A distinguished editor and a former public broadcasting executive have joined the board of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting (MCPIR) as the Hallowell-based organization nears its second anniversary.
Matthew V. Storin, the former editor of the Boston Globe, the Chicago Sun-Times, the New York Daily News and Maine Times, recently retired to Camden.
He said, “I’m excited about supporting a much-needed, high-quality investigative journalism venture in Maine. When one considers the state of journalism nationally today, there is much to be pessimistic about. Fortunately, MCPIR is a bold strike in the opposite direction.”
Gordon Lutz of Holden retired in 2008 as Director of Corporate Support at Maine Public Broadcasting, where he worked for eight years. Lutz has also been an independent film distributor in New York and a commercial photographer for corporate clients and national publications. He served as president of the board of the Arcady Music Society and was a founding director of Maine Jazz Arts.
Lutz said, “MCPIR is part of a widening movement toward responsible and significant journalism on the nonprofit business model, and I’m honored to help build a stronger foundation to support the work the organization has undertaken so capably in a shifting and difficult media environment.”
Jay Davis of Belfast, president of the center‘s board of directors, welcomed the participation of Storin and Lutz to the strategic planning process that will occupy the board in the coming year. “We had many successes in 2011, both journalistic and financial, creating a firm foundation for future growth,” Davis said. “As we keep raising the bar for independent, fact-based journalism in Maine, we will benefit greatly from the expertise Matt and Gordon bring to our table.”
The center has also named veteran broadcast journalist Nick Mills of Cumberland to its advisory board. Mills, who teaches journalism at Boston University and is a columnist for Maine Outdoor Journal and Huffington Post, has traveled the globe in his 45-year career reporting from Iraq, Kosovo, Beirut, Tajikistan, Portugal, Vietnam and other hot spots.
Mills will help MCPIR explore non-newspaper markets for its stories and provide counsel on the center’s educational programs.
“I strongly believe that the work being done by MCPIR and its counterparts around the country fulfills the highest goals of the free press, without which real democracy could not exist,” said Mills. “I am excited at the prospect of working with MCPIR on its current projects and long-range goals.”
MCPIR was founded by former Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel publisher John Christie and KJ/Sentinel former opinion page editor Naomi Schalit in January of 2010. Now married, the two life-long journalists have provided comprehensive stories to daily and weekly newspapers across Maine. Many of their reports have triggered government investigations and led to new state policies.
The center’s stories reach an estimated audience of 700,000 and are usually accorded front-page placement by its 22 media partners. The papers include dailies like the Bangor Daily News and the Sun Journal, weeklies such as The Ellsworth American and York County Coast Star and a radio station, WERU in Orland.
In recent months the center has received two major grants that will allow an expansion of its focus and staff. The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation awarded the center a $100,000 grant last summer, and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation gave $25,000. The funds have enabled the center to hire a development/technology employee and launch its “Be Your Own Watchdog” program that assists the public in investigating government practices.