Maine Political Web Sites to Merge
Two into one: Two Web sites that have been providing first-rate political coverage during this primary season are merging. According to an announcement posted on the Pine Tree Politics home page on June 3, that site and Augusta Insider will become one shortly after the June 8 primary, with the AI site ceasing to exist.
In the posting, PTP editor Matthew Gagnon said the new entity would retain the political bias of its predecessors.
“Editorially, Pine Tree Politics will remain a center-right oriented site,” Gagnon wrote. “The incoming editors are all either centrists, or right leaning, so the content of what this site promotes will remain unchanged.”
That’s curious, because in the past, Augusta Insider Editor Derek Viger has adamantly denied his site has a political bent, even though many readers – including me – perceive it as leaning to starboard.
Gagnon also claims PTP is “Maine’s most read political news and commentary site,” citing statistics from a Web site that compiles data on site use.
That’s probably an exaggeration. While PTP has over 4,600 unique visitors every day, the unabashedly conservative As Maine Goes site has more than three times as many.
Nevertheless, combining Gagnon’s well-researched analysis and investigative pieces with AI’s reputation for breaking news should produce an entity that will prove to be a must-read for political junkies, as well as normal people looking to stay informed.
Atkinson away: Robb Atkinson, who’s been the news director at WGME-TV in Portland for four years, is leaving in July to become senior director of sales and affiliate relations at CNN.
During his tenure at Channel 13, Atkinson has improved ratings at the perennial runner-up in the Portland market by stressing breaking news and heavily hyped features such as “Streets of Speed.”
He’s also defended practices that blurred the lines between news and advertising, such as having his anchors and other staffers appear in a promotional spot played at a local movie theater and allowing anchor Kim Block to travel to China on a trip funded by a medical program she was covering.
Based on that track record, transitioning to sales should be easier for Atkinson than for most journalists.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com