MaineToday Web Staff Eliminated
Online is off line: The ax fell last week at MaineToday Media, owner of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel and their respective Web sites, and it was those Web sites that took the brunt of the cuts. Of the more than sixty positions eliminated companywide, all but a handful came from the online side of the business. The entire Web sales staff and all Web producers were handed pink slips.
According to an informed source at the company, reporters and editors at the print editions of the paper will now take on the responsibility of updating the Web sites during the day.
Since that updating has always been, at best, a haphazard affair at MaineToday, the change may not be noticeable.
(As of noon on March 22, neither the Morning Sentinel’s nor the Press Herald’s site had bothered to update staff writer Susan Cover’s story on the previous evening’s deliberations by the Appropriations Committee on a supplemental state budget, which was filed at midnight and covered actions taken through about 9 p.m. The latest info had, however, made it onto the KJ’s site at 7:47 a.m.)
Slap shot: If you live in those parts of the state that receive the early edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram (as I do), you (like me) must have been a bit perplexed when you turned to the sports section on March 21. The front page made it look as if the University of Maine Black Bears had won the Hockey East championship.
Because the title game was still in progress when the paper went to press, somebody made the curious decision to rerun the previous day’s story on the UMaine victory over Boston University in the semifinals, without bothering to explain that the final-round contest against Boston College had yet to be decided. The confusion was enhanced by an adjacent column by Steve Solloway headlined “Maine hockey … it’s so back,” that was actually about the B.U. game. At least Solloway mentioned in his second sentence that he was referring to Friday’s win and not the crucial Saturday face-off with B.C.
The simple inclusion of a prominent editor’s note could have gone a long way toward avoiding misunderstandings. Even better would have been that note of explanation plus a placeholder story (a player profile, perhaps), rather than rerunning an article many readers had already seen (and paid for) a day before.
It also might have made those readers from the boonies (like me) feel less like an afterthought.
FOI FYI: Congratulations to the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition on its tenth anniversary and to Judith Meyers, Lewiston Sun Journal managing editor and the coalition’s vice president, on her excellent summary of the group’s accomplishments over the last decade, published in the March 21 Sun Journal.
As even a brief perusal of Meyer’s column indicates, MFOIC has played a major role in making it easier for journalists and other members of the public to obtain information from local and state government. Without the coalition’s efforts – particularly those of Meyer and the group’s president, Mal Leary of Capitol News Service – we’d all be a lot less aware of what’s going on.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org