The October 2, 2004 front page of
|Owner||Advance Publications, a media company owned by the descendants of S.I. Newhouse.|
|Publisher||N. Christian Anderson III |
|Editor||Sandra Mims Rowe (editor), Peter Bhatia (executive editor)|
|Staff writers||288/75 (full-time/part-time)|
|Headquarters||1320 SW Broadway
Portland, Oregon 97201
The Oregonian is the major daily newspaper in Portland, Oregon, owned by Advance Publications. It is the oldest continuously published newspaper on the U.S. West Coast, founded as a weekly by Thomas J. Dryer on December 4, 1850. It is the largest newspaper in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest by circulation.
The paper or its reporters were nominated for one or more Pulitzer Prize awards nearly every year since 1993. The Oregonian received the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Its journalists have received six other Pulitzers in that time, among them: Explanatory Reporting (1999), Feature Writing (2001), Editorial Writing (2006), and the Breaking News Reporting (2007).
The Oregonian is home delivered throughout Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Clark County, Washington; it is also home delivered in parts of Marion and Columbia counties. Some independent dealers deliver the newspaper outside of that area, though in 2006 it became no longer available in far eastern Oregon and the southern Oregon Coast, and starting in December 2008 "increasing newsprint and distribution costs" caused the paper to stop deliveries to all areas south of Albany.
For advertisers, The Oregonian's "core advertising market" are the counties of Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Yamhill; its Nielsen Media Research designated market area includes two-thirds of Oregon's counties (exceptions are Benton, Lane, the five counties south of Lane, Deschutes, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, and the northeast counties of Morrow, Umatilla, and Wallowa) and five counties in Washington (Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, and Klickatat).
|“||Business has everything—power, influence, sex, drama—and our job is to pull back the curtain: That bank merger last week? Who got screwed? Who came out on top? This is what really happened. Business news should be handled as finely crafted drama; it's got substance and great meaning. Business should be the backbone of the newspaper.||”|
According to Editor & Publisher, soon after Sandra Rowe, the paper's current editor, arrived in 1993, she introduced organizational changes to the newsroom. Instead of having a large number of general assignment reporters, Rowe organized them around teams, many of which often develop "subject expertise" that "reflect[s] the interests of readers, not traditional newsroom boundaries." Examples (over the years) include "Northwest Issues and Environment", "Living In the '90s"/"How We Live", "Politics and Accountability", "Health, Science, and Medicine", "Sustainability and Growth", and "Higher Education". Accompanying the reorganization was a more bottom-up approach to identifying stories: "instead of having an assignment-driven newspaper, you have the beat reporters coming to editors with what is going on", with the team editors responsible for deciding what stories were covered by their teams.
The position of public editor was established at The Oregonian in 1993, and Robert Caldwell was appointed. Michele McLellan assumed the role three years later, and was delegated the authority to decide whether or not a newspaper error should result in the publication of a correction. When Michael Arrieta-Walden ended his three-year term in the position in 2006, no successor was named.
Newsroom staff in 2008 is about the same size as it was when Rowe arrived, though there are fifty fewer full-time staff members than there were in 2002; about half of those positions were eliminated after a buyout in late 2007. The paper's outside news bureaus grew from four to six during her tenure.
Henry Pittock became the owner in 1861 as compensation for unpaid wages, and he began publishing the paper on a daily basis (except Sundays). Between the dates of 1866 and 1872 Harvey W. Scott was the editor. In 1881, the first Sunday Oregonian was published. The paper became known as the voice of business-oriented Republicans.
The paper's offices and presses were originally housed in a two-story building at the intersection of First Street (now First Avenue) and Morrison Street, but in 1892 the paper moved into a new nine-story building at 6th and Alder streets, not moving again until 1948.
In 1922, The Morning Oregonian launched KGW, Oregon's first commercial radio station. Five years later, KGW affiliated with NBC (1927). The Morning Oregonian purchased a second station, KEX, in 1933, from NBC subsidiary Northwest Broadcasting Co. In 1944, KEX was sold to Westinghouse Radio Stations, Inc. The Oregonian launched KGW-FM, the Northwest's first FM station, in 1946 (acclaimed by "The Oregonian" May 8, 1946), known today as KKRZ. KGW and KGW-FM were sold to King Broadcasting Co in 1953.
In 1937, The Morning Oregonian shortened its name to The Oregonian. Two years later, associate editor Ronald G. Callvert received a Pulitzer Prize for editorial reporting for "distinguished editorial writing...as exemplified by the editorial entitled "My Country 'Tis of Thee.".
In 1950, Advance Publications founder S. I. "Si" Newhouse purchased the paper. At that time, the sale price of $5.6 million was the largest for a single newspaper. In 1954, Newhouse bought 50% of Mount Hood Radio & Television Broadcasting Corp, which broadcasts KOIN-TV, Portland's first VHF television station, KOIN AM (now KCMD), and KOIN-FM (now KUFO). The Oregonian's circulation in 1950 was 214,916; that of the rival Oregon Journal was 190,844.
In 1948, the paper moved to its present location, a then-new building on SW Broadway between Jefferson Street and Madison Street.
In 1957, staff writers William Lambert and Wallace Turner were awarded the that year's Pulitzer Prize for Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting, No Edition Time. Their prize cited "their expose of vice and corruption in Portland involving some municipal officials and officers of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Western Conference" and noted that "they fulfilled their assignments despite great handicaps and the risk of reprisal from lawless elements."
A heated five-year strike began on November 10, 1959. Striking union workers published a daily newspaper, The Portland Reporter. Reporter Wallace Turner refused to cross the picket line and was hired as a West Coast Correspondent for the New York Times.
In 1961, Newhouse bought the Oregon Journal, Portland's afternoon daily newspaper. Production and business operations of the two newspapers were consolidated in The Oregonian's building, while their editorial staffs remained separate. In 1967, Fred Stickel came to The Oregonian from New Jersey to become general manager of the paper; he became president in 1972 and publisher in 1975.
As part of a larger corporate plan to exit broadcasting, The Oregonian sold KOIN-TV to newspaper owner Lee Enterprises in 1977. At the same time, KOIN-AM and -FM were sold to Gaylord Broadcasting Co. Since S. I. Newhouse died in 1979, S.I. Jr. has managed the magazines, and Donald oversees the newspapers.
Advance/Newhouse shut down the Journal in 1982, citing declining advertising revenues. The paper established an Asia bureau in Tokyo, Japan in 1989, becoming the first Pacific Northwest newspaper with a foreign correspondent.
In 1992, the Wall Street Journal cited The Oregonian as an example of a newspaper muffling its criticism of business to appeal to commercial advertisers. The Oregonian recalled a 1989 edition that featured an article that criticized a prominent local business and advertising customer. The Oregonian endorsed a Democratic candidate for president for the first time in its history when it supported Bill Clinton in 1992.
The year 1993 was an eventful year for The Oregonian. Robert M. Landauer, then editorial page editor, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing for "a bold campaign to defuse myths and prejudice promoted by an anti-homosexual constitutional amendment, which was subsequently defeated," according to the Pulitzer judges. The integrity of The Oregonian became the subject of national coverage when The Washington Post broke the story of inappropriate sexual advances which led to the resignation of Oregon senator Bob Packwood four years later. This prompted some to joke, "If it matters to Oregonians, it's in the Washington Post" (a twist on the Oregonian's slogan "If it matters to Oregonians, it's in The Oregonian). Finally, Newhouse appointed a new editor for the paper, Sandra Rowe, who relocated from The Virginian-Pilot.
The paper and several reporters were recognized for excellence in 1999. Staff writer Richard Read won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, for a series, The French Fry Connection, that illustrated the impact of the Asian economic crisis, by reducing local french fries exports. Co-worker Tom Hallman Jr., was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing, for his "unique profile of a man struggling to recover from a brain injury". The paper won Overseas Press Club awards for business reporting, and for human rights reporting. The editors of Columbia Journalism Review recognized The Oregonian as number twelve on its list of "America's Best Newspapers", and the best newspaper owned by the Newhouse family.
In 2000, The Oregonian was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting for its coverage of an environmental disaster created when the New Carissa, a freighter that carried nearly 400,000 gallons of heavy fuel, ran aground February 4, 1999, north of Coos Bay, Oregon. The articles detailed "how fumbling efforts of official agencies failed to contain the far-reaching damage," according to the Pulitzer jury. That same year reporters Brent Walth and Alex Pulaski were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Writing for their series on political influences in pesticide regulation.
The Oregonian and news staff were acknowledged with two Pulitzer Prizes in 2001. The paper was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, for its "detailed and unflinching examination of systematic problems within the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, including harsh treatment of foreign nationals and other widespread abuses, which prompted various reforms." Staff writer Tom Hallman Jr. received a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his series, The Boy Behind the Mask, on a teen with a facial deformity.
In 2003, music critic David Stabler was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for "his sensitive, sometimes surprising chronicle of a teenage prodigy's struggle with a musical talent that proved to be both a gift and a problem".
In 2004 the paper faced criticism after a headline characterized a 1970s sexual relationship between then-mayor Neil Goldschmidt and a 14-year old girl as an "affair", rather than statutory rape.
In 2005, staff reporters Steve Suo and Erin Hoover Barnett were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for "their groundbreaking reports on the failure to curtail the growing illicit use of methamphetamines". That same year, Americans United for Palestinian Human Rights published two reports on The Oregonian, claiming the paper under-reported Palestinian deaths in its news stories of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and excluded the Palestinian narrative in its Opinion Pages.
In 2007, The Oregonian and its journalists were recognized with several awards. Sports columnist John Canzano was selected as the nation's No. 2 sports columnist in the annual Associated Press Sports Editors Awards. Three Oregonian reporters—Jeff Kosseff, Bryan Denson, and Les Zaitz— were awarded the George Polk Award for national reporting, for their series about the failure of a decades-old, multi-billion dollar, federal program established by the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act intended to help people with severe disabilities find employment. Instead it "awarded executives handsomely but left disabled workers in segregated jobs often paying less than minimum wage."
On April 16, 2007, it was announced that the staff of The Oregonian was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for their "skillful and tenacious coverage of a family missing in the Oregon mountains, telling the tragic story both in print and online." In addition, the paper's reporters were finalists in two other categories. Les Zaitz, Jeff Kosseff and Bryan Denson were finalists for the Pulitzer for National Reporting for the same series that also won the George Polk Award noted above. Inara Verzemnieks was nominated for the Pulitzer for Feature Writing for "her witty and perceptive portfolio of features on an array of everyday topics," according to the Pulitzer judges.
For the second straight year, sports columnist John Canzano was selected as the nation's No. 2 sports columnist in the annual Associated Press Sports Editors Awards in 2008.
In February 2008, Editor & Publisher named editor Sandra Mims Rowe and executive editor Peter Bhatia as "Editors of the Year". The trade journal noted that since Rowe and Bhatia arrived in 1993, the paper and its journalists have won five Pulitzer Prizes and been finalists another nine times. E&P also cited "an increased focus on specialized reporting; a reorganized newsroom that promotes "team reporting" concepts over traditional beats; and regular training sessions and seminars that most staffers credit for encouraging fresh ideas and competitive approaches." Pulitzer Board member Richard A. Oppel, the editor of the Austin American-Statesman called the paper "one of the finest newspapers in the country, easily in the top 10."
On September 28, 2008, the paper distributed a DVD of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West as an advertising supplement for that day's edition, two weeks after the The New York Times, The Charlotte Observer and The Miami Herald had done the same thing. The Oregonian did so despite Portland mayor Tom Potter's personal request that publisher Fred Stickel not distribute it because the "tenor of the video contributes towards a climate of distrust towards Muslims", and because the paper's willingness to distribute the DVD bestows upon it "an impression of objectivity and legitimacy it does not deserve." Stickel cited "freedom of speech", and an "obligation to keep our advertising columns as open as possible" as reasons for not rejecting the DVD.
In 2009, The Oregonian was scooped for a third time on a story of an Oregon politician's sex scandal, this time involving Mayor Sam Adams about what Newsweek called his "public deception and private bad judgment" about his past relationship with a teenage legislative intern. Nigel Jaquiss of Willamette Week broke the story after 18 months of investigations; Jaquiss's reporting on another sex scandal involving Neil Goldschmidt earned Jaquiss a 2005 Pulitzer Prize. Jaquiss thinks The Oregonian's failure to follow up on leads that both he and Oregonian reporters had received was a case of "one-newspaper towns being a little too cozy with local power brokers." A media ethics teacher and consultant for The Poynter Institute for Media Studies suggests that the pattern of failure to cover such stories "may have more to do with the culture at The Oregonian, which has recently "built its reputation on thoughtful, narrative coverage ...[that] doesn't lend itself well to digging up sex scandals."
In August 2009, the paper's owners announced the end of a policy that protected full-time employees from layoffs for economic or technological reasons. The next month, publisher Fred Stickel announced his retirement, effective September 18, ending 34 years in the position; his son Patrick, president of the paper, was appointed interim publisher but was not a candidate to succeed his father, and Patrick Stickel retired on December 30, 2009. N. Christian Anderson III was named as the new publisher in October, and began work in the position at the beginning of November 2009.
The staff of The Oregonian also produces three "targeted publications"—glossy magazines distributed free to 40-45,000 wealthy residents of the Portland metropolitan area, and sold on newsstands to 5,000 others. A fourth glossy magazine, Explore the Pearl, is produced in conjunction with the Pearl District Business Association, and mailed to "high-income Portland Metro households" within Lake Oswego, West Linn, Mountain Park, Lakeridge, Forest Heights, Raleigh Hills, Oak Hills, West Hills, Dunthorpe, and Clark County.
|Explore the Pearl||A look at "all of the hot spots – retailers, restaurants and galleries – the Pearl has to offer."||61,000||http://www.explorethepearl.com/|
|Homes+Gardens Northwest||"Take[s] you inside real Northwest homes and gardens, where residents and professionals have created spaces perfect for the finest Northwest living"||40,000||$120,000 (median)||http://hgnorthwest.com/|
|Mix||"Celebrates our fascination with fine food and the casual entertaining that marks the Northwest lifestyle"||40,000||$95,000 (median)||http://mixpdx.com/|
|Captures the "experience of living the good life here in Oregon and the Northwest"||45,000||$164,000 (average)|