Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting launches

In recent years, most newspaper and broadcast news outlets in Maine have reduced newsroom staffs through layoffs, early retirements and attrition. One of first victims is in-depth journalism — stories which often take one or more reporters “off the street” for weeks or even months.

Serious coverage of the electoral and legislative process has also suffered. In Maine, statehouse coverage has declined from about 20 year-around reporters in 1989 to 10 in 1999 to the current five.

Non-profit, foundation- and donor-supported journalism is beginning to appear in other parts of the country. Groups such as ProPublica produce national investigative reporting distributed at no cost to media outlets. Comparable regional organizations, many of them web-based, have sprung up in urban areas such as Boston, Minneapolis and San Diego.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting fills the gap between the diminished in-depth reporting from the existing Maine media and the need of the stateʼs citizens to be fully informed about the actions of its government and public servants.

Center staff and interns will research, write and distribute news stories that uncover and explain the actions of state, local and federal governments and also probe the records of candidates for public office.

Our stories will be written by professional journalists with the assistance of students from Maine colleges and universities. John Christie, the executive director and senior reporter, will edit all stories. Additional editing and review will be provided by our media partners.

Our stories will be distributed across Maine by the Center’s media partners, the Bangor Daily News, Lewiston Sun Journal, Ellsworth American and the Mount Desert Islander, as well as digitally by the Center via its web site and social networking tools. Story topics will be chosen by the Center senior staff based on the suggestions and advice of  the Centerʼs advisors,  media partners and by the public through our websites.

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