Down East 2013 ©
Done at the Dome: The MaineToday Media newspapers have an opening for a State House reporter. Ethan Wilensky-Lanford has parted ways with the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel after barely six months in Augusta. According to an informed source, “He did not resign.”
Tony Ronzio, managing editor of the KJ, confirmed that Wilensky-Lanford was no longer employed by the company as of June 15, but refused to comment on the reasons for his departure. Ronzio did say the position would be refilled “in relatively short order” and was not part of any larger layoff or budget cut.
“We are in the midst of hiring a new copy desk editor,” he said. “We’re trying to flesh out our coverage and make it more robust.”
Less-than-robust coverage: Portland Press Herald staff writer David Hench left a sizable hole or two in his story about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raid  on an Old Orchard Beach house on June 15.
Hench told readers that federal agents shot and killed Thomas Mayne of the Outlaws motorcycle club in that incident, and that they were seeking Mayne because he and another Outlaw, Michael Pedini, were allegedly involved in the shooting of a man from a rival biker group in Canaan last year.
So what happened to Pedini? The story doesn’t say. Which is odd, because the Morning Sentinel, the Press Herald’s sister paper, knew exactly what became of him .
In a June 16 front-page story, co-written by the Sentinel’s Erin Rhoda and the Press Herald’s Trevor Maxwell, the paper reported that Pedini was in the Somerset County Jail on drug-trafficking charges.
The Sentinel piece also included a mention of the arrest of another Outlaws member from Maine, Thomas Benvie of Sanford. In the Press Herald, Hench mentions Benvie showing up in court, but doesn’t reveal where, when, or how he was arrested.
Sloppy reporting? Sloppy editing? Or both?
A reason for the lack of robustness: Could it be that with columnist Bill Nemitz in Afghanistan  and environmental reporter Beth Quimby off covering the Gulf oil disaster , the understaffed newsroom doesn’t have the resources to adequately cover a breaking local story?
Robustness isn’t everything: Maine Today Media may not be on top of the major stories, but the company is on the cutting edge of industry trends when it comes to the online auction business. Well, not exactly the cutting edge. Online sites like eBay have been around for years, but newspapers have finally noticed. So MTM is joining a competing site  called Boocoo.com.
According to the story in the June 13 Maine Sunday Telegram, the alliance between the newspapers and the auction company will somehow prevent “less credible posts.”
Whether it will help with less credible stories remains to be seen.
Robustness isn’t anything: MaineToday Media CEO Richard Connor doesn’t care if his papers miss stories or get scooped by the competition. That’s what Connor told Colin Woodard in the latest issue of this site’s namesake magazine .
“We don’t sell news,” Connor said.
That explains a few things.
Such as: On June 7, the Bangor Daily News carried a piece by Mal Leary of the Capitol News Service on a potential $85 million state budget shortfall  caused by Congress’ failure to approve additional money for Medicaid.
It only took MTM’s remaining State House reporter, Susan Cover, until June 16 to report the same thing. 
Speaking of Woodard: He has a juicy piece on his blog  about departures, quid pro quos, and legal difficulties at Maine. The Magazine.
Given that this publication competes directly with this Web site’s namesake, I’ll refrain from comment and leave the details to Woodard.
New calls: WHXR (FM 106.7) in North Windham, formerly part of “The Bone” network of stations, is now WXTP .
The station, which broadcasts nothing but a tape loop directing listeners to the remaining Bone outlet at 106.3 FM, is currently being held in trust while Nassau Broadcasting tries to sell it. The shift in call letters would seem to indicate that’s going to happen pretty soon.
Getting ugly: Does anyone at the Bangor Daily News monitor comments on its Web site? If so, how does that person justify the ethnic slurs directed at Gov. John Baldacci following a story on a new task force to study regulation of all-terrain vehicles  on private land?
As of late morning on June 16, they’d been up for several hours.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com