Featured Projects

Hooked on Heating Oil

Maine relies on home heating oil more than any other state. Ending that costly dependence could improve lives and fight climate change, but it won’t be easy.

The exterior of the Sagadahoc County office building with many American flags flying.

Maine’s Part-Time Court

Maine’s probate courts stand alone. Their judges are part-time and elected, and they operate independently from each other and the state supreme court. A lack of oversight by the probate courts may leave Maine’s most vulnerable residents at risk.

Exterior of the Androscoggin County Jail, including barbed wire at the top of a wall

Eavesdropping in Maine Jails

Jailed defendants have a constitutional right to privately speak with their attorneys. Yet, county jails eavesdropped on these calls. Four jails recorded nearly 1,000 attorney-client calls in a single year and shared recordings with police and prosecutors before trial.

Archived Projects

Maine's Class of 2020

2020: A Class Dismissed

Born in the weeks and months after 9/11, and graduated in the year of a crippling pandemic, the Class of 2020 lived through some of the most profound change ever witnessed. These young adults missed out on cornerstone experiences that ease the transition from being a child to being an adult. We captured the stories of a class prematurely dismissed.

Blind Trust

Maine PowerOptions, a quasi-state program bringing together municipalities, school districts and state nonprofits to purchase electricity in bulk, lacks transparency and effective oversight, an investigation found. Our series raised questions about the group’s transparency, oversight and member benefits.

Monmouth, ME, United States -- Jay Patrick's "J.P." stands on his changing table with his mother, Lisa Hasch, after he wakes up from his nap in Monmouth, ME on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. Hasch adopted J.P. and his older brother Devon, and J.P. was an NAS baby who arrived at 4 weeks with withdrawal symptoms that included tremors, rashes, vomiting and constant screaming. J.P. got a feeding tub in July 2017 which improved his quality of life. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun)

Born to Drugs

Nearly 5,000 babies were born affected by drugs in Maine between 2013-2017. Nearly three drug-affected babies were born in Maine each day during that period, severely taxing hospitals, the foster care system and other resources. These innocent victims are caught in a crisis marked by suffering.

Broken Bail

The bail commissioner is an obscure but essential part of Maine’s criminal justice system, and critics say it is in need of serious updating. An investigation uncovered repeated shortcomings despite attempts to overhaul the system.

Deaths of Despair

In a remote corner of Maine that locals call ‘The Forgotten County,’ the pandemic triggered isolation, economic struggles and a surge in suicides and overdoses. Hindered by a lack of mental health resources, communities and schools in Washington County banded together to find help for those with anxiety, depression and despair. 

Defenseless

More than a quarter of Maine attorneys disciplined in the past decade for serious professional misconduct were hired as lawyers for the poor, an investigation by The Maine Monitor and ProPublica found. Sex crimes and felony convictions were among the most severe infractions overlooked. Defendants paid the price.

Cumberland County court records

Due Process

With a low crime rate and relatively few violent crimes, Maine could become a place for innovation when it comes to the treatment of those with mental illness, substance use disorder or trauma that sometimes leads to crime. But can defendants and victims rely on it to give them due process?

I voted stickers given out to voters on election day

Elections 2018

Ahead of the 2018 elections, our newsroom examined Maine’s two U.S. House campaigns, the gubernatorial contest and State House races, profiling candidates in notable races and highlighting the rise of women running for political office.

False Hope

Crime victims are nearly alone in navigating a confusing and understaffed restitution system. District attorneys across Maine are as frustrated as crime victims with the fundamental reality of the restitution system in Maine: it’s broken. 

Susan Collins Sarah Gideon Jared Golden Dale Crafts

Follow The Money

Campaign spending provides one of the only concrete windows into party jockeying for power. The Maine Monitor periodically examines and tracks how campaign fundraising and spending shapes the races for Maine’s federal and state offices using interactive data dashboards and data-driven storytelling.

Help Wanted: The Immigrant Opportunity

Maine is racing into an economic crisis because it doesn’t have enough workers for its jobs. This series moved past the heated rhetoric focusing on people in the US illegally and examined how immigrants who are cleared to work could help fill Maine’s employment gap.

A trash heap inside a landfill

Invisible and Indestructible

Maine faces widespread contamination due to PFAS in ubiquitous use and now polluting wells, public water supplies, farmland and food chains. The so-called “forever chemicals” have far-reaching repercussions.

A silhouette image of two individuals holding hands

The Journey to Be Me

The voices of transgender people are not often heard. They are grandmothers, ex-Marines, grade school children and leaders. As a record number of states pass anti-transgender laws across the country, we chronicled the stories of Maine’s transgender people and their struggle to be accepted and understood.

The Last Responders

COVID-19 triggered a grief epidemic. It robbed families of final goodbyes, left loved ones to die with strangers, and postponed wakes and funerals. It overwhelmed Maine’s “Last Responders,” priests, chaplains, funeral directors and hospice workers who must work around restrictions aimed at diminishing virus infections. These are stories of The Last Responders.

A yellow piece of paper warns individuals of lead poisoning hazards. The sign reads CAUTION POISION LEAD HAZARD AREA DO NOT ENTER WORK AREA UNLESS AUTHORIZED

Lead Paint Danger

Childhood lead poisoning may be less talked about these days, but an investigation found it remains the top toxic health hazard for children. The problem is acute and persistent in parts of Maine, especially among poor and immigrant families.

The Lottery: Selling Hope to the Hopeless

Mainers falling on hard times rely on the lottery to rescue them. A first-ever statistical analysis showed lottery ticket sales rise when people lose their jobs. The state government spent millions to sway Mainers to buy more tickets.

Maine Trust Project

In our mistrust-filled world full of political contention, mustering the courage to have authentic conversations with people can be a challenge. Finding common ground and engaging in civil discourse can seem elusive, if not sadly impossible. We sat down with Mainers to discuss this precious commodity.

Maine statehouse

Making Connections

Our newsroom maintained a database, Making Connections: A Guide to Maine Legislators’ Private and Public Interests, in 2016 and 2017 for citizens who wanted to understand how the state legislature works, and to help identify the private financial interests of lawmakers and their families. 

Biddeford Journal Tribune

The News Makers

Journalism created with care, integrity and transparency is a cornerstone of a healthy, vibrant democracy. When citizens understand how their news is produced and who is producing it, they’re more likely to trust what’s reported, make informed decisions and engage in a healthy dialogue on issues that matter. So, we examined Maine’s newspaper landscape. 

Rx for Theft

Most of the people who fill prescriptions are honest and do their job well. But some of those people in white smocks are thieves, drug addicts or both. In 13 cases over a decade, the public’s health was jeopardized by people with a history of substance abuse and theft allowed to hold a license to dispense drugs at pharmacies.

Single Parents in Poverty

Nearly half of all births in Maine are to unmarried mothers. Is there a solution to the single-parent crisis? Not an easy one, say the experts and the people who try to help single mothers and their children, including teachers and school officials on the front lines of the crisis. Through this series, we show how they are trying.

Troubled Minds

Our investigation found scores of problems with how Maine treats its mentally ill residents. After 27 years, Maine still fails to comply with a court-ordered decree to improve treatment of the state’s mentally ill thanks to inadequate funding and potential conflicts of interest.

Unsafe Homes: Children in Peril

Two Maine babies and two toddlers died during in a three month span due to suspected abuse by their parents, setting a state record. This series looks at the community impact and efforts to curb repeated instances.

Aerial view of many homes that are sandwiched between a march and the ocean

The Unstoppable Ocean

Along Maine’s stunning coastline, vulnerable communities wrestle with the inevitable rise of the sea caused by the warming ocean. We explored how 10 communities are preparing and adapting.

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