Founders

Naomi Schalit

Naomi is co-founder of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, which operates Pine Tree Watch, and former publisher and senior reporter. A graduate of Princeton University with a degree in religion and Near Eastern studies, Schalit attended the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California, Berkeley and began her career at The Mercury News in San Jose. In the last two decades, she has written for magazines and newspapers around the country, worked as a columnist for the Maine Times and for five years was a reporter and producer at Maine Public Radio. While at MPR, her reports were also featured on National Public Radio, Public Radio International and the CBC. Schalit won many awards for her radio reporting, including one from Public Radio News Directors, Inc. for her expose of an historic state conservation deal gone bad.

In between all the reporting, writing and producing, she also took temporary leaves from journalism in 1993 to run her own floorcloth manufacturing studio and almost a decade later, to serve for three years as executive director of a statewide non-profit conservation group.

In April 2005, she joined the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel as opinion page editor. In 2007, she won first place in the New England AP News Editors’ competition for editorial writing during 2006. She was the recipient of a 2007 Publick Occurrences Award from the New England Newspaper Association, Honorable Mention in the Anna Quindlen Award for 2007, Runner-up in the 2007 Casey Journalism Awards and First Place for editorial writing in the 2007 National Sigma Delta Chi Awards, all for her multi-part editorial series on hunger in Maine, “For I Was Hungry.” That series also earned her the first “Force for Good” award given by the Portland nonprofit Preble Street.

Schalit’s stories for the Center have four times won the “Publick Occurrences” award, which is given “for the very best work that New England newspapers produce each year,” and in October 2015 her story, “LD 1750: A study in how special interests get their way in the Maine Legislature,” won first place for investigative reporting in the Maine Press Association’s annual competition.

While Schalit contributed to almost every story published by the Center prior to her retirement from it in 2017, she has developed a specialty in energy and legislative and executive branch ethics.

Schalit has two grown children and lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with her husband, John Christie.

John Christie

John is co-founder of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, which operates Pine Tree Watch, and serves as consulting editor. Christie is a media executive whose 40-year career includes work in four states as a writer, editor, general manager and publisher for newspapers owned by Tribune Co., Dow Jones and Co. and the Seattle Times Co. In June, 2009, he retired after nine years as the president and publisher of Central Maine Newspapers, which publishes two daily papers, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel.

He has won numerous awards as a reporter and editor, including twice for best public service reporting in New England from the AP, and he was the primary editor at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of two Pulitzer Prize finalists. In 2008, a series he edited, “For I was Hungry,” about hunger in Maine, won a number of regional and national awards, including best editorial series from the national Society of Professional Journalists. In 2014, he was given the Yankee Quill Award for lifetime achievement by the New England Academy of Journalists, which honors achievement and distinction in New England Journalism, and the New England Newspaper and Press Association has four times awarded him and the Center the “Publick Occurrences” award, which is given “for the very best work that New England newspapers produce each year.”

Christie was one of the first journalists to serve as a full-time training editor for a newspaper, a position that included coaching writers and editors on their craft and creating and running a news writing program for high school and college minority students.

He is also the editor of four books, including a bestselling book on Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in 1992. He has spoken on newspaper management and writing in the United States, Europe and South America.

While Christie has contributed to almost every story published by the Center, he has developed a specialty in state finances, pension costs and the abuse of business tax breaks.

A University of New Hampshire graduate, Christie began his career in Maine as the summer intern in 1968 at the Sanford Tribune. He lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with his wife, Naomi Schalit.

Contact John:  mainecenter@gmail.com