The Curious Case Of The Delayed Poll
Numbers lag: On July 11, MaineToday Media – publisher of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal. and Morning Sentinel – released the results of a poll it commissioned on the major races in the fall election. MaineToday is to be commended for paying for its own polling, rather than relying on figures compiled by others. It used a reputable firm, a sizable sample and got results that appear credible. But I still have a problem with one important aspect of this survey.
MaineToday waited sixteen days after the interviews were conducted to make the numbers public. That extended delay – during which there were several developments that could have affected the answers people gave, such as the U.S. Supreme Court decision on health care and Governor Paul LePage’s “Gestapo” remark – seems unwarranted. Surely, compiling the results, gathering a few quotes from participants and experts, and creating some flashy graphics could have been accomplished in less than a week, as is the case with most major polls. It’s difficult to imagine another major story that any news organization would sit on for more than two weeks.
If MaineToday wants to be a significant factor in the state’s political coverage, it needs to pick up the pace.
Get out the rabbit ears: The dispute between Time Warner Cable and Hearst-owned WMTW-TV in Portland has escalated. On July 10, Time Warner dropped Channel 8 from its lineup and announced it was seeking other means of presenting ABC network programming. The cable company claimed WMTW and other Hearst stations were demanding a 300 percent increase in rights fees. Channel 8 put out its own statement accusing Time Warner of refusing “to pay our station a reasonable fee relative to what it pays for other significantly less popular channels.”
According to industry sources, the dispute is not close to resolution, meaning WMTW could be off cable for a significant period of time.
The Connor way: Pseudonymous media critic Thomas Cushing Munjoy did some research after learning that former MaineToday Media chief executive officer Richard Connor had been named CEO at Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, New Hampshire. Munjoy noted that Connor is neither publisher of the paper (that role belongs to Patrice Foster, whose name I misspelled in an earlier posting), nor editor. So, it’s tough to reconcile his new role with this 2008 quote, shortly after he took over at MaineToday:
“I’ve always known that wherever I worked, I had to be both editor and publisher. I believe the best newspapers are ones where the publishers are also the editors, so that he can answer directly to the employees and the public about how the newspaper is run.”
Wasser won’t go away: Connor crony Scott Wasser left the executive editor’s post at MaineToday in February, as new ownership brought in its own team. But more than his memory lingers on.
Wasser is still listed as the editor on MTM’s sloppily edited website.
Maybe the new Web czar MaineToday is trying to hire will be able to correct little deficiencies like this one.
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com.