Peter W. Cox, Co-founder of Maine Times
Paperback, $20, ISBN 978-0-88448-268-0
6 x 9, 384 pages, photographs
"Peter Cox pioneered principled advocacy journalism in Maine. As co-founder, publisher, and editor of Maine Times, he made that alternative weekly newspaper a must read for concerned citizens and policymakers during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s as a new Maine was emerging. Under his editorial guidance, Maine Times became a strong voice for environmental protection, sustainable development, economic justice, sensible energy policy, progressive politics, and cultural enterprise well before these issues were on the radar screens of mainstream publications. No Maine journalist, past or present, has been more invested in the future and fate of Maine than Peter Cox."
—Edgar Allen Beem
"From his earliest days at the Kennebunk Star through his visionary leadership of the Maine Times, Peter Cox understood that a journalist's true potential resides not just in an ability to record, but also to analyze, to interpret, to confront, and, ultimately, to enlighten. His steadfast belief that the best stories lie far beyond the press conference or new release has left an indelible mark on both his profession and on the state he came to love so deeply. Through his passion, his intellect, and above all his courage to pursue the often-elusive truth, Peter Cox long will stand as a yardstick by which future Maine journalists are measured"
"Peter Cox has been devoted to the State of Maine. Early on he worked in politics, playing an important role in Frank Coffin's political career. Then he co-founded Maine Times, an alternative newspaper that set a new standard for journalism in Maine. And later in life he has played a significant role in the environmental movement—all raising the level of awareness in Maine. Maine is a better state to live in because of Peter Cox."
For many of us, Maine Times during its prime decades was the publication that connected us to the issues and the arts in our state, whether we lived at the end of a rural back road or in a city center. When it began in October 1968 Maine Times was one of the few alternative newspapers in the country, and it quickly garnered media praise and national awards. We get an inside look at the newspaper, its personalities, its challenges, and the issues it tackled. This story is a fascinating one, but it goes well beyond the nuts and bolts of trying to make a success out of a ground-breaking newspaper, managing a talented and eclectic staff on a shoestring, and setting standards for the kind of investigative journalism and reporting that is still talked about today.
This is more than a Maine story. It's a book with broad scope, from the details of Peter Cox's search to learn more about his father—who was instrumental in writing the Lend-Lease Act of World War II, helped persuade Roosevelt to establish a War Refugee Board, and was involved with a war tribunal trial with present-day implications—to years of rapid change, in our country, in our state, and in the field of journalism. Cox is used to asking questions, exploring the answers, and asking more questions, so we get a story that is rich in context and remarkably candid.
Peter Cox led Maine Times from 1968 until 1986, with a brief return in the 1990s. After his retirement he devoted his attention and energy to work with nonprofits, gardening, and his family and friends. He lived in Georgetown, Maine, with his wife Eunice, until his death in November 2004.
Tilbury House, Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, Maine 04345