Portland Press Herald Fails to Name Names
By Al Diamon
Plea and go free: The Portland Press Herald has again added to the confusion about its policy of naming those involved in the Kennebunk prostitution case. On Nov. 14, the Press Herald published a story by staff writer Ann S. Kim that said four men had pleaded guilty to paying Zumba instructor Alexis Wright for sex, apparently to avoid having their names appear on the list of alleged johns issued summons by Kennebunk police.
Inexplicably, Kim’s article doesn’t contain the names of the men.
Even though they admitted their guilt.
Even though the names are a public record.
Even though the names had appeared in the Portsmouth Herald the day before.
Nor did the Press Herald bother to explain why it decided not to use the names.
This leaves the Portland paper in the odd position of naming those who are charged with soliciting – but not convicted – while protecting the privacy of those who didn’t contest that they committed the misdemeanor.
This makes no ethical, moral or legal sense. And it certainly doesn’t qualify as quality journalism.
Signed off: Maureen O’Brien is out as news director at WCSH-TV in Portland. O’Brien departed less than a week after the station aired an interview with chief meteorologist Joe Cupo in which he denied rumors of his involvement in the Kennebunk prostitution case.
Neither O’Brien nor the station gave any reason for her leaving, but the Portland Press Herald ran a short piece that hinted it had something to do with the Cupo story.
O’Brien had been news director for over four years and Channel 6’s managing editor for five before that.
Taking the weekend off – and more: The strike at the Hostess Brands plant in Biddeford began at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9. The Portland Press Herald finally got around to covering it on Nov. 14.
For once, even local television news was more on top of the story.
New kids in town: The Portland Press Herald has hired a couple of new reporters. Scott Dolan is a former editor at the Taunton Daily Gazette and Herald News in Taunton and Fall River, Mass., according to LinkedIn.
Matt Byrne has worked as a correspondent covering the suburbs for the Boston Globe.
Prize-worthy satire: For the last – and quite possibly the best – take on how the media covered the election, check out the Sardine Report’s posting on how it won a Pulitzer for not bothering.
Al Diamon can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.