Four of six Maine daily newspapers to stop printing Monday editions in cost cutting effort

Photo of the old Portland Press Herald location at One City Center in Portland, Maine.

PORTLAND – Masthead Maine, the company that owns five of Maine’s six daily newspapers, will cease printing Monday editions of four of those papers beginning in March.

The Monday print editions of the Portland Press Herald, Lewiston Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel will cease as of March 2. In an article written by Portland Press Herald report J. Craig Anderson yesterday, Masthead Maine CEO Lisa DeSisto, says the elimination of the Monday papers is a cost-cutting measure to preserve newsroom jobs.

Masthead Maine also owns the daily Brunswick Times Record newspaper and 25 smaller weekly newspapers. The Brunswick Times Record’s website now redirects to the Portland Press Herald.

Masthead Maine grew out of what was previously Maine Today Media, a newspaper empire assembled by billionaire S. Donald Sussman and the news assets of Reade Brower, a midcoast direct mail entrepreneur who had found himself in the newspaper business.

In 2015, Brower agreed to acquire Maine Today Media from Sussman, who had saved the company from bankruptcy and potential closure. That acquisition, along with others, put Brower in the unusual position of owning all but one of Maine’s daily newspapers, the Bangor Daily News.

Sussman, who was married to Rep. Chellie Pingree and had faced criticism for his newspaper’s perceived liberal bias during his tenure as owner, announced he and Pingree would divorce later in the same year.

While the print editions of the Monday papers will no longer be published, DeSisto says the company will continue to produce digital-only Monday editions. She says the company expects to lose some revenue due to the loss of the print editions, but that the cost savings the company realizes will more than make up for it and help avoid cuts in the newsroom.

According to the Alliance for Audited Media, from December 2013 to September 2017, the Portland Press Herald’s daily circulation dove by almost 40,000 papers per week. Declines of similar proportion have been reported by news industry watchers for other papers, including those in Maine.

The company says it has no plans to cut the price of the weekly print subscriptions for any of the papers when it stops offering the Monday editions in print.

SOURCES:

https://www.pressherald.com/2020/01/03/press-herald-will-publish-digital-only-on-mondays/

https://pinetreewatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Portland-Press-Herald-September-2017-Audit-Report.pdf

Masthead Maine Home Page: http://masthead.me/

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