The Portland Press Herald will get a break from the withering criticism leveled at it almost every day by PressingTheHerald, the on-line outlet for pseudonymous blogger "T. Cushing Munjoy" (www.pressingtheherald.blogspot.com
). In a posting on Feb. 2, Munjoy (who's admitted to being a former journalist, now a lawyer) announced he's temporarily suspending operations to have an operation. He writes that unscheduled surgery is forcing him to take time off, but he promised to return to his one-man campaign to point out the Portland daily's many shortcomings (see "The Herald gets pressed") "as soon as possible."Press release's on:
Last week, Village Soup posted a story on its Web site about Republican John Frary's announcement he was running for Congress in Maine's 2nd District. The piece carried no byline or other indication of authorship, but I recognized the writer right away. It was me. Significant portions of the article were lifted verbatim and without attribution from a political column I wrote last year, including nearly all the quotes from Frary. Annoyed, I e-mailed Beth Staples, the Soup's editor, asking for an explanation. Staples replied, saying the piece was a press release from the Frary campaign, edited for style, but otherwise published just the way the candidate's press secretary, Robert Shaffer, prepared it. A sharply worded e-mail to the offending flack produced an apology and a promise not to repeat the error. But what really bothers me about this incident isn't so much the unauthorized use of my material, as the tendency of newspapers, both weekly and daily, to reprint press releases as news stories without informing readers they're being subjected to an unfiltered dose of public relations. If editors are going to be that lazy, at least admit it by revealing the source of the story.Political label's off:
According to a posting on the conservative Web site "As Maine Goes," Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel columnist Dan Billings doesn't want to be referred to as a conservative. The newspapers have promoted the monthly column by Billings, a Waterville lawyer and Republican activist who worked on the 2006 gubernatorial campaign of conservative GOP candidate Chandler Woodcock, as strengthening their stable of right-wing writers. But Billings, who - his affiliation with Woodcock notwithstanding - hails from the moderate faction of the Republican Party, told AMG, "I have never claimed to be a conservative. When the newspaper gave me that label, I told them to stop."Program's on:
Published reports to the contrary, Jake Sasseville's TV show will air in Maine. Sasseville is from Lewiston and began his broadcasting career as a student at Edward Little High School by producing a talk show on public access cable. Now 22, he's set to debut nationally on Feb. 14 with "The Edge with Jake Sasseville," a syndicated late-night talk show aimed at 20-somethings that will air in about 35 markets. But until late January, no station in his home state had agreed to run the program. According to a story in the Lewiston Sun Journal, WMTW-TV in Auburn rejected the show due to, as a spokesperson put it, "his program format," which calls for advertising to be integrated into the interviews, much like an infomercial. But WPME-TV, licensed to Lewiston (although the station is actually in Portland), had no such qualms. It will air "The Edge" at 11 p.m. beginning on Valentine's Day.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com .