Featured Projects

The Maine Monitor

Unsafe Homes: Children in Peril

Two Maine babies and two toddlers died during May through August of 2021 due to suspected abuse by their parents. The four child homicides in three months set a state record. Barbara Walsh explores the recent homicides in a new series for The Maine Monitor.

Defenseless

An investigation by The Maine Monitor and ProPublica found more than a quarter of Maine attorneys disciplined in the past decade for serious professional misconduct were hired as lawyers for the poor. Sex crimes and felony convictions were among the most severe infractions overlooked. Defendants paid the price.

Archived Projects

Maine's Class of 2020

2020: A Class Dismissed

Born in the weeks and months after 9/11, and graduated in the year of a crippling pandemic, Maine’s high school seniors have lived through some of the most profound change our country has ever witnessed. These young adults missed out on cornerstone experiences that ease the transition from being a child to being an adult. We captured the stories of a class prematurely dismissed.

Light bulb image with Blind Trust text

Blind Trust

Maine PowerOptions, a quasi-state program bringing together municipalities, school districts and state nonprofits to purchase electricity in bulk, lacks transparency and effective oversight, an investigation found. Our stories and investigation raised questions about the group’s transparency, oversight and member benefits.

Monmouth, ME, United States -- Jay Patrick's "J.P." stands on his changing table with his mother, Lisa Hasch, after he wakes up from his nap in Monmouth, ME on Wednesday, August 8, 2018. Hasch adopted J.P. and his older brother Devon, and J.P. was an NAS baby who arrived at 4 weeks with withdrawal symptoms that included tremors, rashes, vomiting and constant screaming. J.P. got a feeding tub in July 2017 which improved his quality of life. (Photo by Yoon S. Byun)

Born to Drugs

Nearly 5,000 babies have been born affected by drugs in Maine in the past five years. Nearly three drug-affected babies were born each day in Maine from 2013-2017, severely taxing hospitals, the foster care system and other resources. These innocent victims are caught in a crisis that is marked by suffering and strained hospitals and state resources. This series of often gut-wrenching stories examines the challenges within this sad reality.

Deaths of Despair

In a remote corner of Maine that locals call ‘The Forgotten County,’ the pandemic triggered isolation, economic struggles and a surge in suicides and overdoses. Hindered by a lack of mental health resources, communities and schools in Washington County banded together to find help for those with anxiety, depression and despair. The Maine Monitor chronicled the heartbreaking losses in a county that seeks solace and solutions to prevent more tragedies.

Cumberland County court records

Due Process

We examined the criminal justice system at a time when there’s appetite for major change. With a low crime rate and relatively few violent crimes, Maine could become a place for innovation when it comes to the treatment of those with mental illness, substance use disorder or trauma that sometimes leads to crime. Our series looked at the system – successes and failures – to test whether defendants and victims can rely on it to give them due process.

Maine statehouse

Elections 2018

In October 2018, The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting examined Maine’s two U.S. House campaigns, the gubernatorial contest and State House elections in one of the most hotly contested midterm elections in recent history. The series revolved around profiles of candidates, including a look at five very different women from around Maine hoping to represent their communities in the State Legislature. 

Susan Collins Sarah Gideon Jared Golden Dale Crafts

Follow The Money

Campaign spending provides one of the only concrete windows into party jockeying for power. Mainers faced a historic congressional election season in November 2020. The Maine Monitor examined and tracked how campaign fundraising and spending shaped the races for Maine’s federal and state offices using interactive data dashboards, and data-driven storytelling.

The Immigrant Opportunity

Given that Maine is racing into an economic crisis because it doesn’t have enough workers for its jobs, we examined the role immigrants could have in solving Maine’s serious workforce needs. We moved away from the heated rhetoric that focuses on people who are in this country illegally and examined how immigrants who are cleared to work could help fill Maine’s employment gap.

The Last Responders

COVID-19 has triggered a grief epidemic. It has robbed families of final goodbyes, left loved ones to die with strangers, postponed wakes and funerals. And it has overwhelmed Maine’s “Last Responders” of priests, chaplains, funeral directors and hospice workers who must work around restrictions aimed at diminishing virus infections. These are stories of The Last Responders. 

Lead Paint Danger

Childhood lead poisoning may be less talked about these days, but a Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting investigation found it is still the No. 1 toxic health hazard for children. The problem is acute and persistent in parts of Maine, especially among poor and immigrant families.

Lottery: Selling Hope

Our series, Lottery: Selling Hope to the Hopeless, explores how Mainers falling on hard times rely on the lottery to rescue them. A first-ever statistical analysis of Maine lottery sales and census data by Cornell University, commissioned by us, showed lottery ticket sales rise when people lose their jobs. The state government spent millions to sway Mainers to buy more lottery tickets, we found.

Maine Trust Project

In our mistrust-filled world full of political contention, mustering the courage to have authentic conversations with people can be a challenge. Finding common ground and engaging in civil discourse about important issues facing our communities, our state, our country and our world can seem elusive, if not sadly impossible. We sat down with Maine residents to discuss this precious commodity.

Making Connections

In 2016 and 2017, our team established a database, Making Connections: A Guide to Maine Legislators’ Private and Public Interests, for citizens who wanted to understand how the state legislature works, and to help identify the private financial interests of lawmakers and their families. 

Biddeford Journal Tribune

The News Makers

Journalism created with care, integrity and transparency is a cornerstone of a healthy, vibrant democracy. When citizens understand how their news is produced and who is producing it, they’re more likely to trust what’s reported, make informed decisions and engage in a healthy dialogue on issues that matter. So, we examined Maine’s newspaper landscape. 

Single Parents in Poverty

Nearly half of all births in Maine are to unmarried mothers. Is there a solution to the single-parent crisis? Not an easy one, say the experts and the people who try to help single mothers and their children, including teachers and school officials on the front lines of the crisis. Through our series, though, we show how they are trying.

Rx for Theft

Most of the people who fill prescriptions are honest and do their job well. But some of those people in white smocks are thieves, drug addicts or both, our investigation found. In thirteen cases over the last decade, the public’s health was jeopardized by people with a history of substance abuse and theft were allowed to hold a license to dispense drugs at pharmacies across the state.

Preble Street soup kitchen in Portland.

Troubled Minds

Our investigation found scores of problems with how Maine treats its mentally ill residents. After 27 years, Maine still fails to comply with a court-ordered decree to improve treatment of the state’s mentally ill thanks to inadequate funding and potential conflicts of interest.