May 24, 2010

Portland newspapers are on the move

For 87 years, our newspapers’ offices stood tall at the top of the Old Port. Today, we’ve found a new home.

By Tux Turkel tturkel@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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The new city room of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, part of MaineToday Media, is set up for the big move this past weekend of the newspapers’ editorial staff and administrative support personnel. The new offices are located at One City Center in downtown Portland.

Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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John Richardson, a reporter with The Portland Press Herald, has to decide what to save and what to throw out as he packs his belongings for the editorial staff’s move to One City Center.

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See our special historic move coverage (slideshow, video and more).

The trend to shrink and relocate also reflects the financial pressure media companies have been under since the recession. To cut expenses and cope with falling revenues from advertising and circulation, they’ve been looking for ways to trim overhead.

In one of the most stark examples, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution moved this year from its longtime downtown home to a former Macy’s distribution center at a mall in Dunwoody, Ga., a suburb just outside the city’s freeway loop. Recent news coverage about the move invoked the nostalgia of the paper’s former headquarters, which served as a stop for candidates on election nights and a place where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King had come to persuade editorial boards.

In a larger sense, newspapers leaving their home bases reflects a tension today between tradition and innovation, according to Kelly McBride, a faculty member at The Poynter Institute, the Florida-based school and resource center for journalism.

The prime real estate that many newspapers occupy in a city signified their role as a center of power in the community, McBride said. That dynamic changed a bit 20 years or so ago, when companies – including Guy Gannett – began building modern printing plants outside the city center.

oday’s ongoing transformation of media is giving owners new reasons to shed expensive real estate.

“The overhead of the old way of doing things is expensive,” McBride said. “It makes newspapers less competitive.”

But a certain degree of nostalgia exists in Portland for its leading newspaper, and that sense is recognized by the new owner.

“Much of the legacy of The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram will always remain at 390 and 385 Congress St.,” said Richard L. Connor, MaineToday Media’s chief executive officer. “Our employees have worked there since the early 1920s and we leave with a sense of deep respect for the men and women who worked there, their personal and professional histories and for the work they produced.”

Visitors to One City Center during business hours will now find a reception area for the Press Herald on the fifth floor. The advertising department is located on the second floor.

Staff Writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at: tturkel@pressherald.com

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Additional Photos

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Nicholas Robertson and Alex Shupe, installation technicians for Headlight Audio Visual Inc., install a 60-inch Sharp HD flat screen TV, one of 19 flat screens installed throughout the MaineToday Media new headquarters at One City Center.

  


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