Tuesday, September 9, 2008


We’ve taken two newspapers for as long as I can remember. The Eugene Register-Guard and the Portland Oregonian. The Oregonian has been in business since 1850. Darn, that’s a long time to be ruffling feathers. I have a lot of memories of dad going through the papers after he got home from work or after he was disabled.

We get the mid valley edition and save the sports pages for the Portland branch of the family. My nephew is playing his last year at the U of O. And the mid valley sports news is weighted towards coverage of this end of the valley. In other words, if they want to know what their son is doing they need our copy of the sports pages. Unless the U of O really falls on its face or does really, really well. Yeah, we creamed Utah last week (team only has the worst offence in the country). This week it’s the Boilermakers, in Indiana, on national TV. Fingers crossed and is it ok to pray for the success of a football team?

The Oregonian seems to be a pretty decent paper. It’s owned by Advance Publications so ownership isn’t local anymore, but the editorial board seems to have a decent amount of freedom to work with. The paper has won a few Pulitzers over the last few years and seems to pull an equal number of complaints from both sides that it’s biased in the other’s favor so I guess they’re doing something right. The paper has either done investigative work or reprinted significant investigative work from, say the LA Times or the NY Times. And if I need more information there’s always the internet.

The Oregonian is big enough to have its own staff editorial cartoonist. I’ve loved Jack Ohman for years. He’s also a fishing nut and his two books on fly fishing are wonderful.

The Register-Guard is a rarity. It’s a mid size paper that’s still owned by the family that founded it. I believe they’re into the third or fourth generation. One nice feature is a weekly insert for their Springfield customers that helps take the place of the Springfield News. That very local paper was bought out and closed down a couple of years ago.

The paper has won some state and regional awards for coverage in science and the arts and was a Pulitzer runner up in 1999 for coverage of the Thurston High School shootings. God that was a very bad day.

Again their coverage seems fairly balanced. There is a bit of a bias towards the pro development side of the fence. But, hey, more people more subscribers. You just take it into account when you’re reading the stories. There seems to be about as many people from both fringes complaining that the paper is biased in the other sides’ favor, so again they seem to be doing a pretty good job. The Guard doesn’t have its own cartoonist but they print a pretty good mix from the various syndicates.

Actually taking the two papers is interesting. A lot of times they both cover the same major stories and it’s fun to compare how the story was edited. Usually one will have a longer version than the other. But, it breaks both ways so it may be a matter of space available or how much local interest the editors think the story will generate. Again, if coverage seems a little thin, there’s always the net or the local library.

Oh, I spring for the Oregonian and mom springs for the Guard.


emmapeeldallas said...

Your post leaves me feeling nostalgic for when I was a kid, growing up in small college town in Minnesota, where we had a really good local paper.  It's nothing to brag about anymore; I occasionally look at it online, but I still love a good newspaper.

Thanks for memories!



sunflowerkat321 said...

Our local paper is a bit of a sensationalist rag.  We get the Long Island edition of Newsday.  NY sports is often the front page story.  They cover the national news of course, which is not particularly biased one way or another.  It's something to read quickly on a busy day to pick up news highlights.  Goes down easy...not particularly filling.

But on the weekends....ah....we get the NY Times.  It gets us fully caught up on everything.  Not only do I read about the news...but the feature stories are often fascinating.  I have never read a paper like I read the Times.  We keep the Sunday sections through the following week and there's always something to pick up and read.

I grew up with a small town paper and we supplimented with both the Indianapolis Star and the Louisville Courier Journal.  When I was home last, I couldn't help but notice that the local paper had dwindled to about a dozen pages at best.  I wonder how much longer it will be around.  It's a shame, isn't it?  I think there's something to be said for a local paper where the lives and accomplishments of local people IS the news.

geminiwilder said...

I have always loved hometown newspapers.  I must confess that I've never read the 'biggies' out of New York or Boston, but our central CT papers (Hartford Courant, etc) seem to cover U.S. news well.  The TV nightly news & the internet cover the rest.

My favorite paper, a weekly one, remains The Plainville Citizen.  It's focus is on
just that, the town citizens!  It's so refreshing to know what the children - our future leaders - are up to!  And they are featured prominently every week.

On another note (I've been reading all the surrounding entries here) Sarah Palin is FRIGHTENING!!!!!!   She's in no way, shape or form what this country needs in a VP.  I can't wrap my head around the women who idolize her, who ARE they?!?