BIDDEFORD — Bruce Hardina was recently named publisher of the Journal Tribune in Biddeford. Hardina most recently served as publisher and editor of the Coastal Journal in Bath, a free weekly newspaper serving the southern Midcoast region.

He is originally from Long Island, New York. He discovered Maine while traveling the country back in the 1970s, and “fell in love with our great state,” he said. In 1999, he and his wife Elaine made Maine their home. Hardina has relocated to Biddeford from Nobleboro and began working for the Journal Tribune Friday, Aug. 1.

“This part of our state is really exciting, and I am thrilled to be here and working for the county’s only daily newspaper,” he said. “I love the newspaper business, and I’ve already met some really nice, genuine people.”

In addition to his professional experience, Hardina is also a lifelong singer-songwriter who plays guitar and said he likes to fish, hike, write, eat great seafood and “accomplish great things.” He has an 11-year-old daughter whom he adores, he said.

Sample News Group is a family-owned publishing company with other newspapers and printing operations located in Maine, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Hardina is replacing veteran publisher Jim Freeland, who has been promoted to regional manager for Sample News Group New England.

American’s Serialized Murder Mystery Has a Different Author for Each Chapter

By Stephen Fay

ELLSWORTH — It started in November of 2013 as a kooky idea. Nine months later, the idea has become reality and it’s still kooky: a 15-chapter murder mystery set in Ellsworth with each succeeding chapter written by a different volunteer author.

“Murder at the Black House” will be serialized in The Ellsworth American’s new weekly magazine section, The Ellsworth American Extra. The Extra, available only to subscribers, will be launched in the Aug. 7 edition of the newspaper.

Scott Shields of Ellsworth came up with the notion of a serialized novel by an ensemble cast of authors. In a Nov. 1, 2013, letter to Managing Editor Stephen Fay, Shields wrote that “the idea is to provide an ongoing fictional story (serial) that takes place in the Ellsworth area. I realize that this has been done before but I think this is unique in that
there will be multiple writers (a new writer for each chapter, continuing the story from where the previous author ends).”

Fay, Publisher Alan Baker and General Manager Terry Carlisle were intrigued. Coincidentally, The American management was early in the planning stage of a magazine section that would be included only in subscriber editions of the paper. The thought was to reward current subscribers for their loyalty and to entice non-subscribers to sign up.

Extra inducement: drop the price of a subscription from $42 to $29 and throw in a digital subscription at no extra charge. Extra-extra inducement: raise the price of a newsstand copy from $1 to $2.

The American ran a calling-all-writers notice in the Nov. 21 edition of the paper. A session would be held at the Ellsworth Public Library Dec. 11, 2013, to determine whether there was interest in Shields’ idea. Nineteen individuals, aged 20-something to 70-odd, showed up. The project was launched.

For the next nine months, the writers group met once and sometimes twice a week at The American. A plot and a stable of characters were hashed out, though it was slow going at first. Eventually, the group settled on a mystery set in contemporary Ellsworth.

The protagonist would be a young woman. There would be a murder, curious clues and romance. Joshua Torrance, executive director of Woodlawn and the Black House Museum invited the group up for a mid-winter meeting. He discussed the history of the Black House to a rapt audience of aspiring novelists. The Black House became a major player in subsequent discussions.

Turnout at the meetings fell off over time, which is normal, but a core group kept the faith: Sandy Cohen, Elizabeth Delano, Jenny King, Monica Giordano, Diane Gallagher, Michelle Knowlton, Mac Herrling, Andrea St. George Jones and Scott Shields.

Each took a chapter. For reasons of space, Fay set a maximum of 1,500 words per chapter. Gallagher went first with Chapter 1, then Herrling, then St. George Jones and so on. A few authors had to write an additional chapter when it became clear the story arc would carry through to 15 chapters.

Halfway through the writing process, Sullivan artist Mary Welsh dropped by The American to see if the paper had any interest in an editorial cartoonist. She brought samples of her previously published work. Based on the quality of her drawings, she was offered the job of volunteer illustrator. Welsh’s drawings of the characters and scenes appear in each of the 15 chapters. Ellsworth American Page Designer David Fickett evolved a design that works in images of the Black House.

Publisher Baker is enthusiastic about the process. He notes that magazines in Europe and the United States serialized novels in the early part of the 20th century — though serialized authorship is a new twist.

Will The American venture back into serialized novel publication in the future? “We’d like to,” Baker said. “This has been a lot of fun. Let’s see what the readers think.”

The Individual Award nominations deadline for the 2014 MPA Better Newspaper Contest has been extended to July 25, 2014. The guidelines for entering are shown below. Elaborate portfolios are not necessary – only the content is judged.

UNSUNG HERO AWARD: For any staff member, in any department, whose contributions to his or her newspaper have been essential but often overlooked. Nominations may include examples of the nominee’s work and letters from supervisors and/or co-workers detailing his or her contributions.

ADVERTISING PERSON OF THE YEAR: For an advertising employee whose work has been truly distinguished over the course of a year or years. Candidates may have established unique marketing plans or stood out through other measures such as sales record. Work samples may be included with a nomination letter.

BOB DRAKE YOUNG WRITER’S AWARD: For a full-time staffer of an MPA newspaper with fewer than two years of full-time experience as of July 11, 2014. A letter from the staffer’s supervisor must contain a review of the nominee’s experience and accomplishments. School or college newspaper experience does not count as full-time experience. Entries will be evaluated on writing quality, enterprise, imagination, thoroughness, balance and general reporting. As many as six articles may be submitted.

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: For an exceptional news employee whose work has been truly distinguished over the previous year or a period of years. A reasonable number of news clips, photographs or other samples of work must be included with a cover letter from the nominee’s editor or publisher. The nominee must be a staff employee of a member newspaper.

Mail all nominations by July 25, 2014 to:
Diane Norton, Executive Director
Maine Press Association
PO Box 336
Camden, ME 04843
Note: If the number of entries is insufficient for any individual award, that award may not be given out. In that case, any nominations will be held over for the following year.

The Journal Tribune in Biddeford Maine seeks qualified candidates for Publisher/Advertising Manager. The successful candidate’s primary focus is on driving revenue with a seasoned sales team while maintaining a personal account list of active advertisers. Responsibilities include planning, coordinating and directing all departments of the newspaper.

Ideal candidate will be an adverting pro with successful goal oriented and results driven newspaper advertising leadership experience. Must possess strong customer service needs selling skills and the ability to develop skills in others.
This is an exciting opportunity for the right individual to come in and lead by example. The Journal Tribune is a seven day newspaper along with several niche publications including a mailed weekly product. This position is available because current publisher promotion within company.

For consideration, please send a cover letter, resume and salary history to Journal Tribune, Attn: Jim Freeland, 457 Alfred St. Biddeford, ME or email to All replies kept in strict confidence.

Nominations are being taken for 2014 inductees to the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame. The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 11.

Candidates must be Maine newspaper professionals who have made lasting career contributions to their craft, in or out of the state. Typically, some of each year’s Hall of Fame class is inducted posthumously.

A total of 60 journalists have been inducted since the Hall of Fame was established in 1998.
A list of all inductees is available on the MPA website:

The MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee asks that names be submitted as soon as possible so they can be circulated among the committee members who will select the inductees.

Each nomination should be accompanied by supporting material that will help committee members as they make their decisions.

Nominations can be sent to the committee chair:
Paula Gibbs
26 Touassic Lane
Woolwich, ME 04579

Questions may be directed to Paula Gibbs at or to Executive Director Diane Norton at

This year’s inductees will be announced in mid-August. The 2014 induction ceremony will be held at the MPA Fall Conference in October.



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