Fifteen months ago, when COVID-19 shut down businesses around the world, advertising in newspapers collapsed just as the public’s need for information exploded.
So we asked our readers for support. You, and more than 650 other people, stepped forward to support the Bangor Daily News with $60,000 in donations and a steady stream of letters and emails of encouragement. We were floored, and grateful. You told us that fact-based reporting matters, that you rely on local journalism, that you’d never want to be without the BDN. You stood with us in support of local journalism, which is essential to healthy local communities. And in 2020, “healthy” meant something really, really personal.
Since then, here’s what we’ve done.
- Our comprehensive COVID-19 coverage has analyzed the daily numbers, chronicled the vaccine rollout and shared tips on living through the pandemic. We continue to probe the impact of COVD-19 on Maine’s economy and community life, and tell the stories of those we have lost.
- We asked you what information you need. You told us, we adjusted our reporting, and then we asked again.
- Our reporters carefully chronicled what was known — and not known — about the wedding reception on Millinocket Lake that contributed to several COVID-19 outbreaks last August.
- We told the story of conflict over restrictions and mandates, which played out in Belfast as the city’s “resistance corner” became a boiling point for disagreement around mask rules and free speech.
- Our Lawmen Off Limits investigation exposed a systemic lack of accountability among Maine’s sheriffs, led to new reform legislation, and won several awards.
- Our examination into the cancellation of addiction recovery coaching at the Hancock County Jail led to a reinstatement of the services.
- Our examinations of missteps in a number of Maine police departments have revealed the many challenges faced by these small departments. It can be even harder to provide adequate law enforcement coverage in island communities, a fact made painfully clear last spring and summer by a string of events on Vinalhaven.
- We helped cooped-up Mainers get outside and do things with guides to hiking, birding, paddling and more, sharing expert trail camera advice, and celebrating Maine’s hunting and fishing heritage. We also kept you up to date on how to cope with some of Maine’s worst pests (browntail moths and ticks).
- We delved into the traditions and expectations around access to private land between private landowners and Mainers looking to enjoy the outdoors.
- Our reporting exposed racism in the Bangor schools, and compelled school leaders to do something about it.
- During the pandemic, all of our events moved online, which made it possible for us to reach many more people than we could in person.
- We were the first local newsroom in the nation to call the 2020 presidential race, thanks to a unique method of analysis.
- We were among the first newsrooms to create a “forget me” policy, inviting people who were the subject of past crime stories to apply to have those stories de-listed from search engines, to make it easier for them to move on in their lives.
This is only a snapshot of the daily work of the Bangor Daily News.
In the coming year, BDN journalists will push tirelessly to gather the facts and follow local stories wherever they lead. We’ll chronicle the endurance and uniqueness of our communities, hold the powerful to account, and seek the answers that matter to you.
But local news is still in crisis. To better serve our audience, we’ve followed readers to the platforms they prefer. Digital platforms make it possible to reach more readers than ever, but they also limit what we can earn from advertising and subscriptions. To strengthen the Bangor Daily News for the future, we need to recruit supporters who have a stake in local news, and build that future together. That’s where you come in.
Your support, in any amount, will help keep us on track to fulfill this vision, report on these important topics, and be a reliable source of facts, analysis and diverse opinion in Maine.
Will you stand with us? We won’t let you down.
How to donate online: Visit https://bangordailynews.com/support
How to donate by check: Please print and fill out this form, and send it with your check to:
Bangor Daily News – donations
1 Merchants Plaza
P.O. Box 1329
Bangor, ME 04402
The Bangor Daily News is not a 501(c)(3) organization, and so your donation is not tax deductible. No services or products will be rendered to you in exchange for your donation.
Correction: This story incorrectly stated the location of a wedding linked to the spread of COVID-19 infections. The ceremony took place in East Millinocket and the reception was at The Big Moose Inn on Millinocket Lake in an unorganized territory.