Kathryn Olmstead

Kathryn Olmstead
Professor Emerita
Email: olmstead@maine.edu

Department of Communication and Journalism
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469

Kathryn Olmstead joined the department in 1984 and served 25 years as journalism faculty with the last six years as Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her extensive journalism experience, including as a past editor of the Aroostook Republican and News and correspondent for the Bangor Daily News, shaped her teaching and scholarship. Olmstead taught introductory and advanced news writing and reporting, media ethics, feature writing and public affairs reporting, and her research focused on cultural journalism. In 1988, she co-founded and edited Echoes: Rediscovering Community, a quarterly magazine celebrating the quality of life in Aroostook County, which she published until 2017. She is the author of True North: Finding the Essence of Aroostook, and the editor of Stories of Aroostook: The Best of Echoes Magazine both published in 2020. Olmstead also co-authored a WWII memoir, Flight to Freedom: World War II Through the Eyes of a Child, The Story of Philomena Keller Baker published in 2013. She serves on boards of Maine Public (Broadcasting), the Natural Resources Council of Maine and the Caribou Public Library and is a member of the UMaine Board of Visitors, the McGillicuddy Humanities Center Advisory Committee and the Gannett Foundation journalism scholarship committee of the Maine Community Foundation. The founding director of the Maine Center for Student Journalism for high school journalists, she received the UMaine Presidential Public Service Award in 2009 and was inducted into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame in 2018.

Selected Publications


  • True North: Finding the Essence of Aroostook, Islandport Press. Yarmouth, Maine. (2020)
  • Stories of Aroostook: The Best of Echoes Magazine, Editor, Islandport Press. Yarmouth, Maine. (2020)
  • Flight to Freedom: War through the eyes of a child, The Story of Philomena Keller Baker. Maine Authors Publishing. Thomaston, Maine. (2013)

 Book chapters

  • “DuPont Magazine” and “The Houghton Line.” Corporate magazines of the United States. Ed. Sam G. Riley. Westport, CT. Greenwood Press. (1992)
  • “Down East” and “Sun Up: Maine’s own magazine.” Regional interest magazines of the United States. Eds. Sam G. Riley and Gary W. Senlow. Westport, CT. Greenwood Press. (1991)

Journal Articles

  • Vindication for “Dateline NBC.” American Journalism Review, 22(6) 16-17 (2000)
  • Breaking the cocoon: Cultural journalism in a global community. Journal of popular culture, 25 (2) 153-65. (1991)
  • Expanding cultural awareness: Wigginton on cultural journalism. English journal, 77 (3), 32-35. (1988)
  • Twenty years of cultural journalism. The journal of experiential education, 9 (3) 4-8. (1986)


  • Islandport Magazine
    • Ice-out, 1(6) 27 (Spring 2018)
    • Going Home Again, 1 (5) 29 (Winter 2017) 
  • Maine Alumni Magazine
    • A Life in Pictures, 102 (1) 12-18 (2021)
    • A Voice for the Voiceless, 101 (2) 10-14 (2020)
    • Lincoln County’s crack reporter, 80 (1) 26-29 (1999)
    • Digging out the truth makes her a target, 78 (1) 14-16 (1997)


  • Bangor Daily News
    • Bi-weekly column (Aug 2010 to Oct 2017)
    • Seven-part series on a German refugee (Dec 2010 to Jan 2011)
  • USA Today
    • Inspiring students to reach for the stars (Jan 2002)
    • Contributor: Teachers get real so kids can learn (Oct 2001)
  • Christian Science Monitor
    • My dream tractor would plow me in (Feb 2001)