At the State House: The New Guy is an Old Guy
By Al Diamon
Created Aug 13 2007 - 11:46am
August 13, 2007
Maine Public Radio's new State House reporter is a familiar name to the state's political junkies. A.J. Higgins, who covered Augusta for the Bangor Daily News for 13 years and spent more than three decades at the newspaper, will start at MPR on August 27, covering government and politics for "Morning Edition," "Maine Things Considered" and other programs. He'll also write a blog for public radio's Web site.
Higgins left the BDN last November in a round of layoffs that cost the paper several veteran journalists. He was quickly snapped up by the Kennebec Journal in Augusta as a general assignment reporter. But he said he missed the excitement under the Capitol dome.
"I don't think term limits work any better for reporters than they do for legislators," he said.
MPR news director Keith Shortall isn't concerned about Higgins' lack of broadcasting experience. "The radio part is teachable," Shortall said. "Whereas the years of reporting skills are what I'm really excited about.
"We scored big."
Higgins said his familiarity with the operation of state government is his most marketable skill. "You've got a five-year learning curve at the State House [for new reporters]," he said. "What I have is probably valuable to only two or three organizations in the state."
Higgins replaces Fred Bever, who left public radio earlier this summer to fill in as spokesman for the Maine Public Utilities Commission.
Al Diamon has a long pedigree in the Maine media, having spent the past 30 years in radio, TV, print and, now, on the Internet. He writes the weekly column "Politics & Other Mistakes," which appears in 10 Maine newspapers, as well as the monthly column "The Other Column," which appears in three. If you write, maybe you can explain to him why these taglines are always in the third person. Is there a rule or something?Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.