Joined by friends, colleagues, and coworkers, four generations of the Roberts family celebrated Chris and Paula Roberts’ induction into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The induction ceremony was a part of the organization’s annual conference, which was held in person for the first time since 2019 at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Event Center in Bar Harbor.
Chris and Paula Roberts represent the second generation of the Roberts family to be inducted into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame. Sam and Abbie Roberts, Chris’ parents, achieved the honor in 2002. Sam Roberts passed away in 2018.
Abbie Roberts was in attendance at the Oct. 22 ceremony, along with Chris’ sisters, Bev Andrews and Deb Rix, Deb’s husband Buff, and Karen and Skip McCarrick, longtime friends of Chris and Paula.
Chris and Paula Roberts were nominated for the hall of fame by John Roberts and Allan Roberts, their sons and associate publishers of The Lincoln County News, as well as Acting Editor Maia Zewert. John Roberts read a portion of the nomination letter to introduce his parents, citing his father’s practically lifelong involvement in the newspaper and his mother’s dedication to driving thousands of miles crisscrossing the state to cover high school sports.
John Roberts mentioned that Chris accumulated 2,099 consecutive editions without missing a single print date for vacation, sickness, or any other reason. He then mentioned that the very next week after submitting the nomination paperwork, Chris missed his first week when he came down with COVID-19.
After referencing his attempt at holding back his tear ducts, John Roberts turned the microphone over to his father, who was almost immediately afflicted with the same emotion.
“John caused this problem,” Chris Roberts said at one point, earning chuckles in the crowd.
During his speech, Chris Roberts spoke about ways in which the industry has changed. He spoke about Lincoln County Publishing Co.’s first editing terminal, which had “an amazing 4K of memory,” as well as his memory of using handset type and looking for “workups,” which were long black lines created when the space type worked its way up a page.
“Nowadays editors get worked up by other stuff,” Chris Roberts said.
He also spoke about his entire family’s involvement in the newspaper from a young age, when his father would bring home collating jobs for him and his sisters to work on or newspapers that needed to be addressed.
The involvement of family carried over when Paula Roberts began writing for the paper. She started part time, but went full time when John and Allan were old enough, Chris Roberts said, covering games “sometimes with the kids on her back, sometimes playing off to the side.”
Both sons work at the newspaper, representing the fifth generation, Chris Roberts said, breaking off due to emotion. Paula Roberts covered for him, pointing to their four grandchildren – Matthew, Thomas, James, and Michaela – sitting with their mothers, Kristen Roberts and Allison Roberts.
“There’s four over there, and we hope one will be the sixth!” she said, drawing laughter from the crowd. Paula also discussed challenges of the job, including difficulties encountered by her in a male dominated field.
Chris Roberts closed by thanking the organization for the honor, saying he and Paula were humbled by the recognition.
“It’s an honor and privilege to see the LCN go to the next generation,” Chris Roberts said.
Earl Brechlin, cofounder of the Mount Desert Islander, was also inducted at the ceremony, as were last year’s slate of inductees — Dorothy “Dot” Roderick, Dieter Bradbury and Judy Meyer — who were unable to be recognized in person after that portion of the conference was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Established in 1998, the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame honors newspaper people with Maine connections who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. For more information, go to mainepressassociation.org.