Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Maine: Munjoy in Hiding?

The decomposition of Maine's former newspaper of record, the Portland Press Herald, has been covered most comprehensively (and uncharitably) by the pseudonymous blogger T. Cushing Munjoy. Munjoy's withering criticism -- always snarky, often spot-on -- provided catharsis for what must have been a large audience of frustrated readers, based on the amount of referral traffic that came here after he or she added World Wide Woodard to the CitizenJournalist34 blogroll.

But yesterday, Munjoy suddenly evacuated the blog, purging it of most layout elements and leaving a message as cryptic as the one left by the lost colony of Roanoke: "I will doing this any longer. Life is so odd." No further explanation was forthcoming, and the blogger is not responding to e-mails.

It's not the first time Munjoy has abandoned his post. His original blog, PressingTheHerald, took the previous owners to task more-or-less daily from November 2007 to the spring of 2008, when he declared he was leaving the state. It came back to life a few months later, championing the proposed sale of the Press Herald and her sister papers to Richard Connor, only to close again last spring when the deal went through. When Mr. Connor's vision for the papers became clear this winter, Munjoy returned with his gun loaded for elephants.

Still, the departure raises eyebrows, as the frequency and tone of Munjoy's recent posts showed no indication of weariness. The blogger's knowledge of the internal workings of the papers suggested he was likely a former newsroom employee, possibly even a current one. Perhaps Mr. Connor's counter-intelligence forces have finally tracked him to his lair.

[Update, 3/17/10: Media Mutt has some comment from Munjoy, and some details about the latest staff cuts at the Press Herald.]

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