We are pretty certain that one would be hard pressed to have a discussion with a more knowledgeable group of news aficionados than the people who attended our Augusta Tell Me More Tour event. They knew Maine Public and, by extension, NPR and the BBC like nobody's business!
Senior News Editor Keith Shortall led off the evening welcoming attendees and quickly launched into a discussion with Maine Public's Steve Mistler and Mal Leary on a number of subjects including the state of the Maine political landscape, what the transition to Governor Janet Mills has meant to reporting opportunities and greater transparency, and how Maine Public is navigating the media world that seems dominated by fake news and skepticism. Steve and Mal fielded multiple questions about news coverage in this era of "mistruths" and shared how they work to communicate all sides of issues they report on and try to find experts to fairly present all positions. Audience members praised both of them and our call-in news show Maine Calling for doing just that.
Keith then led the discussion to what is going on in the local community and what attendees would like to see Maine Public cover more. The group voiced a thirst for more extensive coverage of issues facing not only their community, but the entire state as well. And the list of suggested topics was quite expansive: economic inequality, the overwhelming property tax burden for seniors, giving voice to Maine's immigrant communities, the need for more coverage of the arts, and a need for a new approach to communicating the realities of climate change. Keith noted that Maine Public has already embraced this idea of going deeper in our reporting in a new series called the Deep Dive that officially launches later in June taking on the state of child care in Maine.
All in all, a number of strong story ideas were raised in Augusta that we'll take back to the greater Maine Public news department for their review.
THANK YOU Augusta!