Good news/bad news: The front page of the July 24 Portland Press Herald seemed to a carry grim warning for Bath Iron Works, one of Maine’s largest private employers. The U.S. Navy had changed its mind about building six more Zumwalt-class destroyers, several of which were to have been constructed at BIW. And, according to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, additional Navy contracts for nine older-style destroyers, called Arleigh Burkes, would not be sufficient to maintain current employment levels at the shipyard.
“Bath needs to construct two of the old-style destroyers each year in order to maintain its work force, and it needs to be able to build seven of the nine, at least,” the story quotes Collins as saying. “What I heard was disquieting. The Navy plans to give Bath the majority of the nine new destroyers, but at a rate of one a year and not as many as seven.”
Oh, wait. Cancel the doom and gloom. A sidebar story in the same paper appeared below the headline, “Forecast of no layoffs warms Bath’s heart” and a sub-headline that said, “Workers are assured that building six more of the Arleigh Burke destroyers will be better for the yard.”
This piece cites U.S. Rep. Tom Allen as saying BIW would get contracts for six of the nine Burke-class ships, which would be plenty to keep everyone employed. It doesn’t say how many destroyers the yard would build each year, nor how long this construction spree would last. It also doesn’t explain why Allen and Collins are making contradictory statements on the same newspaper page.
Who’s right? Seems as if an experienced editor would have made reporters Matt Wickenheiser (first story) and John Richardson (second story) sort it out. But these days, experienced editors are rarer than destroyer contracts.
Good team/no team: The Kennebec Journal is Augusta plans to save a few bucks by filling the vacant post of city editor with the paper’s current photo editor. As of August 18, Jim Evans will oversee both photographers and reporters at the paper. Evans’ promotion was announced by editor Eric Conrad last month in his blog on the KJ’s Web site.
At that time, Conrad praised the job Evans had done filling in as city editor.
“I thought the newspapers — both of them — were about as news-y when George Myers [city editor of Waterville’s Morning Sentinel, which Conrad also edits] and Jim were working together as city editors in Waterville and Augusta as I've seen them during my 18 months here. They are a good team.”
But a team no longer. As of July 22, Myers, who was only hired in April, was out at the Sentinel. No blogged explanation. No word on a replacement.
Good photo/bad credit: An alert reader of the Lewiston Sun Journal’s daily e-mail newsletter came across what he called “a curious message” in the July 21 edition. It read as follows:
“Sun may have blinded driver in fatal wreck please do not give Jay Police credit for photo… ‘submitted photo’ is fine.”
No, it’s not. “Submitted” photos could have been taken by somebody involved in the accident. If so, that person could have a stake in making it appear the incident was the fault of the other party. Knowing the snapshot came from the cops helps readers determine how credible a view it provides.
Anything else you’re not telling us?
Good story/bad job search: Ex-Press Herald Washington correspondent Jonathan Kaplan hasn’t yet landed a new job, since being laid off in the last round of Blethen Maine Newspaper cutbacks in June.
But Kaplan is getting some freelance work. He’s got a nice piece on wasteful congressional spending on the politico.com Web site.
I know some congresspersons who won’t be hiring him as their press secretary.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.