Articles about "The Oregonian"

Bloomberg publications await launch dates, alt-weeklies get together on a story

mediawiremorningGood morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Where are Bloomberg’s new verticals? Its politics site will launch in October, “30 days before the 2014 Midterms,” Joe Pompeo reports. Bloomberg Business, Bloomberg Markets and Bloomberg Pursuits have “no hard launch dates,” Pompeo writes. “‘It’s still mostly chatter about strategy with no product being delivered,’ said one executive who was not authorized to speak on the record. ‘People want to see something on the table, basically.’” (Capital)
  2. Pulitzers have a new boss: Former Concord Monitor Editor Mike Pride will become the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes this September. (NYT) | Pride talks with Kristen Hare: “What the Pulitzers really have to do, like every other institution associated with journalism, they have to change with the times and the times are changing very quickly.” (Poynter)
  3. Brown Moses is launching a site for crowdsourced reporting: Bellingcat will give citizen journalists “a chance to learn what I’ve learnt over the last two years by trial and error,” Eliot Higgins, a.k.a. Brown Moses, tells Mathew Ingram. (Gigaom) | Previously: “How an unemployed blogger confirmed that Syria had used chemical weapons.” (The New Yorker)
  4. RIP Jeffrey Ressner: The former writer for Politico, Time, Rolling Stone, L.A. Weekly and others was 56. (Billboard, LA Observed)
  5. Google Reader has been dead for a year: How do you use RSS, if you still do? (Mashable) | For what it’s worth, I really like Digg Reader.
  6. It’s time to credential SCOTUSblog: “According to the site’s internal data, Scotusblog’s single biggest user is the Supreme Court itself.” (NYT) | SCOTUSblog Publisher Tom Goldstein talks about the sassy replies he sent to Twitter users who confused his blog with the court. The message? “Just to take a minute and be more civil and think about what you are doing rather than blasting off.” (AJR)
  7. Alt-weeklies bash politicians: A bunch of AAN member papers will publish an “unabashedly irreverent” 15,000-word piece about the country’s worst politicians this week. (AAN) | Did they Snowfall it? They Snowfalled it! (America’s Worst Politicians)
  8. Sources at powerful institutions usually fit into five categories: “The scorned lover,” “The only guy with half a brain,” “The charmer,” “The suicide bomber,” “The archivist.” More tips from New York Times reporter Matt Apuzzo. (Jim Romenesko)
  9. Plagiarism: The T-shirt: Only $6.99. (LOL Shirts)
  10. Job stuff: Jane Spencer is Fusion’s new digital editor-in-chief. She had been The Wall Street Journal’s editor of digital projects and innovation. (Politico) | Mark Katches is The Oregonian’s new editor. He had been at the Center for Investigative Reporting. (Willamette Week) | Stan Wischnowski is the new vice president for news operations at The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and He had been the Inquirer’s executive editor. (The Philadelphia Inquirer) | Carol Loomis is retiring from Fortune: “this year marks her 60th as an employee of Fortune and Time Inc., a record surely never to be broken,” Managing Editor Andy Serwer writes. (Fortune)

Suggestions? Criticisms? Would like me to send you this roundup each morning? Please email me: Read more

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Oregonian Digital Shift

Advance defends bonuses for reporters who post frequently and join comment chains

Advance’s quota and bonus system at The Oregonian came in for heavy criticism last week, prompting a rejoinder from the typically close-mouthed private company.

In a note to senior executives shared with Poynter, Advance Local’s President Randy Siegel says that each newsroom “decides how to structure its own bonus program and what qualitative and quantitative criteria will be used.” He adds “every one of our local plans is different and will doubtless evolve over time.”

Siegel also includes recommendations on rewards from “an internal committee of Advance journalists.” It puts quality at the top of the list, and says prolific digital posters should not be considered “exemplary” unless their work rates high on that dimension too.

The Oregonian is in the middle of a switch having reduced print delivery to four days a week and giving higher priority to breaking news on the Oregon Live website. Willamette Week obtained a leaked internal memo establishing targets for daily posts by reporters and asking them to be first commenters on their stories. 

That prompted critical coverage from The New York Tmes’ David Carr and others, summarized well by Nieman Lab’s Mark Coddington (second item). A number of commentators including Poynter’s Sam Kirkland noted that even hot digital-native sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy do not offer incentives rewarding journalists for traffic or number of posts.

Siegel’s note underlines a bit of a paradox in Advance’s operation. The digital emphasis is a top-down initiative that has been phased in the last five years at most of the company’s 33 papers. But tradition at the company had been to let individual properties operate in a very decentralized way with infrequent visits from corporate bosses and only an informal budget.

The Advance pattern of reorganizing as a digital company and dismissing some senior print journalists in favor of new hires for the digital sites came last week to The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger. Unlike most properties that have made the shift, Newark will have no reduction in print frequency or home delivery for now.

While almost no other companies have made as drastic a print-to-digital shift, Advance has argued that scaling up digital and reorienting newsrooms to primarily focus on generating content for the digital sites is necessary. Siegel’s note says moves to accelerate digital growth are necessary “to offset the inexorable decline of our newspaper circulation and ad revenue.”

The full text of the note follows: 

The Oregonian Media Group in Portland, one of eleven Advance Local digitally focused news and information companies, received a lot of attention recently for a document its editors used to describe a new year-end bonus program that rewards journalists who do good work and engage with readers in meaningful ways.

Since the Oregonian program has stirred up some debate, here is some additional context:

Each Advance Local newsroom decides how to structure its own bonus program and what qualitative and quantitative criteria will be used. There is no corporate plan and every one of our local plans is different and will undoubtedly evolve over time.

Several months ago, an internal committee of Advance journalists put together these thought-starters on how to reward individuals who are excellent performers:

• QUALITY: Quality is an embedded, core competency. Quality is bedrock. As content staff adopts new forms of engagement and storytelling, a focus on quality should guide all work, whether it is live reporting on breaking news, smart aggregation of social media activity or longer-term enterprise projects. Quality is baked into the objectives, so simply hitting a number will not be considered exemplary performance.
• PRODUCTIVITY: How often does the employee post? And how often should that employee be posting? Those two questions begin a process of determining a productivity goal. A couple important points to consider:
» “Post” does not mean traditional inverted pyramid story. A post can be a video, an aggregation of links on a beat, etc.
» Consider how to set posting goals. The recommendation is to assign posting totals that relate to the expected productivity for a beat. They need a different posting goal. Peer groups and like beats – public safety, Tier 1 sports, entertainment, etc. – need goals appropriate for that group. Some will likely be higher than others.
• ENGAGEMENT: Engagement refers to the interaction an employee has with the public. For reporters, this can be how many comments they contribute, it can be how many comments their stories generate, or it can be how many times they participated in a public event. It might include social media activity. The key here is an audience focus: Listening and responding to what the audience wants leads to a more relevant report.

IS THIS ONLY ABOUT THE NUMBERS? Absolutely not. The primary goal always will be quality and impact in our journalism, and that is a topic built into competencies and objectives. At the same time, our ability to grow audience and engagement is directly related to our success as a business, and we need to build a culture that embraces growth and accountability.
We are fortunate that our newsrooms have the largest and most accomplished staffs in each of the communities we serve. Thanks to their commitment to quality journalism, five of the top 10 newspaper-affiliated websites in the U.S. for local market penetration are Advance Local websites, according to the latest Scarborough research. And our combined sites, which now reach 33 million readers each month, currently rank #8 nationally in comScore’s General News category, which includes sites such as Yahoo News, CNN and NBC.
As we scale our digital operations and accelerate our digital growth to offset the inexorable declines in our newspaper circulation and ad revenue, we will continue to hire more journalists and expand our news-gathering capabilities, including significant investments in the mobile and video platforms we need to succeed.  And our newsrooms will continue to measure their successes in a multitude of ways while rewarding the many talented individuals who are doing outstanding work and engaging more than ever with our rapidly growing audiences.

Longtime Oregonian editor Peter Bhatia announced earlier this month he is leaving for a teaching job at Arizona State University.

At a number of Advance papers including The Oregonian, the emphasis on digital has been accompanied by moving most of the newsroom to new, generic office space. That is meant to jolt reporters and editors from a print-first mentality that might persist in the cozy and familiar old quarters.

Whether the moves are working for readers or as a business remains an open question. On the one hand, the sites ( is a good example) post breaking local news much more frequently and have seen audience growth and a younger demographic.

But for readers who prefer their local news report in print – still more than half according to a recent Newspaper Association of America analysis -- they have lesser frequency or convenience and may be pushed to the alternative of a digital replica edition online.

Growth of digital advertising generally has been disappointing for newspaper sites the last several years, with average rates continuing to fall.  Advance has not been specific about how digital ad gains compare with print revenue losses. There is no digital audience revenue because the sites remain free.

That may not be a huge issue. The real test will be whether Advance’s early swing to digital leaves the company’s sites and papers better positioned and more profitable several years hence.

Correction: The Oregonian’s print delivery is provided four days a week. An earlier version of this story included a different number. Read more


Oregonian goes to smaller print format

The Oregonian

The Oregonian will go from a “broadsheet size to a compact format,” the paper announced Tuesday. The new paper will be “about 15 inches tall by 11 inches wide.” The paper expects to complete its transition to the new format by April 2.

The type size will not change. Local, national and international news will be combined into the main news section. Sports will remain as a stand-alone section, as will Business on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. On Wednesday, Foodday + Living and health news will be combined into a single features section. On Sundays, the features sections also combine into a single A&E, Living and Travel section.

Read more

Advance Local president: ‘signs of success are everywhere’

Privately held Advance has been mostly mum on the results of its cutback of print editions in most markets and the relaunch of its newspapers as digital media companies. But in a year-end letter to employees, Advance Local President Randy Siegel partly answers one key questions skeptics like me have been posing:

Most of our new organizations are rapidly increasing their digital revenue and approaching the point where digital ad revenue growth will be larger than print ad revenue declines. This positions us well for the future given the inexorable shift of print advertising dollars to digital. When we started launching our new companies, growing digital ad revenue faster than losing print ad revenue was one of our preeminent goals and we are getting there sooner than expected. A special shout-out to our sales teams in Michigan, New Orleans and Syracuse where 25-30 percent year-over-year digital gains now seem par for the course.

Siegel also confirms that the print-to-digital strategy is coming to its New Jersey, Massachusetts, Staten Island and  Pennsylvania titles in the New Year. Read more


Oregonian hopes to ‘keep reporter numbers where they are today’

How many jobs did The Oregonian shed after it announced staff and home-delivery reductions last week? Willamette Week’s Aaron Mesh reports “about 95 employees” lost their jobs.

University of Oregon professor Suzi Steffen was more exact:

Asked about layoff numbers, Oregonian editor Peter Bhatia referred me to publisher N. Christian Anderson III, who told me in an email: “I am not commenting on the number of layoffs, either company-wide or in the newsroom. At any rate, not everyone who was offered a severance package may end up leaving.” Read more


What will Oregonian reductions mean for competing news orgs, readers?

The Columbian | Editor & Publisher | Gambit | The Advocate | Willamette Week | The Portland Mercury

The just-announced reductions in home delivery and staff at Advance’s The Oregonian aren’t good news to journalists who’ll find out Friday whether they still have jobs or to people who like getting the newspaper at home. But what do they mean for other news organizations and to people who consume news?

The Columbian is published just across the Columbia River from Portland in Vancouver, Wash. Its publisher, Scott Campbell, tells Columbian reporter Cami Joner the paper has no plans to cut delivery frequency.

“If there are subscribers over here that subscribe to The Oregonian only and they’re interested in a seven-day publication, they may want The Columbian,” Columbian circulation and production director Marc Dailey tells Joner. “The caveat is that someone subscribing to The Oregonian may want more Oregon and Portland news.”

Experiences in other markets dominated by Advance papers may prove instructive. Read more

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Oregonian to reduce home delivery, lay off staff

Oregonian | Willamette Week
The Oregonian announced Thursday that it will be reducing home international delivery to four days a week. The paper will deliver on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will continue to publish daily.

N. Christian Anderson III announced that “newsroom layoffs are beginning immediately” and that staffers will know by Friday morning if they’ve been laid off, Willamette Week’s Aaron Mesh reports. Read more


Oregonian adds another small-town weekly

The Oregonian, a publication older than the state it serves, announced in late March that it’s created a new publication called the Beaverton Leader to cover news for the town that’s home to Nike. Apparently it missed the industry memo to stop the presses and get out of the print business.

“Our idea is that part of a successful [newspaper] strategy has to include effective community-level journalism and advertising,” said Peter Bhatia, The Oregonian’s editor, in a phone call with Poynter.

The Leader isn’t The Oregonian’s first town-specific newspaper. It also distributes the Hillsboro Argus and the Forest Grove Leader. Like the Forest Grove paper, Beaverton will be distributed for free, with an advertising insert, to most of the Beaverton community on Wednesdays, and will also be included with Beaverton residents’ Oregonian papers, if they’re subscribers. Read more

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Photo from Cabel

Old pressroom in Oregon is now Internet hub | The Oregonian

Cabel Maxfield Sasser explores the “very, very old basement” of a building in Portland, Ore., and realizes that a major Internet hub for the Northwest used to be a pressroom. Old newspaper pages and humorous rules about conduct in the pressroom are still plastered to the walls (if “you wish to get intoxicated, do so only on the job”). Someone who works in the building tells him “they used to print The Oregonian down here, way back.”

It’s probably not The Oregonian’s old pressroom, Mike Rogoway writes in The Oregonian: “historical evidence suggests that the newspaper printed continuously at another site — the old Oregonian Building at Southwest Sixth and Alder — from the 1890s until the late 1940s.”

The Pittock Block, where Sasser conducted his exploration, had been a potential home for The Evening Telegram in 1914, Rogoway writes.

Pittock did house other publishers at times — a 1924 directory lists both the American Educational Association and Western American Publishing Co.

So the mystery remains. Sasser’s pictures are beautiful, and with the changes that have come to The Oregonian’s corporate siblings in the past year, they have some extra resonance.

“The roar of the presses that ruled these rooms has been replaced, just as we all suspected, with the calculated silence of the conduit that carries our data,” Sasser writes. “[N]ever has the building’s transformation been so lyrically conveyed,” Rogoway writes about Sasser’s post. Read more