. Publishing something that’s credited to one person but was actually written, in whole or in part, by somebody else is either plagiarism or deception. Neither has any place on a respectable newspaper’s editorial page.
There’s another problem. Although Press Herald editorial writer M.D. Harmon told Metzler he probably wouldn’t have run the piece if he’d known it wasn’t Cornell du Houx’ work, the paper, as of Sept. 2, had neither acknowledged the issue nor included accurate information on the article’s authors on its Web site.
Another authorship error: The shortage of competent editors at the Sun Journal keeps making itself obvious in the most embarrassing ways. On Sept. 1, the paper ran two articles, borrowed from the Press Herald under a story-sharing agreement, side by side. According to the original versions in the Portland paper, they were both the work of the same reporter. But in the Sun Journal, one was credited to “Matt Wickenheiser” (correct) and the other to “Matt Wichenheiser” (wrong).
This isn’t the first time the Lewiston paper has managed to misspell the names of reporters from other papers. That makes me wonder what else it’s getting wrong.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.