After six years of covering southern Maine’s nightlife, music scene, cultural events and at one point staging a giant outdoor pillow fight, Dispatch magazine has gone out of business.
Former editor Nick Schroeder said Thursday he was told of the decision to cease publication of Dispatch in February by the publication’s owner, Camden-based Down East magazine. Schroeder was editor of Dispatch from February 2015 through the last issue in December 2016.
Schroeder, who now works as cultural editor for the arts and news weekly The Portland Phoenix, decided to post a “eulogy” for Dispatch on his Facebook page late Wednesday night because he wanted to thank readers and people he had worked with, and because people had been asking him why new editions of the magazine weren’t coming out. He said he and others worked to make the magazine “engaged, progressive and fun” and geared toward things to do for people who live in Maine. Other event-based publications and websites focusing on food and nightlife in Maine seem more geared to tourists, Schroeder said.
When Dispatch stopped publishing, Schroeder said he was the only full-time editorial employee and that most of the listings, articles and pictures were provided by freelancers. The Portland-based magazine, which published 10 times a year and had a website, was started in 2011 by Frank Copsidas, an entrepreneur who had owned radio stations and other businesses around the country. Copsidas entered a partnership with Down East in early 2015, which included shared ad sales and collaboration on editorial content. But Copsidas was bought out by Down East later that year, Schroeder said.
After the last issue of Dispatch came out in December, Schroeder said he was told the magazine would go on hiatus for restructuring, and he communicated that to advertisers and some readers. Then in February he was told by Down East that Dispatch would not publish again. Two emails and a phone call to Down East seeking comment Thursday were not returned.
He doesn’t know the exact reason Dispatch was shuttered, but Schroeder said he thinks there is room in southern Maine for more publications to cover the huge scope of leisure activities, from music and nightclubs and restaurants, to outdoor festivals, wine and beer tastings and art events. The Portland Phoenix and Maine magazine cover arts and nightlife events in southern Maine, as does the Press Herald’s MaineToday Magazine and MaineToday.com.
Dispatch sponsored a music stage at the annual Old Port Festival and in 2013 the magazine sponsored a public pillow fight in Monument Square as part of International Pillow Fight Day.
Ray Routhier can be contacted at 210-1183 or at: