Local news cautionary tale...
Posted by David Schott (+19040) 10 months ago
Seattle Times: Lessons from Southern Oregon’s local news collapse
By Brier Dudley / Seattle Times Free Press editor

Southern Oregon is now a poster child for the local news industry’s collapse.

The Medford News-Tribune, a Pulitzer-winning daily serving Oregon’s sixth largest county, abruptly shut down on Friday, Jan. 13. It had stopped printing in September and shuttered a sister daily, in Ashland, in 2021.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden said the shocking situation will be used to make another push for legislation to support local journalism, including a bipartisan proposal to provide temporary tax credits for outlets retaining or adding newsroom jobs.

“We’re going to use that as Exhibit A, why the value of trusted local journalism is more important than ever,” the Oregon Democrat said.

The Medford paper’s demise is also yet another cautionary tale of what can happen when local newspapers fall into the hands of remote investors. It was sold repeatedly to out-of-state investors who whittled away until there was nothing left.

In contrast, the adjacent county’s daily paper, the Grants Pass Daily Courier, remains family owned and stable with no debt.

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