John Day was born in Portland, Maine on May 15, 1941 and grew up in Harrison, Maine. He attended Bridgton High School and the University of Maine at Orono, where he graduated in 1963, majoring in Journalism and Political Science. In 1963 he began working for the Bangor Daily News. In 1971 he replaced Kent Ward as BDN correspondent covering the state house in Augusta. In 1978 he was sent to Washington D.C. where he was the first full time Maine reporter to be sent to Washington. He covered Edmund S. Muskie during his tenure as Secretary of State, traveling extensively.
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L'Hommedieu, Andrea, "Day, John oral history interview" (2000). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 113.