Down East 2013 ©
Been on the job too long: WGME-TV in Portland may be offering buyouts to longtime staffers. According to a knowledgeable source outside the station, Channel 13 is offering early retirement deals to employees who joined the station before Dec. 31, 1999.
News director Robb Atkinson would not comment on whether buyouts had been offered, referring questions to station general manager Terry Cole. "We don't comment on personnel issues," said Cole. "So I don't have anything to say." Two Channel 13 staff members said they had heard of the proposal, but claimed not to know any details.
WGME recently expanded its newscasts to include a 7 p.m. show, but did not hire any additional employees to produce the extra half hour.
Been off the job too long: The Original Irregular, a weekly newspaper in Kingfield, is not the place to look for critical stories about Maine’s ski industry. The Irregular’s coverage area includes both the Sugarloaf and Saddleback resorts, and the paper’s policy for reporting on them seems to be to publish whatever the public relations people at those mountain enterprises tell it to publish.
Thus, there’s been no mention in the Irregular’s pages of recent management changes at Sugarloaf and what they might indicate about the ski area’s future. There’s been no investigative reporting as to why improvements promised by the resort’s new owners seem to be on hold. Coverage of a whistleblower case concerning construction problems at Saddleback has been sketchy at best.
As a resident of the area, I’ve come to accept the reality that most of the important news about what’s going on at two of the region’s biggest employers has to be sorted out through the rumor mill. It’s not ideal, but you get used to it.
Even so, I was a little surprised at the significant omission in the story that ran at the top of the front page of the Sept. 10 Irregular. Under the headline “Warren Cook now Saddleback CEO,” is a glowing report on the hiring of the former Sugarloaf general manager to run the rival resort. (This story was not online as of this morning, but may turn up at some point at news.mywebpal.com/index.cfm?pnpid=282.)
The article includes two long paragraphs on Cook’s business and civic accomplishments, but there’s an odd omission. It makes no mention of the time Cook spent as a senior vice president at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor. Cook left that job in 2003, after media reports concerning deceptive claims in his resume. After being confronted with the erroneous information, he admitted he’d lied about receiving the Navy Cross while serving in the Marines in Vietnam, playing for the 1968 Olympic hockey team and holding a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts.
By ignoring these unpleasant events, the Irregular does the sort of damage to its credibility that Cook’s fabrications did to his.
Needs to do a better job: If you’re going to ask the question, you better answer it.
On Sept. 8, the Lewiston Sun Journal ran a front-page story under the headline “McCain or Obama: Who would be better for Maine?” 
Readers hoping for help in figuring out how to cast their ballots had to be disappointed, since the article provides little information distinguishing one candidate from the other. On jobs, an economist says, “neither of them is going to do much.” On energy, former independent Gov. Angus King is “more optimistic about Obama’s commitment to alternative energies than McCain’s.” On taxes, a spokesman for a conservative think tank likes the Republican’s ideas, while a spokesman for a liberal think tank is happier with the Democrat’s. And on health care, a supporter of a single-payer system said he doesn’t care for either candidate’s approach.
On all these issues (and many others), Obama and McCain have clear positions. In several cases, those stands have implications for Maine. This story does little to explain those implications, instead giving us a thin sampling of predictable opinions. Getting more than that requires deeper digging. Anyone interested in what that kind of digging might look like should check out Stateline.org’s excellent summary of the candidates’ positions on 15 key issues that affect states. 
After the Sun Journal does that, I hope it’ll try again.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.