Former American editor to enter Maine Press Hall of Fame



ELLSWORTH — Stephen Fay, former managing editor of The Ellsworth American, will be inducted into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame this fall.

Fay will be joined by two other new members, Marian McCue, former editor of The Forecaster newspaper in Falmouth, and the late Chris Cousins, a Bangor Daily News political reporter who died unexpectedly last August. The three were selected by the Maine Press Association’s Hall of Fame Committee and will be inducted during the association’s annual fall conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton in South Portland on Oct. 19.

Fay started out as a news reporter in 1974. He became an editor in 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling at The Ellsworth American in 1996.

Fay retired May 31 after 23 years as the managing editor of The American. Well respected by his colleagues and the community, Fay worked closely with reporters to ensure stories were well-sourced, organized and written in a way the average reader could understand. A story should “sing,” he would say. Dozens of reporters and interns benefited from his mentorship over the years.

His self-deprecating humor shone in his long-running “Cheers” column. Purportedly a review of cheap wine, it was as likely to contain show tune lyrics and musings on married life as it was references to “aftertaste” or “hints of oak.” A brilliant writer, his column and stories had heart.

His work has won numerous state, regional and national awards over the years, as has that produced by the newsroom under his leadership.

Fellow Hall of Fame inductee McCue in 1990 purchased a small-town tabloid mailed directly to residents and eventually turned it into what would become arguably “the” community newspaper of record for the greater Portland area.

At the helm of The Forecaster, was “a dyed-in-the-wool muckraker with a nose for scoops coupled with a devotion to truth, balance and fairness,” according to the Maine Press Association.

McCue sold the paper to the Costello family in 2003, but stayed on as editor to launch the Portland edition the same year and the Midcoast edition two years later. In 2006, she handed over the reigns to Managing Editor Mo Mehlsak. She writes a monthly column for The Forecaster focusing on issues at the State House.

The State House was also Christopher Cousins’ beat.

Fresh out of college, Cousins went to work for the Advertiser Democrat, a weekly newspaper that served the town of South Paris where he grew up. In 2005, the Nieman Foundation awarded him a fellowship for community journalism.

As a general assignment reporter for The Times Record, and later the Bangor Daily News, Cousins reported on how lawmakers’ decisions affected individual lives. When he began covering the State House in 2013, “he made it a better place by giving as much voice to regular folks affected by politics as he did to government officials and paid political operatives,” according to a press release.

Cousins died unexpectedly on Aug. 15, 2018, at the age of 42.

The MPA Hall of Fame, established in 1998, honors newspaper people with Maine connections who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. Its members are listed on the MPA website, at http://mainepressassociation.org/hall-of-fame/.

Tickets to the Hall of Fame luncheon are available by contacting MPA Executive Director Diane Norton at [email protected] or 691-0131.

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