A sign at Foods of Harpswell bears testimonials for the Harpswell Anchor. “It’s an honest, straightforward publication,” says one. “Thank you for your service.” (Jessica Picard photo)
On Aug. 27, I was one of the speakers at Foods of Harpswell. My colleague Janice Thompson organizes this event to thank Anchor donors and sponsors. For me, it was an opportunity to reflect on how far the Anchor has come in little more than two years. The following are my remarks:
In the spring of 2021, the new Anchor was an experiment. Little more than an idea.
In two short years, look what we have become.
Our first edition — June 2021 — was 20 pages.
Our July 2023 edition was 48 pages.
For our first edition, the Anchor didn’t have a news staff.
As of May 2023, the Anchor employs two full-time journalists with a combined 35 years of experience. I’m proud to work alongside our newest colleague, J. Craig Anderson.
In the spring of 2021, nonprofit news was a novelty in Maine.
In the summer of 2023, a nonprofit bought Maine’s largest news organization, including five daily newspapers and 17 weeklies. The Anchor was ahead of its time — and an inspiration to the people who worked to save these publications from a predatory buyer.
Two years ago, some of the first tips I heard were about dysfunction in the local school district. Today, the Anchor has become the go-to news outlet for in-depth and up-to-date coverage of this four-town district.
In the spring of 2021, the Anchor wasn’t publishing news online. In July 2023, our website had more than 36,000 views. Not bad for a community of 5,000 people. And just last week, we launched a biweekly newsletter to keep you up to date on everything we post to the website between print editions.
And we’re not done. Our team is always thinking about how to improve the Anchor. Because of your support, we have the resources to shape this newspaper into the best product we can imagine.
This gathering is an extraordinary show of support for local news in your community. I’m proud to be here with you all. You make our work possible. Thank you.
J.W. Oliver, Editor, Harpswell Anchor