By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Bladine: We got one-upped in newspaper story

The News-Register this month will complete its move into company print plant facilities at Riverside Drive and Miller Street, ending a 150-year residency in downtown McMinnville.

That move seems a noteworthy story, especially for a family having owned the newspaper for 95 of those years. But in newspaper lore, it pales in comparison to a surprise Wednesday announcement that the Medford Mail Tribune will shut down effective today.

We always called them the Big Four – Oregon’s largest daily newspapers from Portland, Salem, Eugene and Medford. Today, only The Oregonian carries the full mantle of a traditional community newspaper.

Last year the Salem Statesman-Journal and Eugene Register-Guard — both owned by Gannett Co. — axed their opinion sections. As explanation, the Register-Guard commented: “The time to edit and ensure accuracy and fairness before publishing opinion content is a time-consuming responsibility that this newsroom’s resources can no longer bear. And to publish the opinion page without that oversight would be irresponsible.”

Whatchamacolumn

Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

In response, News-Register Viewpoints Editor Steve Bagwell dropped his jaw, then went back to work ensuring accuracy and fairness in our opinion section.

There’s a sprawling story behind the Mail Tribune closure, but that’s for another time. One message delivered is that economic conditions pushing the News-Register out of downtown McMinnville are today’s reality in the community newspaper world.

For the record: The Mail Tribune dates to late-1800s predecessors, but first published under its current name in 1907. It won Oregon’s first Pulitzer Prize in 1934. Owner Rosebud Media closed the Ashland Daily Tidings in 2021, and in September launched a Hail Mary by converting the Mail Tribune to an ill-fated, online-only publication.

Also for the record: The News-Register soon will settle under one roof for the first time in 25 years with its Oregon Lithoprint production, printing and distribution services. We will be working together on initiatives to bolster the economic strength needed to produce quality printing and a vital community newspaper.

On a more tentative note, the newspaper leaves in its downtown wake an unfinished and controversial effort to sell two Third Street buildings. As that story continues to evolve toward an uncertain future, we will report it as accurately as we can for readers with enough interest to look behind the headlines and beyond the rumors.

Meanwhile, it’s Friday the 13th – Just another day in the life of a community newspaper that, like you, has no clue why that day/date combination got tagged as unlucky!

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1224.

Comments

@@pager@@