Among the more colorful and well-known Washington, D.C., reporters over the years was May Craig, Washington correspondent for the Guy Gannett Newspapers.

Craig’s “Inside Washington” column was a staple of Maine journalism for 50 years, and for those of us old enough to remember, it was a must-read if you had a yen for politics.

She appeared often on “Meet the Press,” wearing her trademark hat and gloves. Her couture might have given the wrong impression of her seriousness about her job and the credentials she brought to it.

Her work as a wartime foreign correspondent was groundbreaking for women journalists.

She died in 1975 and is a member of the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame.

Jonathan Riskind is no May Craig when it comes to long-term familiarity with Maine and its D.C. politicos, and he doesn’t claim to be, but he’ll be blazing new trails for MaineToday Media that most likely would make May proud.

As of Monday, Riskind becomes the Washington bureau chief for MaineToday Media, writing for our newspapers in Portland, Augusta and Waterville.

Riskind’s hiring marks our continued effort to boost our coverage of government – locally, statewide and now nationally. We have expanded our State House bureau over the past year to include three full-time reporters.

Riskind most recently served for 10 years as Washington bureau chief for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. He has hosted a weekly public affairs television show, “On the Hill,” for the Ohio News Network, and is a prodigious blogger.

He had reported for the Dispatch in Washington since 1995, after working for the paper in Columbus for six years, covering state, county and general assignment stories. Before that, he reported for a daily suburban Cleveland paper and a weekly in Maryland.

Riskind has been awarded two distinguished fellowships and won multiple journalism awards, including several for investigative reporting on topics as wide-ranging as a uranium plant, schools and even sports. He won an award for a profile of Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 1999, when Kasich was a prominent congressman.

So, he’s an old hand.

What we like, though, is that he’s also a new hand. He co-wrote The Columbus Dispatch’s Daily Briefing blog, which was awarded first place in the best-blogger category of the 2008 journalism contest sponsored by the Ohio Associated Press.

Riskind represents the new breed of journalists who use social media as a platform that parallels and augments print. He’s on Twitter and Facebook writing about politics and governmental issues.

Maine’s two Republican senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, have high profiles and are important cogs in the wheel of national policymaking. U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, both Democrats, were re-elected last November and will be important members of what is now a minority-but-vocal party in the House of Representatives.

We’ve been looking for “a Riskind” for well over a year and interviewed a number of qualified candidates but none with his depth of background and experience.

He came to us by a circuitous route that demonstrates how interwoven events can be in a career.

A reporter I worked with more than 20 years ago suggested to his wife that she consider me as a columnist for CQ, which at the time was owned by Congressional Quarterly. Managing Editor Katherine Rizzo signed me up for what was a wonderful 18-month stint on a national stage, which ended when Congressional Quarterly was sold and I became totally immersed in our work here in Maine.

We developed a friendship over her delicate and fine hand at editing my columns, which were always late and strewn with commas placed willy-nilly whenever I felt the urge to throw in a squiggle here or a squiggle there.

Rizzo offered to bird-dog candidates to work with us in Washington and found one of the best.

Riskind was comfortable and happy with the job he had, but was intrigued by the challenge of building something new and serving an entire state with political reporting.

So eager has he been that although his official first day of work is Monday, he has already started work on a nonpolitical story for us that just happens to be in his ZIP code.

Look for his byline soon.

Richard L. Connor is CEO of MaineToday Media, owner of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. A newspaperman for 40 years, he has served on two Pulitzer Prize for Journalism nominating committees. He can be reached at: [email protected]