Harpswell Anchor staffers attend a panel about local, nonprofit news at the University of Maine at Farmington on March 28. From left: Amber Stone, journalism lecturer at the university; Janice Thompson, director of development and operations at the Anchor; J.W. Oliver, editor of the Anchor; David Dahl, editor of The Maine Monitor; and Andre Cormier, executive director of Mt. Blue Community Access Television, the nonprofit publisher of the Daily Bulldog.
Harpswell Anchor staff members participated in a panel discussion about the future of local news at the University of Maine at Farmington on March 28.
The event’s title was “The Future of Local News: Why Does Local News Matter and Is Nonprofit the Answer?”
The panelists were all representatives of nonprofit news outlets: Andre Cormier, executive director of Mt. Blue Community Access Television, which publishes the Daily Bulldog; David Dahl, editor of The Maine Monitor; J.W. Oliver, editor of the Harpswell Anchor; and Janice Thompson, director of development and operations for the Harpswell Anchor.
The moderator was Amber Stone, a lecturer in journalism at the university and former editor of the Daily Bulldog. The event was hosted by the university and its student-run news outlet, the Farmington Flyer.
Thompson, one of the founders of the nonprofit that resurrected the Anchor after it ceased publication in 2020, said she is proud to have built a model for “how to do hyperlocal news in a truly nonpartisan way.”
“We’re actually getting calls from nonprofit newsroom startups from across the country asking us, ‘How did you do it?'” Thompson said. To help those newsrooms launch is “so much better than just complaining about news deserts and how bad it is.”
Oliver, a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington and former editor of the Flyer, encouraged students to consider a career in journalism and shared advice and resources for prospective journalists.
As a college student during the Great Recession, Oliver said, “The message that I heard was layoffs, layoffs, layoffs. Newspapers are dying. You’re not going to find a job in journalism. Why would you even think of pursuing this? That hasn’t been what I’ve found.”
Oliver noted that the Anchor, Maine Public, and at least two for-profit newspapers in Maine were all hiring journalists at the time of the panel.
A video of the panel is available at tinyurl.com/future-news.