CAMDEN — Longtime Ellsworth American employee Chris Crockett has been named publisher of the MaineStay Media group, which includes The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald, The Republican Journal and the VillageSoup sites.

He is also taking leadership of The Free Press, The Ellsworth American and The Mount Desert Islander, as well as two magazines, Maine Women Magazine and Maine Seniors.

Crockett, a 1994 graduate of Ellsworth High School and 1995 graduate of Hancock County Technical Center, first joined The Ellsworth American in June of 1995. Twenty-six years later, there are few jobs he has not performed at the paper and none that are unfamiliar to him. Official titles have included graphic designer, information technology manager, advertising development manager and group operations and development manager. From lending a hand in the mailroom to launching the newspaper’s first website to wiring (and sometimes MacGyvering) internal server systems, Crockett knows the 170-year-old business from the ground up.

“Getting the newspapers out each week is like a choreographed dance and Chris understands all the moving parts,” said Kathy Cook, general manager of The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. “He is a fierce champion of the work we do. We are thrilled to see him step into this new role.”

“This group of coastal weekly newspapers are the very best in the state. I’m honored and humbled to lead such a great team of people that work hard each day to deliver local, community journalism to our thousands of readers,” said Crockett.

Crockett, who lives in Surry, is a past president of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce and current vice president of the Maine Press Association. After 15 years as The American’s IT manager, he left in 2012 to launch his own computer service and repair business, Rockett Computer. But he was never really gone as he continued to work for the newspaper as an independent contractor. Crockett rejoined the staff in 2018 as advertising and development manager. He was promoted to group operations and development manager of the six papers last summer. He became publisher in May.

“The publishing industry has a lot of doom and gloom seekers; with Chris, you have a can-do, will-do ‘yes’ person who will lead this group by creating a pathway that finds and honors the best in his people,” said Reade Brower, owner of the papers.

He pointed to Crockett’s tech background and advertising experience as key reasons why the new publisher is well-suited to the leadership role.

“As owner, I have pledged to stay out of the way,” Brower said. “I am not in any day-to-day decisions but have authorized an investment in our people and in our infrastructure.”

In all, Brower owns five of Maine’s six daily newspapers and more than 30 weeklies as well as the state’s only full-service printing and commercial mail facility.

The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Free Press share an office on Virginia Avenue in Camden.