Founded in 1889, Bangor Daily News has served the residents of Maine for over 130 years. It is owned by the Bangor Publishing Company, a local family-owned business, rooted in the community. The newspaper's inaugural issue in June 1889, with businessman Thomas J. Stewart as the main stockholder. It has remained locally owned, passing through four generations of the Towle-Warren family.
J. Norman Towle acquired the paper in 1895, and today, his great-grandson continues to serve as the publisher. In 1900, Bangor Daily News merged with the Bangor Whig and Courier, becoming known as the News or the BDN. The Bangor Publishing Company also oversees other weekly newspapers in Maine, including the Presque Isle Star-Herald, Caribou Aroostook Republican and News, Dover-Foxcroft Piscataquis Observer, Houlton Pioneer Times, and Greater Bangor The Weekly.
The newspaper has missed only one day of delivery in its entire history, during a 20-foot blizzard on New Year's Eve in 1962. In response to changing industry dynamics and reader feedback gathered through Net Promoter Score surveys, Bangor Daily News adopted a "digital-first" publishing strategy in 2017, establishing itself as the most-read online news source in the state.
In 1982, a notable incident involved one of the newspaper's reporters, Beurmond Banville, who was convicted in a Canadian court for violating a publishing ban. Additionally, as of 1993, Bangor Daily News was among the American newspapers that declined to publish advertisements for tobacco products, demonstrating a commitment to public health.
During its peak in the mid-1980s, Bangor Daily News boasted seven regional editions, extending its reach across Maine. The newspaper also initiated partnerships with The Main Campus (a student-run newspaper) and The Free Press in 2012, further solidifying its ties to the local community. Politically, Bangor Daily News leans towards conservatism and has a history of endorsing candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties during presidential elections. According to Zoominfo, the newspaper generates an annual revenue of $42 million and competes with notable rivals such as The Columbus Dispatch, Anchorage Daily News, and The Herald-Mail Co.
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