An inside source told Eater Maine that DownEast magazine is ditching all of its blogs (including food blog The Golden Dish), for financial reasons - a statement that the magazine's Editor-In-Chief, Paul Doiron, has vehemently refuted. Yesterday, word circulated on Facebook and elsewhere involving the Camden-based, 59-year-old magazine: including that its publisher had departed and the magazine was closing. Among those weighing in: Kevin Thomas, publisher of rival Maine Magazine: "My inbox is filled with unfortunate news about a worthy competitor, Downeast magazine: their publisher has left and their blogs are being shut down"; and Matthew Gagnon, a political blogger for the Bangor Daily News, who speculated that DownEast couldn't afford to keep paying its bloggers (BDN's bloggers are "volunteers.")
Cost had nothing to do with the decision, said Doiron, who confirmed in an email "we are phasing out our current paid bloggers as part of a greater redesign, in line with what we just did with the magazine." Included in the redesign is significantly more space for the monthly restaurant feature, affording a much better showcase for photography - in the August issue, Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport is spread over four pages.
Doiron said he has been "stunned by the baselessness of this strange rumor, given that DownEast is thriving." He also confirmed that publisher John Viehman has left the company - the role is being assumed by CEO Bob Fernald - but that this is "an exciting and positive change." The magazine will continue to use bloggers, he said, but "the real message is that we are redesigning the website, not shuttering it (or anything else).
As for John Golden, author of The Golden Dish and a major Eater Maine source for weekly restaurant reviews, he is writing the review in the October issue of the magazine, Doiron said.