Down East 2013 ©
The end is near: Pennsylvania newspaper publisher Richard Connor could be the owner of the Blethen Maine Newspapers by the end of next week.
Or the beginning of the following week.
Connor may be getting close to the goal he set when he publicly announced his intention to buy the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel and other Blethen properties last July. He’s told several people this week that he’s secured the necessary financing to complete the purchase.
According to Dennis Bailey, Connor’s spokesman, “He’s very optimistic it’s coming together.” In a later e-mail, Bailey said April 30 is the “target date” for completing the deal, “But we may miss it by a few days.”
“I’ve been saying [the deal would be completed in] three weeks for about a year,” Bailey said, “so I hate to say what the timeline is.”
Sales fails: Former PolitickerME.com reporter Jessica Alaimo, now editor of a weekly paper in fly-over land,  recently posted this short essay on a media-related aspect of her departure from Maine on Facebook:
“Why newspapers are losing money.
“Classified ads are a large part of a newspaper's revenue. Being a newspaper person at heart, I went to the Kennebec Journal to place a bunch of ads for some furniture I'm getting rid of.
“First I tried to do it online. The form keeps taking me in circles. I went to click on the ‘free ad for an item under $100’ [link] and it would take me back to the opening screen.
“I called. Got a guy who barely spoke English. He brushes off my request for the advertised free ad and then tells me that a paid ad would cost nearly as much as some of the items themselves.
“’Yea, I'll think about it and call you back.’
“I post my things on Craigslist. One hour later the dresser is not only sold but picked up and gone from my apartment. I have several inquiries about other items.
“I used to subscribe to the KJ. More and more, I found it irrelevant to my day to day life, I'd find Hallowell news maybe about twice a week, I knew all about what was going on at the State House because I had written about it and posted it on my Web site the previous day. My boyfriend got sick of the papers piling up so ultimately I canceled my subscription.
“**Sigh** what is happening to my industry??? I'm taking lots of mental notes for when I take over a weekly paper in two weeks.”
Last word on the award: WGME-TV in Portland will not have to return the Edward R. Murrow  award it won last week from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.
The honor had been called into question after RTNDA officials were notified that the winning story had been subsidized by the charitable foundation that was its subject. The Maine Foundation for Cardiac Surgery paid for a Channel 13 reporter and photographer to travel to China to report on its work there. A Chinese hospital paid for the journalists’ accommodations.
According to staff writer Ray Routhier’s story in the Portland Press Herald, RTNDA officials reviewed the entry and concluded the involvement of the story’s underwriters had been clearly revealed to viewers and judges. That disclosure was sufficient to overcome ethical concerns.
RTNDA’s code of ethics says journalists should not accept anything of value from news sources, but an official of the group told Routhier that rule was "aspirational, not punitive."
I’m not sure what that means, but it seems clear that RTNDA’s sanctioning of this arrangement will do nothing to deter other financially strapped news-media outlets from seeking similar arrangements with questionable funding sources to back expensive projects.
Vowel foul: An April 17 headline on the conservative Web site MaineFirst:
Those foreigners should have to pass a spelling test before they’re allowed in this country.
Role reversal: From a story by staff writer David Hart in the April 15 edition of the Original Irregular, a weekly newspaper in Kingfield:
“This means that the district will proceed into the next budgetary year less two full-time administrators – nearly a $200,000 savings. This savings coming without the loss of an administrator in any one building but principals in the future may be playing multiple rolls as teachers and/or program leaders.”
I don’t think principals set a good example when they play with their food.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.