I write today to commend the Portland Press Herald, for having the courage to deeply explore objections to same-sex marriage, and to report, even in an opinion piece, pitfalls that have come out of the national drive toward legalizing same-sex marriage.
MD Harmon's opinion piece today is masterful, commanding, and is a must-read piece of writing.
Seattle may soon have just one daily paper - the Blethen-owned Seattle Times - with today's announcement that the Post-Intelligencer (owned by Hearst) is for sale. Not sure what that might do to the Blethens' finances - they have battled to terminate the joint operating agreement under which they and the P-I share some resources, and claimed that it was dragging them under.
The purgatory stay of the Portland Press Herald has been extended until "early next year," mainly because the financing hasn't come together yet for the purchasers, according to an article in today's Press Herald. The Blethens may be upset, because they had hoped to use the capital losses on the PPH sale to offset gains on real-estate sales.
For a while, the Press Herald has been saying that a sale needs to close before the end of the year to work for the Blethens. Part of this is related to the fact that the Blethens will take a capital loss on the deal, and the loss can be used to offset some of the Blethens' tax obligations from their capital gains on the sale of some property in Seattle earlier this year.
Richard Connor, the only person with any newspaper experience in a four-man team trying to buy the Portland Press Herald, offers a candid look inside how he and his news organizations make decisions. In his column in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader this week, Connor explains that he tried and failed to convince his "editorial board" to support John McCain over Barack Obama.
In a case of struggling media reporting on struggling media, Brian Williams closed last night's NBC Nightly News broadcast with a report from Portland, Maine, with people talking about the troubles the Portland Press Herald has been having.
The graphic for the segment was the Press Herald's logo over the words "FINAL EDITION?"
In Sunday's Washington Post, ex-Portland Press Herald DC correspondent Jonathan Kaplan laments the decreasing number of Washington correspondents reporting for regional and local newspapers around the country. It's as much a plea for his old job back as anything else - of course, the guy might properly claim to have been duped, as in December 2007 the PPH hired him away from The Hill, where he had worked for five years, and then barely six months later laid him off
UPDATE: Just before 11 am, the Tuesday news went live on the Press Herald's site.
For an organization that at least periodically claims to be looking to the Web as a key to the future, the Portland Press Herald is having a pretty rough few days. From Thursday night through Sunday morning, the site was unable to be updated - the best they could do was post stories in a small sidebar column on the site's front page.
No sooner did I post the last entry than into my e-mail box came a copy of the latest newsletter from Robert Bickler, the general manager of the Blethen Maine Newspapers, leading with this little gem:
General Manager’s Update:Owing to a continuation of significant declines and advertising volumes coupled with rising business costs, the executive management team has been working aggressively to develop a plan that will provide additional non-payroll savings including newsprint, travel, supplies, postage and other costs.
Crosscut Seattle is reporting some fascinating info on the prospects for a buyer of the Blethen Maine Newspapers (the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Central Maine Morning Sentinel, and Kennebec Journal, plus mainetoday.com and ancillary related properties, including real-estate holdings in Portland, South Portland and elsewhere).
There are a few
things you should know before the weekend begins, in addition to the impending
return of Granny's Burritos, which we told you about earlier today:
News: The unionized
employees of the Blethen Maine Newspapers had previously said they were
considering trying to buy the papers (the Portland
Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Augusta-based Kennebec Journal, and the Waterville-based Morning Sentinel).
president/publisher Frank Blethen (still the owner of the Portland Press
Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal, and the Central Maine
Morning Sentinel, though not for long) found himself in some sort of mind warp
earlier today, according to a story on Editor & Publisher's Web site
We know the news
hasn't been good for the Seattle Times folks of late, or for their soon-to-be
ex-colleagues at the Blethen Maine Newspapers (the Press Herald/Sunday
Telegram, Kennebec Journal, and Morning Sentinel).
It's been bad for a
while, but it just got even worse. Sure, we told you back in August 2006 that
the Press Herald would soon be for sale, and we told you (20 minutes before the
Press Herald's own Web site told you) when that became official company policy