The Portland Press Herald is a daily newspaper based in South Portland, Maine with a statewide readership. The Press Herald mainly serves southern Maine and is focused on the greater metropolitan area of Portland.
|Founder(s)||J. T. Gilman|
Joseph B. Hall
Newell A. Foster
|Founded||1862(as the Portland Daily Press)|
|Headquarters||295 Gannett Drive|
South Portland, Maine, U.S.
Founded in 1862, its roots extend to Maine’s earliest newspapers, the Falmouth Gazette & Weekly Advertiser, started in 1785, and the Eastern Argus, first published in Portland in 1803. For most of the 20th century, it was the cornerstone of Guy Gannett Communications, before being sold to The Seattle Times Company in 1998.
Today, it is the flagship of MaineToday Media publications and is part of the state’s largest news-gathering organization, including the newspapers of the Lewiston-based Sun Media Group.
19th century originsEdit
The Portland Daily Press was founded in June 1862 by J. T. Gilman, Joseph B. Hall, and Newell A. Foster as a new Republican paper. Its first issue, published June 23, 1862, announced strong support for Abraham Lincoln and condemned slavery as "the foulest blot upon our national character." Its offices, along with the offices of all the newspapers in the city, were destroyed on July 4, 1866 in the Great Fire of 1866. On the morning of Friday, July 6, the Portland Daily Press published a double-sided handbill about the fire.
The paper quickly gained the largest circulation in Portland, and was one of five daily newspapers in the city to survive to the 20th century. In 1904 the paper was bought by a syndicate of Maine Republicans, including Henry B. Cleaves, and gubernatorial candidate Joseph Homan Manley, who the paper had previously opposed.
Guy Gannett ownershipEdit
In 1921, the Portland Daily Press was merged with the Portland Herald to form the Portland Press Herald in a sale of the Press from then U.S. Senator Frederick Hale to Guy P. Gannett, who had bought the Herald earlier the same year. The first edition of the Portland Press Herald was published in November 21, 1921. The Press Herald's circulation skyrocketed in the first year of Gannett's ownership, when the paper sold for 2 cents; circulation went from a little over 18,000 to nearly 29,000. Under Gannett's ownership, the traditionally pro-Republican newspaper adopted a balanced editorial approach; during the 1922 gubernatorial campaign, the newspaper published Democratic candidate William Robinson Pattangall's criticism of the Republican incumbent, Governor Percival Baxter. In a letter to readers, Gannett wrote, "The American people think for themselves. They want and should be given the news and all the news fully and uncolored by any personal or political consideration."
In the 1920s, Gannett's media empire in Maine grew: he purchased the Portland Evening Express and Daily Advertiser in 1925 (whose name he shortened to Evening Express) and by 1929 also bought Augusta's Kennebec Journal and Waterville's Central Maine Morning Sentinel.
In 1923, Gannett built a new building to house all of the paper's operations on 390 Congress Street across from Portland City Hall.
Blethen Maine NewspapersEdit
In 1998, the family trust that ran what was by now Guy Gannett Communications decided to break up its media interests. Ultimately, it decided to sell the Press Herald to The Seattle Times Company. Gannett officials cited shared values; the Times Company was also a family-owned business; its owners, the Blethen family, had roots in Maine. The Press Herald and its sister publications were reorganized as Blethen Maine Newspapers, an independent division of The Seattle Times Company.
A paid advertisement in the newspaper's February 3, 2007 "religion and values" section, placed by the First Baptist Church of South Portland, listed the sermon as "The Only Way to Destroy the Jewish Race"; this caused outrage in Greater Portland's Jewish community and led to an apology by the minister of that church. Two weeks later, an ad for PeoplesChoice Credit Union ran, depicting a "Fee Bandit" character that used stock photography of a Hasidic Jew to represent the character rather than the Old West banker intended for the visual representation. This incident prompted investigations by the Anti-Defamation League; Steven Wessler, director of the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence and the person in charge of dealing with hate crimes in the state; and the Jewish Community Alliance. The newspaper's management, as well as the credit union, later apologized for the advertisements; the newspaper said it would scrutinize ad content better in the future.
On March 17, 2008, the Press Herald converted from its traditional multi-section format to two sections. A brief editorial highlighted advertising concerns and said the other sections could be found online. The next day, the Blethens announced that they were putting the Press Herald and its other Maine newspaper properties up for sale. The Portland Press Herald also had three rounds of job cuts in 2008; in the third round of cuts, the newspapers' owner eliminated 36 jobs and closed the news bureaus in Augusta, Biddeford, Bath, and Washington, D.C., in response to declining newspaper ad revenue.
Richard Connor ownershipEdit
After more than a year on the market, on June 15, 2009, the papers were sold to MaineToday Media, Inc., headed by Richard L. Connor, publisher of Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, with financing from HM Capital Partners and Citizens Bank. MaineToday also owned a variety of Maine press properties, including the Kennebec Journal, Morning Sentinel, and Bath's Coastal Journal, as well as mainetoday.com. Although MaineToday originally announced a plan to move the paper's offices out of downtown into the South Portland printing plant, it was later reported that the company's headquarters would move to One City Center in downtown Portland. As part of the sale, Portland Newspaper Guild members took a 10% pay cut in exchange for 15% ownership in MaineToday Media. More than 30 non-union jobs were eliminated.
Connor's short tenure was characterized by controversy and a rapid decline in the newspaper's financial condition. On September 11, 2010, the Press Herald reported on local Ramadan celebrations with a front-page story. Later that day, Connor insisted on apologizing to readers for his editors' decision to run that story.  "Many saw Saturday's front-page story and photo regarding the local observance of the end of Ramadan as offensive, particularly on the day, September 11, when our nation and the world were paying tribute to those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks nine years ago," wrote Connor.
Connor's apology attracted nationwide scorn. In Time Magazine, critic James Poniewozik called Connor's behavior "craven" and "depressing for the state of journalism." In an appearance on NPR's On The Media, Connor admitted that "some of the people who complained about the lack of 9/11 coverage were really couching anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic attitudes," but refused to retract his apology, and he eventually hung up on host Bob Garfield before the segment was over.
Connor demonstrated a similar lack of ability in managing the business side of the newspaper. In 2011, he eliminated 61 positions, many of which were in the newsroom, and in November of that year, a paper supplier sued the newspaper for $124,000 in unpaid bills. Connor finally left the newspaper at the end of 2011 under strong pressure from the board of directors and a restructuring firm that had taken over day-to-day management.
S. Donald Sussman/Maine Values LLC ownershipEdit
Maine Values LLC, a company owned by wealthy businessman and philanthropist S. Donald Sussman, made a $3–4 million investment in MaineToday Media in February 2012, acquiring a 5% equity stake in the company and a seat on its board. The next month, Maine Values boosted its ownership stake in MaineToday to 75%. Sussman, who lived in North Haven, Maine, therefore held a majority stake in the newspapers.
In 2013, Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. paid MaineToday Media over $500,000 under the company’s employee theft insurance policy to recoup money that former publisher Richard P. Connor had allegedly stolen from the company for unauthorized personal use. Forensic audits by MaineToday and its insurers had revealed that Connor had given himself unauthorized salary increases and used company funds to pay for personal expenses, including credit card bills, dental work, an SUV, vacation home rentals, and numerous other personal expenses.
Reade Brower ownershipEdit
In 2015, MaineToday Media was sold to Reade Brower, owner of a number of midcoast Maine newspapers and a printing operation in Brunswick, Maine. Over a decade, Brower has consolidated six of Maine's seven daily newspapers, as well as 21 weekly newspapers, under his ownership.
Notable alumni of the paper include Thomas Haskell, known as Cap'n Haskell, who covered marine news for the Eastern Argus newspaper from 1857 to 1920 until it merged with the Portland Press and stayed with the paper until three months prior to his death in 1928; May Craig, who was Washington correspondent from 1935 to 1965; sportswriter Steve Buckley, who later joined the Boston Herald; Steve Riley, who served as managing editor of the Press Herald before leaving in the mid-1980s to become editor of the Central Maine Morning Sentinel; and Marjorie Standish, who wrote a food column for the Maine Sunday Telegram for 25 years.
Current notable journalists include investigative journalist and book author Colin Woodard, who was named Maine Journalist of the Year in 2015; vegan food columnist Avery Yale Kamila, and opinion columnist Bill Nemitz.
In 2006, the paper received a Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Award for General Excellence, Class III.
In 2012, Maine Sunday Telegram reporter Colin Woodard received a George Polk Award in the "Education Reporting" category "for detailing how online education companies steered development of Maine’s digital education policies."
In 2016, Colin Woodard of the Portland Press Herald was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for his "compelling account of dramatic ecological changes occurring in the warming ocean region from Nova Scotia to Cape Cod."
In 2016, the Portland Press Herald reporters Whit Richardson and Steve Mistler received a Gerald Loeb Award for their 2015 series "Payday at the Mill" in the "Local" category. The series detailed a lack of accountability in the Maine New Markets Capital Investment program, a state tax-incentive program.
The newspaper's predecessor, the Portland Daily Press, was formed as a pro-Republican newspaper in an era when most American newspapers had strong political allegiances. In the 1920s, under Guy P. Gannett's leadership, the newspaper adopted a more balanced editorial approach, and today the news and opinion sections of the paper are separate.
In 1929 and 1930, the Portland Press Herald and the Portland Evening News "waged an editorial war" about the Kellogg–Briand Pact and the 1930 London Conference on naval arms limitations: the Evening News took a pacifist view, arguing in favor of the Pact; the Press Herald took the opposite view, calling the Pact "a delusion and a dream." This dispute illustrated a political chasm within the Maine Republican Party at the time between "Old Guard regulars" and pacifists.
Later in the 20th century, the Press Herald was regarded as having a more liberal and pro-Democratic editorial stance than the Bangor Daily News, which leaned toward conservatism and Republicans. Over its history, however, the Press Herald "has covered and endorsed candidates of various political persuasions, including independents Angus King, who was elected governor in 1994 and 1998, and Eliot Cutler, who came in second in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign." The Press Herald endorsed conservative Republican candidates (Dean Scontras and Jason Levesque) in both of Maine's congressional districts in 2010. They were defeated by the Democratic incumbents, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud. In the 2016 presidential election, the paper's editorial board endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The paper endorsed an override of Governor Paul LePage's veto of L.D. 1504, a pro-solar energy bill.
Content from the Portland Press Herald appears on its website pressherald.com. The Portland Press Herald acquired the domain name Portland.com in 1996 for free, using it as the Web address for the papers; Portland.com was sold to a marketing firm and became a visitor's guide for the city of Portland, Oregon, in 2004.
Press Herald buildingEdit
In 1923, Guy Gannett built the Press Herald Building to house all of the paper's operations at 390 Congress Street across from Portland City Hall. An addition was added to the north side of the building facing Congress Street in 1948. In 2010, under Richard Connor's ownership, the newspaper sold the building and printing plant (attached by a tunnel running under Congress Street) and moved its news staff to the nearby One City Center office building.
In 2015, the 110-room Press Hotel opened in the newspaper's former headquarters. It was developed by Jim Brady and sold to a San Francisco-based real estate private equity firm in 2021.
In 1988, the newspaper opened a $40 million print plant at 295 Gannet Drive in South Portland. In 2016, J.B. Brown & Co. purchased the print plant and its surrounding 21 acres in an office park for a reported $4.9 million. J.B. Brown & Co. then leased the building back to the newspaper. The newspaper's newsroom, printing press and distribution functions are located in South Portland.
Maine Community PublicationsEdit
Maine Community Publications is a subsidiary of the newspaper publishing weekly and other news products, including the Coastal Journal in Bath. On Feb. 3, 2004, Maine Community Publications began publication of The Community Leader, a weekly newspaper covering the Portland suburbs of Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth, North Yarmouth and Freeport. The paper's editor was Maggie Daigle and its publisher David Morse. It was a subscription paper that covered local artists, exhibitions and performing arts events. In 2006, Maine Community Publications published an advertising product called the Old Port Times, which was criticized as "selling editorial coverage to advertisers." Maine Community Publications also published The Maine Switch, a lifestyle and entertainment magazine in Portland. It covered the arts in Portland and its content was described in 2008 as "following fads, exploring yoga and toiling away at an endless list of home improvement projects between marathon bouts of Art Walking."
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Kelley Bouchard (October 12, 2012). "Yesterday's News". Portland Press Herald.
- ^ "Owner of Press Herald, 5 other Maine dailies to buy two Hancock County weeklies". Press Herald. 2018-07-25. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
- ^ "The Portland daily press". catalog.loc.gov. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
- ^ "The Night Portland Burned". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 2022-03-26.
- ^ "Portland Press Passes to New Owners". Editor & Publisher. 2 January 1904.
- ^ "LC Online Catalog - Item Information (Full Record)". catalog.loc.gov. Retrieved 2018-06-05.
- ^ Editor and Publisher. Editor & Publisher Company. 1921.
- ^ "Press and Herald Join In Portland". Editor & Publisher. 21 November 1904.
- ^ Wilmsen, Steven. "Seattle Times Co. Buys Maine Newspapers from Guy Gannett". The Boston Globe, page D1, September 2, 1998.
- ^ Mapes, Lynda V. "Times Co. Completes Long-Stalled Sale of Maine Newspapers". The Seattle Times, June 16, 2009.
- ^ Conroy, Erin, and James Vaznis. "Anti-Semitism Sermon Title Rankles Maine Jews". The Boston Globe, February 5, 2007.
- ^ a b "Dateline World Jewry", April 2007, World Jewish Congress
- ^ Erskine, Rhonda. "Credit Union, Newspaper Apologize for Controversial Ad". WSCH, February 16, 2007.
- ^ "Newspaper Vows Closer Scrutiny of Ad Content". Portland Press Herald.
- ^ "Portland: Ad in newspaper seen as offensive to Jews". The Yeshiva World News. 16 February 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
- ^ Harkavy, Jerry. "Seattle Times Co. Puts Maine Newspapers Up for Sale". Associated Press, March 18, 2008.
- ^ 'Portland Press Herald,' 'Maine Sunday Telegram' Cut 36 Jobs, Close News Bureaus, Editor & Publisher (June 27, 2008).
- ^ MaineToday Media Acquires Maine Newspapers, Online Information Portal and Related Real Estate Assets (press release), June 15, 2009. Retrieved on September 14, 2010.
- ^ a b Tux Turkel, Wealthy financier invests in Maine papers, Portland Press Herald (February 10, 2012).
- ^ "Newspaper's Downtown Buildings to Be Sold". Portland Press Herald, Page A1, July 17, 2009.
- ^ "Newspaper Moving to Space in One City Center." Portland Press Herald, Page A1, February 26, 2010.
- ^ "New Owner: Maine Papers Poised to be Profitable". The Seattle Times, June 16, 2009.
- ^ "A note of apology to readers". The Portland Press Herald, September 11, 2010.
- ^ "Paper to Readers: Sorry for Portraying Muslims as Human". Time Magazine, September 14, 2010.
- ^ "For Some, An Apology Offends". On The Media, September 17, 2010.
- ^ "MaineToday Media sued for $124k by paper company". Poynter, November 4, 2011
- ^ Michael R. Sisak, "Trouble for newspaper chain tied to The Times Leader". Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, November 3, 2011.
- ^ Sussman-owned group acquires 75 percent share of MaineToday Media, Bangor Daily News (March 27, 2012).
- ^ Tux Turkel, Press Herald parent accuses former CEO of misusing more than $530,000, Portland Press Herald, April 24, 2013.
- ^ Tux Turkel, MaineToday Media sale closes, Portland Press Herald (June 1, 2015).
- ^ Casey Kelly, The man behind Maine’s unparalleled consolidation of local news, Columbia Journalism Review (September 6, 2018).
- ^ "REPORTER DIES AT 85.; "Cap'n" Thomas L. Haskell a Ship News Man for Seventy Years". The New York Times. 1928-10-01. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-03-26.
- ^ Murray Illson, May Craig, Feisty Capital Writer, Dies, New York Times (July 16, 1975).
- ^ Zeigler, Cyd (2018-10-01). "Steve Buckley leaves the Boston Herald, lands at The Athletic". Outsports. Retrieved 2022-03-27.
- ^ Hoey, Dennis (January 31, 2018). "Steve Riley, former managing editor of Press Herald, dies at 90". Maine Press Association.
- ^ "New cookbook salutes popular Maine columnist". The Ellsworth American. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2022-03-26.
- ^ Gina Hamilton, The fascinating Republic of Colin Woodard, Portland Press Herald (January 2, 2015).
- ^ Grodinsky, Peggy (2014-05-25). "A vegan diet – good for you, good for the planet". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 2022-03-27.
- ^ Rob Caldwell, The Maine newspaper columnist who's seen it all, WCSH (January 16, 2020).
- ^ "Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards: 2006 Winners and Finalists". University of Missouri. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
- 2012 George Polk Award Winners, Long Island University.
- Colin Woodard, Special Report: The profit motive behind virtual schools in Maine, Portland Press Herald (September 1, 2012).
- ^ 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Explanatory Reporting Finalist: Colin Woodard of Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Pulitzer Prizes.
- ^ Jonathan Daillak (June 29, 2016). "UCLA Anderson School honors 2016 Gerald Loeb Award winners" (Press release). University of California, Los Angeles.
- ^ Whit Richardson, Payday at the mill, Portland Press Herald (April 19, 2015).
- ^ Whit Richardson, Shrewd financiers exploit unsophisticated Maine legislators on taxpayers' dime, Portland Press Herald (April 26, 2015).
- ^ a b Robert E. Jenner, FDR's Republicans: Domestic Political Realignment and American Foreign Policy (Lexington Books, 2010), p. 18.
- ^ Christian P. Potholm, This Splendid Game: Maine Campaigns and Elections, 1940-2002 (Lexington Books: 2004), p. 9.
- ^ "Our Endorsements for Congress". Portland Press Herald, October 24, 2010.
- ^ "Our Endorsements for Congress. Portland Press Herald, October 24, 2010.
- ^ Editorial Board (September 25, 2016). "Our View: Hillary Clinton is our choice for president". Portland Press Herald.
- ^ Editorial Board (August 1, 2017). "Our View: Solar proposal remains the best path forward for Maine". Portland Press Herald.
- ^ "Portland.com shifts to Oregon". www.bizjournals.com. May 20, 2004. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- ^ "Portland Press Herald Building to be transformed into boutique hotel - DesignCurial". www.designcurial.com. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
- ^ a b Portland Press Herald vacates longtime home, Associated Press (May 24, 2010).
- ^ Diane Bair & Pamela Wright, Hotel opens in old Portland Press Herald building, Boston Globe (April 5, 2015).
- ^ Cordes, Renee (2021-12-27). "Portland's Press Hotel sold to San Francisco private equity firm". Mainbiz.
- ^ "MaineToday Media sells printing facility in South Portland". Press Herald. 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
- ^ Donnelly, Sara (2005-02-21). "Weekly reader | Portland's affluent suburbs prove an irresistible target for newspaper publishers". Mainebiz.
- ^ "The Community Leader". mainearts.maine.gov. Retrieved 2022-04-04.
- ^ "The Bollard's View". The Bollard. August 14, 2006. Retrieved 2022-04-04.
- ^ "Creative Conversations at SPACE Gallery". Space. Retrieved 2022-04-04.
- ^ "20 Ideas for a Greater Greater Portland". The Bollard. March 5, 2008. Retrieved 2022-04-04.