Whether the latest news about Blethen possibly closing the Portland Press Herald, the Waterville Sentinel and the KJ are some kind of threat designed to make Bill Cohen et al cough up a little more cash for the alleged newspaper deal is hard to tell. In any case it would be a hell of a note for nearly half the state to be without a daily newspaper.
Granted the Press Herald, like many papers these days is a newsletter compared to its former robust, if not exactly newsy, self, so losing it is hardly the disaster it once might have been. Nevertheless, the loss of all three would be really jarring, especially for the people who work there, not to mention several I know there and a few I've worked with at other papers.
That a paper like the Washington Times can go on hiring idiot columnists and selling ads at a loss makes the evaporation of these three regionals all the more criminal. I am embarrassed to say I didn't know until about a month ago that Sun Myung Moon ran the WT at a loss. I knew he owned it and I knew people on Fox News and shrieking hate-filled AM talk radio were the only people who ever quoted its writers, but I had no idea it had never, that's right, never, ever turned a profit until I saw Jeff Gorenfeld on C-SPAN. His book Bad Moon Rising, which apparently gives a comprehensive history of Moon and his influence--including jaunts with the Presidents Bush. Gorenfeld's abbreviated tale for the teevee was horrid enough for now. I'd like to read the book after W's out of office.
Well, actually that makes the WT a newsletter. Yes, the PPH has struggled to keep its page numbers up, but that the Washington Times has never come close to paying its own way is a definite sign of flak, PR and spin. Hell, even The Nation is in the black, if only barely. The WT has lost billions, that's billions of dollars since its inception in 1982. If the arbiters of the free market would only come clean about their favorite print megaphone, the laughter would blot out the sun--umm, well you know what I mean.
Anyway, it's simply not fair that three papers serving decent people who need information may go tits up as the WT fishwrap of a rag continues to feed the poison spewing right wing echo chamber on the crazy Moony's tab.
A long time high school English teacher, now mostly writing, I wish I could say I love my new vocation.
I don't. Though I have loved a steady news reporting gig, I've apparently outlived that work and haven't quite made the leap to monetizing by page views.
It's as if I hit my stride as a horse and carriage driver about the time Ford popularized the Model-T. My particular skill with a buggy whip seems a little redundant, at least in Maine where excellent writers are thick on the ground.
For now, I produce feature copy for a highbrow glossy real estate shopper called OpenFences, and am picking away at My Mother's Recipe Box, a project/paper meant to get me to the last stage of a ridiculously protracted master's degree in American and New England Studies.
However, I do love to travel. I've been to four of the six continents, every state in the Union but Alaska, and five Canadian provinces. With some luck, maybe I'll find a way to wrangle some writing assignments out of my devotion to the road.
On this blog, sometimes I write about high quality education, food, safe homes and workplaces, and reliable health care for all. Other times I don't.