On Saturday, Oct. 21, the Maine Press Association (MPA) held their annual conference at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Event Center in Bar Harbor. The event was open for students as well as journalists from around the state, and there were students from the University of Maine in attendance as part of both The Maine Campus and the Communication and Journalism department.
The event is tailored to journalists, and the workshops were focused around issues directly concerning the media today, including “fake news.” Journalists see similarities between modern-day accusations of ‘fake news’ and the term ‘yellow journalism,’ a phrase that refers to sensationalist stories and which was coined in the early 1900s. This session offered journalists a chance to share their stories as well as explain how to combat accusations of false reporting.
While “fake news” is not new to journalism, more journalists are under fire now more than ever for their faulty reporting. Throughout this workshop, the message was sent to the students in the audience that no matter what, they should report the facts and tell the story with accurate information.
The featured speaker of the event was Lincoln Millstein, who is the senior vice president of Hearst Newspapers. Millstein talked about marketing and how technology has evolved throughout the years, and how that has played into the success of journalism.
The MPA was founded in 1864 and strives to promote ethical and journalistic standards in the interests of newspapers, journalists and media organizations according to their bylaws. A conference is held every year to offer learning experiences and training to journalists as well as recognize those who have done exceptional work and impacted lives throughout the community.
After the morning workshop sessions, there was a special luncheon where Mark Woodward and Alan Baker were inducted into the MPA Hall of Fame for their years of hard work and dedication to journalists and citizens all over the state.
More awards were given out throughout the day, including Journalist of the Year, which was awarded to Matthew Stone of the Bangor Daily News (BDN). Stone’s most notable work is on Governor Paul LePage and how his decisions affect Maine children through his investigative reporting.
The BDN staff received 45 awards at the 2017 MPA conference for writing, photography, advertising and design, earning top honors for their sections.
“The BDN has some of the smartest, toughest and most innovative journalists in the state. We are incredibly proud of our staff,” Dan MacLeod, deputy managing editor of the paper, said in an article published by the BDN.
The MPA conference was an opportunity for UMaine students to network with other news publications and to hear the stories from those who have been in the field.