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Kevin N Saisi
Rumford Monitor f/k/a River Valley Reporter
Rumford, ME

Rumford, ME

I really enjoy doing these blogs, I just wish I had more time to do it.” He says he started his blog blog to deal with what he calls a “town in turmoil.” He believed local newspapers were only putting out partial information, and not presenting “the whole story.” Kevin Saisi, in a Nov. 2009, MGP interview

local news blog

In a small Maine town, blogging ebbs and flows

Profile by Christy Millweard, Missouri School of Journalism, written Nov. 2009

Kevin Saisi is a very busy man, but is also devoted to making the world around him the best it can be. He works for numerous community organizations such as the local Medical Reserve Corps, in which he is in charge of organizing volunteers to help at flu clinics in schools.

He has worked as an emergency medical technician, a substance abuse counselor, a merchandiser for both Frito Lay and Kellogg, a group home relief worker, and a seasonal worker for the U.S. Postal Service, just to name a few. But, it is his super local blog he created a couple years ago that put him on our map as a Media Giraffe prospect.

Saisi started The River Valley Reporter blog as a way to deal with what he calls a "town in turmoil." He believed local newspapers were only putting out partial information, and not presenting "the whole story." His blog was meant to provide more details of what was going on at city meetings.

He would occasionally pay someone a small fee to sit in on the meetings and take notes if he was unable to make it because of work responsibilities. Saisi would post the information about the meeting either that very night, or the next morning, so that people could know the whole story before even reading the newspaper's version. Saisi said he "wanted the newspaper information to be questioned, not be fact." He didn't have a set frequency that he posted, he just "posted the information as it was happening."

Saisi had a friend who worked for a small community newspaper, who continued to encourage Saisi to turn his publication to print. But Saisi believed the economy was not strong enough to be able to do that. He did turn out a couple hundred printed copies though only during election time.

Saisi uses word of mouth as his form of advertising for the blog. He also makes T-shirts promoting the website, and wore them to meetings and around town so people could check out his writings online. In a town with a population of only 6,000, he remembers celebrating when the site reached 10,000 hits. The River Valley Reporter was his baby for about a year or so, but he kind of lost track of time. He said, "I got caught up in what I was doing, so I didn't really care how long I was doing it."

Finally, the publication turned out to take up too much of his time, and he felt that he was unable to continue covering it full-time. So he decided to give it away, not sell, but give it away to someone he thought would do a good job keeping it going. He handed the publication off to Jennifer Norris.

The two knew each other through previously working on a project for a similar cause. Saisi said he didn't always agree with her overall philosophies, but did seem to have drive and compassion, which he felt were important for the person leading the blog. He wanted to let her run it, but expected to still write and contribute content to the website. Saisi made Norris an administrator on the site, and they picked the date that she would assume the commanding position. However, that day came, and Saisi said Norris locked him outliterally.

She changed the name to The Rumford Reporter, and he was no longer able to take part in the website he started. Since he still owned the domain name, and didn't want what was now a different publication to take all of his hard publicity work, he directed the domain name to a new location. Although there was strong tension between the two for quite some time, Saisi says now they are cordial.

Saisi started another blog now called The Rumford Monitor. He says it is a recreation of his first blog, but "not as much community stuff." Saisi said it is editorial, not fact. He also tries to post other things, such as health-related issues because of his link to the health industry.

Despite staying up until 1 a.m. working on a blog post, he still enjoys doing it. Saisi says that he has seen drastic changes in the political system and thinks the awareness he brought forth helped. He said, "I really enjoy doing these blogs, I just wish I had more time to do it."

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