Given all the turmoil in Maine’s print-media market these days — papers folding, layoffs, fire sales and so on — you may be wondering how The Bollard is doing. The short answer: better than ever. It seems like every time something bad happens to one of our competitors, something good comes our way.
Three years ago, for example, Down East magazine decided it no longer wanted to pay for the bloggers it’d hired in a bid to increase its online readership, so we picked up Al Diamon’s Media Mutt column and ran with it for over 130 installments online and in print. (Al retired the column earlier this year, but he’s back this month with an essay about his old friend, John Preston.) Last year, MaineToday Media, publisher of the Portland Press Herald and so on, ditched its paid bloggers, so we scooped up Carla Jean Lauter, The Beer Babe (score!).
The brawl last year between The Portland Phoenix, DigPortland and The Daily Sun was a boon to us. First, we acquired the services of advertising director Emma Hollander, who’d left the Phoenix to join the Dig and was among those stranded when the Sun’s publisher sued the Dig to death. Among Emma’s many qualifications is her genuine passion for great alternative journalism. Her hard work these past few months is the reason there are more pages of The Bollard for you to enjoy these days.
Bluesman and storyteller par excellence Samuel James started writing about race for the Dig before its owners retreated back to Boston. He continues that conversation in his debut column for us this month, Racisms.
After buying the Phoenix, the publisher of the Sun shut that semi-daily down, thus making reporter and columnist Cliff Gallant a free agent. I’m psyched to have him on my team.
And, more recently, when Down East bought the entertainment mag Dispatch, they downsized Dispatch designer Nathan Galvez. He’s now our newest art director, taking over the duties Jake MacGillivary handled so adeptly for many years. So welcome, Nathan, and big thanks to Jake for making this publication look so good for so long. Nathan will be guiding a redesign of our pages in the months to come. Your feedback is always welcome.
As we approach our tenth anniversary later this summer, I’m happy to report that The Bollard is also more widely read than ever. We’ve expanded our circulation deeper into York County and extended it along the coast all the way to Bar Harbor. Folks in Bangor are picking us up again, thanks to our new long-distance delivery guy, Ray, who also makes the rounds to Waterville, Augusta and Lewiston/Auburn. If you know of a place in those cities where we should be dropping off copies, give me a shout and I’ll tell Ray.
I’ll save the sentimental stuff for our tenth anniversary issue this September, but thank you, dear reader, for making The Bollard part of your life. This paper exists to inform and entertain you, and it continues to be a pleasure to produce. There’s much more on the way in the months and years ahead.
— Chris Busby