Kathreen Harrison with Amjambo Africa’s publisher Georges Budagu Makoko

Amjambo Africa is excited to announce that a group of five news organizations and three supporting partner organizations have launched the Maine Independent News Collaborative (MINC). The goal is helping to sustain quality local journalism for all Mainers in an increasingly challenging media environment.Together, MINC’s newsrooms reach 1.5 million people.

In addition to Amjambo Africa, the pilot group of news organizations are Bangor Daily News, the Lincoln County News, the Penobscot Bay Press and The Quoddy Tides. Founding partners are Bangor Daily News, Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC), and the Unity Foundation. The project is fiscally sponsored by EMDC.The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation is providing seed money for digital technology investments by MINC partners.

Penobscot Bay Press publisher Nat Barrows is hopeful that MINC will increase his organization’s ability “to be nimble to respond to the changing news ecosystem and environment,” while Bangor Daily News managing editor Dan MacLeod is focused on the potential for “expanded capacity for local investigations.”

Amjambo Africa’s editor in chief Kathreen Harrison said, “MINC partners are harnessing the power of collective strength to enable us to keep on doing what we do best – sharing information with small and/or marginalized communities so they can be fully participating members of our democracy.”

Quoddy Tides editor and publisher Edward French spoke of the importance of collaboration, which he said would “ensure that [our] newspaper remains a healthy and relevant resource of local news far into the future.”

The U.S. is losing two newspapers every week due to declining advertising revenue and circulation. In 2002, Maine newsrooms employed more than 300 daily journalists; today, that number is around 90. When local newspapers shrink or close, among other important losses, community members have trouble following local government and holding it accountable, fewer people are inspired to volunteer or vote, and corruption is able to flourish.

MINC partners plan to share resources, and work together on ambitious stories with statewide reach and impact.

Learn more about the Collaborative at maineindependentnewscollaborative.org

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