Great Falls Forum to feature the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting

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LEWISTON — This month’s second session of the Great Falls Forum will take place on Friday, Oct. 17, and will feature John Christie and Naomi Schalit from the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. The topic of the session will be “The Role of Investigative Reporting in Maine’s Democracy.”

The lecture will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.

Over the past couple of decades, many newspaper and broadcast media outlets in Maine have reduced newsroom staffs due to economic pressures in their industry. One of the victims of this development is in-depth journalism — stories which often take one or more reporters “off the street” for weeks or even months.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting was founded in 2009 by Christie and Schalit in response to this reality in the news business. The center fills the gap between the diminished in-depth reporting from the existing Maine media and the need of our state?s citizens to be fully informed about the actions of its government and public servants.

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Christie is a media executive whose 40-year career includes work in four states as a writer, editor, general manager and publisher for newspapers owned by Tribune Co., Dow Jones and Co. and the Seattle Times Co. In June, 2009, he retired after nine years as the president and publisher of Central Maine Newspapers, which publishes two daily papers, the Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel.

Shalit has written for magazines and newspapers around the country, worked as a columnist for the Maine Times and for five years was a reporter and producer at Maine Public Radio. While at MPR, her reports were also featured on National Public Radio, Public Radio International and the CBC.

At their forum presentation, Christie and Schalit will discuss the critical connection between journalism and democracy, and provide an inside look into how investigative journalism is done.

They will also discuss the workings of their center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism organization with 32 media partners across Maine, including the Sun Journal.

Admission is free to all forum events and no reservations are required. This program is a bring-your-own brown-bag lunch event. Coffee, tea and bottled water will be available on site at the library.

The Great Falls Forum is co-sponsored by the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, Bates College, Lewiston Public Library and the Sun Journal.

The Lewiston Public Library is located downtown at 200 Lisbon St. at the corner of Pine Street. More information on Thursday’s lecture or other upcoming events in the Great Falls Forum series is available by contacting the Lewiston Public Library at 513-3135 or www.LPLonline.org.

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