What We Heard in Bar Harbor: There's a Lot Going on That Needs Our Attention

At the heart of the Tell Me More Tour is our news team hearing about topics and issues that are top-of-mind directly from community members. The Bar Harbor tour stop was exactly that — attendees sharing the challenges they see facing Bar Harbor and offering detailed suggestions for topics worthy of news coverage.

Set at the wonderful Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Deputy News Director Susan Sharon and News Producer and Reporter Jennifer Mitchell discussed their reporting experiences and practices and then immediately dove into what Maine Public had gleamed about the region from a state-wide survey conducted earlier this year. While the results of the survey did generally resonate with many of the attendees, it was clear from the get-go that our survey results barely scratched the surface of what attendees wanted Maine Public to cover.

Maine Public audience members at the Abbe Museum on August 15, 2019.
Credit Mark Vogelzang / Maine Public

Attendees shared how Bar Harbor and the surrounding towns were being affected by numerous outside forces and they were concerned at what the outcomes might potentially be for their citizens and their environment. An increase in the number of visiting cruise ships, the growth of Jackson Labs, and increasing traffic congestion were each highlighted as having dramatic affects on the town and on the environment. Maine Public was encouraged to look at the ecology of the region and how that was changing, share more information about Central Maine Power and energy policies in Maine, and, in general, be more proactive than reactive in reporting about their region. Food insecurity, the dilemma around how to manage plastic waste, and the need for developing ethical standards to help Bar Harbor navigate a path to a sustainable future were all touched on.

Deputy News Director Susan Sharon (l.) and Weekend Edition Producer-Host Jennifer Mitchell (r.) at the Abbe Museum on August 15, 2019.
Credit Mark Vogelzang / Maine Public

But attendees cautioned us that they wanted to hear positive stories too — successes, acts of kindness, and human interest. As one attendee noted, "Good local stories contribute to the sense of community both here in Bar Harbor and across the entire state."

Thank you, Bar Harbor, for an exceptional discussion.