Maine Times Drops AAN Membership

Publisher Cites Lack of Commonality with Other Member Papers.

Maine Times, a statewide newsweekly based in Hallowell, Maine, is no longer an AAN member.

According to Publisher/Editor Douglas Rooks, the paper dropped its membership earlier this year.

“As a rural, paid and statewide paper, we just don’t think we fit well with other [AAN] members,” says Rooks. “In terms of core and focus, we don’t have that much in common with the others.”

The Times’ AAN link had much to do with its 1994 business merger with AAN-member Casco Bay Weekly in Portland, Maine, he says. Following the merger, the paper moved its operations to Portland, where it and Casco Bay were headquartered under one roof. That arrangement, however, didn’t pan out.

“We had two very dissimilar papers — one is free, the other is paid, one is statewide, the other goes out to Portland and a few suburbs — working out of the same office and that arrangement created a difficult situation,” says Rooks. “We would have staff meetings and I would be the Times representative. Many times, I felt like I was speaking Greek.”

Last year, the papers divorced. The 30-year-old Times was purchased for $205,000. Its new owners moved it to Hallowell, located just outside Augusta, the state capital. Today, Rooks and five others own the struggling 12,000-circulation paper.

Despite dropping its AAN membership, Rooks says the paper will continue to be associated with other newspaper groups such as the Maine and New England Press Associations.