One of the nation’s leading advocates for nonprofit news came to Maine last week to consult with The Maine Monitor and urge Mainers to support nonprofit news and the Monitor in particular as the solution to threats to a healthy democracy.
Evan Smith, the co-founder of the Texas Tribune, told a crowd in Augusta that the Monitor is part of a nonprofit news movement that is vital in an era of widespread misinformation.
“The Maine Monitor and the Texas Tribune and robust local news in this country is the antidote to the poison,” said Smith on Friday at the First Amendment Museum in Augusta. “We are the last line of defense.”
“A better Maine Monitor makes for a better Maine,” Smith said.
Smith stepped down as CEO of the Tribune last year and is now a senior advisor for the Emerson Collective, which is supporting The Maine Monitor and nonprofit news sites around the country. He appeared at fundraising events with Monitor readers in Portland and Augusta.
The Monitor is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news site that provides its in-depth stories for free to its readers and news outlets in Maine. Monitor stories are published on its website and its newsletters, and regularly republished around the state.
The Monitor’s investigative journalism is supported by hundreds of individual contributors as well as national and local organizations, including ProPublica, Report for America, the Knight Foundation, and the Pulitzer Center.
In the past year, the Monitor has launched two new newsletters, doubled the traffic to its stories, and won numerous awards.
The Monitor is published by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, a 13-year-old nonprofit that was set up to fill in the gaps created by diminished local news coverage in Maine.
Smith’s visit came as the Monitor wrapped up a spring membership drive that raised more than $15,000 and added 55 new members.
“Read the Monitor, support what they do, in a very literal sense, my call to action is: Write them a check. Become a member,” Smith said. “We know that with more money the Monitor can do more work and more important work and better work and more transformational work and change this state.”