April 07, 2020

Ice storm delays state’s newspaper trail> Dailies forced to cope with publication, delivery challenges caused by power outages

PORTLAND — The ice storm that cut off electricity and left a trail of devastation across much of Maine delayed and in at least one case blocked publication and delivery of the state’s daily newspapers.

In Brunswick, The Times Record was unable to publish its Friday afternoon edition.

“When we came in that morning we had no power at all and no hint of when it would come on,” said Executive Editor Martin McKenna. “We used generators to power the computers and did the reporting, but there was no power to run the presses.”

The Times Record considered an offer to use the presses of the Portland Press Herald that would allow it to publish on schedule, but in the end decided it was more prudent to wait.

“We were worried about the danger to our carriers because of all the downed lines,” McKenna said. The edition was printed Friday night and delivered Saturday morning.

The Lewiston Sun Journal, a morning paper, didn’t publish Friday because its power went out. The Portland Press Herald printed Friday’s Sun Journal, which was delivered the next day with the Saturday edition.

It was touch-and-go at the Bangor Daily News as the power went on and off Thursday afternoon and evening. “But lo and behold, the lights finally came on and we decided to put a paper together,” said A. Mark Woodward, executive editor.

The NEWS printed 12,000 copies, well short of the usual 75,000, and distributed them at supermarkets and convenience stores within Bangor. Many readers stopped at the newspaper building to pick up a copy.

“We didn’t attempt to deliver outside of Bangor. The roads were horrendous and there was icing everywhere,” Woodward said.

The Kennebec Journal in Augusta and the Morning Sentinel in Waterville published a combined edition.

Publishers in storm-ravaged areas of New York state also ran into problems.

The Watertown Daily Times juggled its publication schedule to keep up with the storm.

“We published our Friday paper Saturday, our Saturday paper Sunday and we doubled up putting out our Sunday and Monday papers today. Our streak may be over but at the end of the week our readers are going to have the same number of papers,” Robert Gorman, assistant managing editor, said Monday.

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