The One and Only One
Matt and that’s that: The featured speaker at the Maine Press Associations’ spring conference in Augusta next month will be Matt Jacobson.
Jacobson is the president and CEO of Maine & Company, an organization that tries to attract new business to the state.
He’s also announced plans to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2010.
Why is the MPA, composed of many of the state’s daily and weekly newspapers, giving a forum to just one of the many potential Blaine House candidates? Executive director Mike Lange said it wasn’t intentional. When the invitation was issued, he said, Jacobson hadn’t announced plans to form an exploratory committee. But now that he has, Lange said, the association has no second thoughts.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “First of all, he’s a dynamic speaker. Second, his record of economic development at Maine & Company speaks for itself. And finally, I don’t think he’s going to focus to his gubernatorial candidacy at all.”
Lange was vague about whether the MPA would invite the other possible candidates for governor – there are more than half a dozen – for similar solo appearances, pointing out that the organization has only two events remaining this year: a summer workshop and a fall conference.
“I don’t think the 2010 race is on anybody’s mind right now," he said, “except political wonks.”
Fat paychecks and more than that: The Bangor Daily News and staff writer Meg Haskell did a nice job on March 7 of delving into the touchy issue of how much hospital CEOs are paid and why.
The issue is touchy because hospital boards tend to be composed of the most influential people in the community. Splashing the fact across the front page that they’re paying enormous amounts to their top executives, while cutting frantically in almost all other areas, is bound to annoy some of those movers and shakers.
Which, back before the journalism business’s only goal became its survival, was what newspapers were supposed to do. And it was why people read them.
Thin finances and less than that: Last week, the beleaguered McClatchy Group filed a report with federal securities regulators indicating the value of its 49.5 percent stake in the Seattle Times Co. is now estimated at zero, down from $102 million when it bought in to the company two and a half years ago.
The Times owns the Blethen Maine Newspapers, which it’s trying to sell to a group headed by Pennsylvania publisher Richard Connor. The reason for the drastic decline in value is listed in the filing as “retirement plan liabilities,” which according to Bill Richards at Crosscut.com amount to more than $10 million. How that will affect the Maine sale is anybody’s guess, but it’s unlikely to boost the price of the Portland Press Herald and its sister papers.
Meanwhile, the online news outlet 24/7 Wall St. has listed the Boston Globe as one of “The 10 Major Newspapers That Will Either Fold Or Go Digital Next.”
The story claims the Globe is losing about $1 million a week and is only worth $20 million. (If so, what can Blethen be worth?) It predicts that the Web site Boston.com will soon be all that’s left.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.