Hansen inducted into MPA hall

11 years ago

Hansen inducted into MPA hall

    Donald C. Hansen, a Presque Isle native, was recently inducted into the Maine Press Association’s Hall of Fame together with photojournalist Scott Haskell of the Bangor Daily News and Emery “Legs” Labbe, former publisher of the St. John Valley Times.

    The Hall of Fame luncheon and induction ceremony was held Oct. 26 at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Conference Center in Bar Harbor as part of the MPA’s annual Fall Conference. Don’s oldest son, Jody Hansen, will attend the induction ceremony for his father.  LO-PIHansenMPA-dcx-sh-47    Don Hansen got his journalism start as editor at the Boothbay Register in 1957 and spent a lifetime in Maine journalism. It was in the Boothbay region that Hansen met his wife of 51 years, Jill McAnney Hansen, who was then co-owner at the Boothbay Playhouse. He joined the Portland Newspapers in 1960, first as City Hall reporter and then, for a dozen years, as Statehouse reporter covering legislative, governmental and political developments statewide.
    According to fellow Hall of Fame inductee, Jim Brunelle, “Over the years he won a reputation for a reporting style that was direct, informed and rounded. His twice-weekly columns reflected an ability to sort out complicated legislative issues and complex political machinations with both clarity and easygoing humor.”
    Hansen earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the College of Communications at Boston University and did his master’s degree work at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University after winning an American Political Science Foundation fellowship to study intergovernmental relations.
    In 1971, when Sen. Edmund S. Muskie was a top prospect for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hansen co-authored a well-regarded biography of the Maine senator that was published nationally by W.W. Norton.
    Hansen was named editorial page director for the Portland papers in 1973, papers that included the Press Herald, the (now closed) Evening Express and the Maine Sunday Telegram. He would hold that job for two decades, during which time he helped complete a transformation of a prior perception of the editorial pages as “reliably Republican” into a broader, more open forum for independent views. Hansen never registered with a political party.
    According to the Hall of Fame nomination, “Under his leadership, editorial writers were encouraged to produce well-researched and reasoned opinions. He often insisted that editorials on controversial matters include a fair portrayal of opposing viewpoints before outlining the newspaper’s logic in disagreeing with those positions.”
    Born in Aroostook County in 1935 to Daniel and Blanche Hansen, Don was raised and schooled in Presque Isle. He now resides in Ridgefield, Conn. in an assisted-living community near his son.