Since he took over Port City Life -- and renamed in Maine. The Magazine -- publisher Kevin E. Thomas has turned it into an extremely attractive catalog. Modeled on the lines of his other magazine, Maine Home + Design, it runs lots of nice pictures and soft features on advertisers, painting an image of an alternate Maine where the upper middle class has finally purged the state of poverty, politics, and unethical behavior, or at least have the good sense not to write about them. But if Angela Adams ever puts out a $400 skin for your iPod, you can can count on Maine. The Magazine to break the news, and even give you the URL to order one.
Check out their "profile" of Roxanne Quimby in the new issue. Here's a piece on one of the state's most divisive figures, without the slightest hint that her enormous land purchases (and draconian management approach) have upset half the people living in the northern half of the state. (It certainly didn't ask why a person who advocates for earth-friendly living and who gave large sums to defeat Maine casino proposals would allow her non-profit land holding foundation to invest in Harrah's Entertainment, Avon Products, Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil, and Dow Chemical.) But when I happened to turn to page four, the editorial reasoning became clear: the entire page is taken up by an ad from, yes, Roxanne Quimby. Hard to trust the editors have the reader's interests in mind when features and adverts appear to be sold as a bundle.
But integrity aside, something appears to be going on over there. Senior editor Peter A. Smith and Art Director Jennifer S. Muller just vanished from the editorial box and have presumably been let go or replaced. The "editor's notes" feature in the front of the new magazine has been occupied by an oddly pleading note from the advertising account manager, accompanied by unaudited circulation figures.
Meanwhile, publisher Kevin Thomas appears to have troubles of his own. In December, his name appeared in the police blotter at the Forecaster (reportedly arrested on a warrant for domestic violence), and then again in March in the Lewiston Sun-Journal (for drunk driving, a violation of previous bail.) Rumor has it that the swift-footed Press Herald is on the story, though I'll believe that when I see it.
It's not clear what all this means for the magazine, whose latest issue was thick with ads, but I wouldn't be shocked if more changes are coming up.
[Update, 6/30/2010: Some further developments included in this news roundup.]