A sequence of events leading up to - and possibly related to
- the abrupt resignation of Richard Connor from MaineToday Media today.
June 2009 Richard Connor buys the Portland Press
Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, and Central Maine Morning
Sentinel from the Blethen family. The deal involves part ownership by the
members of the newspapers' employee unions, as well as investments from major
real-estate developers in the Portland
Richard Connor has resigned from MaineToday Media, according to a report on the company's website and an email that just went out to union members.
Al Diamon at DownEast has info on machinations relating to the departure here: http://www.downeast.com/media-mutt/2011/october/mainetoday-media-executive.
The first public in-house criticism of the Portland Press Herald's donation of $46,000 worth of advertising to a political campaign (the elected mayor one) has been published in the Columbia Journalism Review. The text isn't online as of this posting, but you can check here to see if it is now.
It includes criticism from both Greg Kesich, an editorial page writer, and Tom Bell, a political reporter who also heads the employees' union.
Commenting has resumed on the Press Herald site. Time will tell whether the new system reels in the loonies.
According to a note posted this afternoon on the Press Herald's Web site, there will no longer be online comments for any stories.
This does not appear to be the case for owner/editor/publisher Richard Connor's other newspaper holding, the Wilkes-Barre (Pennsylvania) Times-Leader, which as of 5:30 this afternoon still allowed comments on every story I checked.
Let me join the social-networking buzz commending Justin Ellis's eloquent, impassioned takedown of Press Herald editor/publisher Richard Connor's ill-conceived "apology" for a well-written, beautifully photographed article on the Eid festival marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Yes, the story ran in print and online on September 11.
Richard Connor's office has issued the following statement. See my column in tomorrow's Portland Phoenix addressing these events.
Richard Connor is clearly not in the real-estate business.
He bought a landmark Portland
property in June and sold it in July for no profit. And while he paid
significantly less than the assessed value according to city records, perhaps
he was just trying to break
even on that part of the deal, which bought him three newspapers and rather a
lot of real estate for a total of an estimated $30 million to $40 million.