Brier Dudley at The Seattle Times:

A one-two punch this week is knocking out much of Oregon’s remaining local newspaper ownership. Two family-owned publishing companies announced Monday that they are selling or have sold nearly half the state’s newspapers. First Pamplin Media, a group of 24 papers including the Portland Tribune, announced that it sold to a Southern newspaper chain. Then Salem-based EO Media, a fourth-generation publisher of a dozen titles, disclosed that it’s closing five papers, laying off 28 of 185 employees and putting the company up for sale. Another 19 EO employees will see hours cut in July, when the five papers close and EO reduces the number of days it prints papers in Bend, Medford and Pendleton.


Cuts and consolidation aren’t unusual in the newspaper business. A steady business decline over the last two decades saw more than two-thirds of its newsroom jobs lost. Closures last year accelerated to 2.5 papers a week on average. That’s reducing civic literacy and voter engagement, threatening democracy, as more than half of U.S. counties now have little to no local news coverage. Still, EO’s announcement is jolting because the group was an exemplar, run carefully by the journalism-minded Forrester family for decades, and a leader in efforts to save remaining local newspapers.