Journalists work in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram newsroom in South Portland. Photo by Sarah Rice.

There’s no state in the country where one person controls as many newspapers as Reade Brower does in Maine, and many are watching to see how this situation unfolds.

(L-R) Alan Baker, owner and publisher of The Ellsworth American and Mt. Desert Islander. Edward French, publisher of The Quoddy Tides. Photos by Sarah Rice. Photo illustration by Jessica Ouellette.

Alan Baker and Edward French are two veteran newsmen, both concerned about and devoted to preserving local journalism despite the odds.

Alan Baker puts his hands together like a child in prayer and raises his eyes to the heavens without saying a word. He smiles. He was just asked if he’s recently had any offers to buy his newspapers.

Baker is the owner and publisher of The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, two of a dwindling number of independent Maine newspapers. The Ellsworth American, in particular, has a national reputation for its excellence in small-town journalism. But these are times of lost readership and advertising revenue and uncertain profit.

Who are Maine’s News Makers?

We’ve created an interactive infographic that highlights the dozens of Maine-based outlets that produce real, relevant news.
Check it out.

Coming in October

The News Makers series will return in October with a look at the TV and radio news industries in Maine.

Pine Tree Watch surveyed 75 reporters, editors, copy editors, television anchors, photographers, station directors and publishers, asking them to share five Maine-based journalists that they respect.

Are Maine websites that use agenda-based reporting and aggressive social media tactics eroding trust in mainstream media?

Reade Brower has become many things along his unconventional path through life, from janitor to balloon seller to barefoot marathoner to husband and father to where he is today, owner of 25 Maine newspapers.

“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk,” wrote 18th-century Irish poet, singer and songwriter Thomas Moore.

In this mistrust-filled world full of political contention and both fake and devastating news, mustering such courage is challenging. Finding common ground and engaging in civil conversations about important issues facing our communities, our state, our country and our world can seem elusive, if not sadly impossible.

This concerning state of affairs prompted Pine Tree Watch to examine the concept of trust. And thus, we’re launching a new series called “The Maine Trust Project.” Each month, we’ll sit down with a Maine resident to discuss this precious commodity. We’ll see which people and institutions Mainers trust and how the concept of trust drives their thought processes and actions.

First up in our new series is 83-year-old Mary Betterley of Damariscotta, who still prefers to trust first. Read more…


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