Down East 2013 ©
Definition attrition: Apparently, all the dictionaries have been removed from the newsroom at the Lewiston Sun Journal. On April 22, staff writer Rebekah Metzler (and several readers of this blog) demonstrated they had no clue what “specifically ” means.
Two days later, sports reporter Kevin Mills  came up with this gem:
“The city of Portland will share a unique place in American Hockey League history next January.
“The 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic was awarded to the city, making it just the fourth time in AHL history a city will host the event twice.”
Uh, Kevin, if it’s the fourth time it’s happened, it can’t be “unique.” Even twice doesn’t qualify.
Later in the same story, there was some flat-out sloppy reporting, as Mills informed his readers that TV coverage of the 2009 game “had 100 million viewers.”
Uh, Kevin, the Super Bowl generally attracts 40- to 45-million viewers. Do you really believe the AHL is a bigger draw?
In fact, the league never claimed the game garnered that kind of attention. What it did say is that its telecast was available in 100 million households. I couldn’t locate any ratings for the event, but I think it’s safe to assume the vast majority of those households did not tune in.
And while I’m on the subject of inept coverage of this announcement, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that this Web site’s one-paragraph blurb on the subject managed to make two errors.
It informed us that “minor-league hockey is skating to town.” In reality, Portland has had an AHL franchise for decades.
It also listed the dates of the All-Star event as “January 18-19, 2009.”
Don’t fire up the Wayback Machine just yet. The event will actually take place in 2010.
Prime coverage: The Morning Sentinel’s April 25 story on the financial troubles of Prime Tanning Co. in Hartland was curiously incomplete.
Staff writer Scott Monroe reports on Prime’s delinquent property tax bills and the company’s explanation for the problems. The piece is balanced in its assessment of Prime’s future prospects for staying in business – as far as it goes.
What’s missing from the piece is any mention of reports from a few days earlier that Prime was being sued by residents of Missouri for allegedly selling fertilizer containing a cancer-causing chemical. 
The lawsuit story got minimal coverage in the Maine media, leaving the entire subject of its effect on Prime’s finances open for Monroe’s probing.
If he did any, it didn’t make it into print.
Nowhere coverage: Some Morning Sentinel readers must have been puzzled by an April 24 column by Liz Chapman Mockler that ran on the editorial page. 
Mockler, a former State House reporter for the Sun Journal, complained about an April 15 headline on a news story describing a proposed expansion of Interstate 95 into Aroostook County  as a “road to nowhere.”
Mockler also cited a letter to the editor by state Rep. John Martin (she mistakenly refers to him as a state senator, an error you’d think somebody at the Sentinel would have caught and corrected) complaining about the negative characterization of northern Maine.
Trouble is, neither the offending headline nor Martin’s letter ran in the Sentinel. They both appeared in its sister paper, the Kennebec Journal.
Why Mockler’s piece was deemed worthy for inclusion in both papers is one of the mysteries of editorial decision making.
Context with the coverage: An avid consumer of local news sent me an e-mail questioning an April 25 story in the Portland Press Herald on the annual Take Back the Night rally protesting sexual abuse and violence.
Staff writer Bob Keyes provided what appears to be adequate coverage of the event, but my correspondent wanted more.
“Hundreds protesting about sexual abuse,” he wrote. “Fair enough. But would it be too much to ask how prevalent sexual abuse actually IS in Maine?”
That seems like a reasonable question, the answer to which would have added perspective to the piece. A quick check of a couple of online sources seems to show rape and domestic assault increased sharply in Maine between 2006 and 2007 (the most recent years for which I could find complete figures), but remained well below the national average. More thorough research might have been even more revealing.
Changing coverage: A couple of veteran journalists have new gigs.
Andrea Nemitz,  ex-senior editor at the Portland Press Herald where she worked for 22 years until departing in 2008, is the new managing editor of the Mainely Media weekly papers in southern Maine.
Nemitz, who lives in Bar Mills, is married to Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz.
After a stint in municipal government, Greg Davis, once the editor of the Rumford Falls Times and other weekly papers in the state, is returning to his old stomping grounds as editor of the Franklin Journal in Farmington. 
Davis is leaving his post as administrative assistant for the town of Kingfield on May 1.
Dry coverage: A headline in the April 24 Morning Sentinel:
“Town eyes land for alewives”
Does this mean they’re evolving?
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org .