Opinion & Editorial

‘Eugene Weekly’ leaves a void without print edition

The local media landscape continues to change, the result of a roaring sea of challenges that continue to rock everyone from the biggest dailies to the smallest weekly papers. While we all face similar challenges, it would be a mistake to lump them all together. 

Individual business models and community environments play a huge role in any paper’s ability to survive.

A Northwestern University report recently stated that more than 130 papers have closed or merged this year, and the country is on track to lose a third of its papers since 2005 by the end of 2024. Over half of the counties in the U.S. have just one or no local news outlet.

The southern Willamette Valley is not immune.

The Eugene Weekly, published in the great tradition of alternative weeklies – arts & entertainment, watchdog journalism without fear or favor, deep listings of events, robust letters and public dialogue – announced last week that it could not publish a printed edition for the first time in its history. 

In this case, financial fraud within the organization is the alleged culprit, and law enforcement is investigating the situation. In the meantime, The Weekly will struggle to pay bills and print. It laid off its staff three days before Christmas. 

Under the guidance of editor Camilla Mortensen, The Weekly was a full-throated advocate of journalism, creativity, and challenging conventional thinking. Its voice was important, and its silence, sadly, will resonate. Sometimes, silence is loud, and anytime the exercise of First Amendment journalism is eliminated, it’s a sad day for our community and democracy.

In Cottage Grove, The Sentinel has changed ownership hands. New Media Corporation, based in Illinois, sold all of its Oregon-based newspapers to Country Media, Inc. These include The Sentinel, the Newport News Times, and the Siuslaw News in Florence, Ore. Country Media is based in Salem, Ore., and owns several papers in Oregon and California.

Meanwhile, the state’s largest paper, The Oregonian, announced it will publish a printed edition only four days per week.

The Chronicle, locally owned with local reporters and photographers, shares in the sadness of the state of local news. We have embraced and champion a solution-oriented, hyper-local approach to community journalism that accurately reports and helps edify and uplift the community at large.

— Chronicle staff



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