Who is behind Salem Reporter?

Salem Reporter is a web-based news organization focused exclusively on reporting in the Salem area. Its team of experienced journalists will delve into local government, schools, business, nonprofits, and state government. Salem Reporter also will give the community unmatched coverage of major breaking news events, aiming to be the “go to” source for the community. This service will be available only online through a monthly or yearly subscription. Salem Reporter LLC is owned by Oregon journalist Les Zaitz and respected Salem businessman Larry Tokarski.

Zaitz has received national, regional and state awards as an investigative reporter, editor and newspaper publisher, including more than two decades at The Oregonian, the state’s largest daily newspaper. He is a two-time Pulitzer finalist and five-time winner of Oregon’s highest award for investigative reporting, the Bruce Baer Award. His family currently owns the Keizertimes (Keizer, Oregon) and the Malheur Enterprise (Vale, Oregon), operations separate from  Salem Reporter.

“I wanted Les to run this because of his unquestioned professional integrity. He has a record for getting the truth. He has a record of fairness and accuracy.” – Larry Tokarski.

“Les has complete control over the editorial content of Salem Reporter. I won’t participate in or be consulted about story selection, framing or decisions. The independence of Salem Reporter is essential to guarantee its credibility. I trust Les to establish and guard that credibility.” – Larry Tokarski.

Oregon journalist Les Zaitz

Zaitz has been a leader in journalism in Oregon and across the country for more than 40 years and sees an opportunity to arrest the decline in trust in media and the news. He knows from experience how much people want fair, objective news about their community.

“We will focus our journalistic talent on the most important news in any community – local news. We intend to demonstrate to the community and the profession that a sharper focus on better  reporting and writing not only wins readers but financial strength.” – Les Zaitz

“We will be relentless in pursuit of the truth, asking hard questions no matter the challenge.  We will do so, keeping in mind every single hour that we are here to serve the people of the Salem area – not our egos, and not any corporate master.” – Les Zaitz

“The only way the people of this country will once again trust the press is if we return to the fundamentals of journalism. We must always – always – act in ways to gain that trust. Without that trust, there is no readership. Without readership, there is no hope of building a sustainable business.” – Les Zaitz

Salem businessman Larry Tokarski

Larry Tokarski, a businessman and philanthropist in Salem for more than 40 years, founded Salem Reporter to fill what he and others see as a deep gap in local news. He is the founder and president of Mountain West Investment Corp. (Biography below)

“I want people to have the truth. I want people to have accurate information. I want them to have objective information to make good decisions about Salem and its future.” – Larry Tokarski.

“Our community has many challenges. We can meet those challenges, but citizens need to be informed and engaged. They can’t get involved if they don’t know what’s going on.” – Larry Tokarski.

The staff

In addition to Zaitz, Salem Reporter begins with a reporting staff of three, selected from a nationwide recruitment that attracted nearly 100 applicants:

Rachel Alexander, formerly a reporter for the Spokane Spokesman-Review, and an expert in data reporting. At Salem Reporter, Alexander will focus on local education, particularly the Salem-Keizer School District, and nonprofit organizations. “If there’s a guiding principle in my work as a journalist, it’s that every community deserves quality local news they can trust. I work hard to mix data with personal stories to add context and depth to issues that matter to people, and I’m thrilled to hear from our readers about how we can best serve Salem.”

Aubrey Wieber, formerly a reporter and editor at the Idaho Falls Post Register and most recently a reporter at the Salt Lake Tribune. At Salem Reporter, Wieber will focus on state politics and state government, reporting on how public officials are using their government powers. “In joining the Salem Reporter, I aim to bring dogged coverage of Oregon’s lawmakers and state agencies. Under Les’ direction, I believe this staff has what it takes to hit the ground running and produce some compelling work.”

Troy Brynelson, former business reporter for the Vancouver (Wash.) Columbian and previously a reporter with the Roseburg News-Review. At Salem Reporter, Brynelson will cover local government, particularly Salem city government, and the business community. “I’m thrilled for this chance and hopeful to help readers learn more about the city, its people and its businesses.”

How can people participate?


We have made it as easy as possible to sign up for a digital subscription, priced at $10 a month or $100 for a year. A digital subscription provides readers around-the-clock access to Salem Reporter’s news service, electronic newsletter, and news alerts. To subscribe: salemreporter.com/subscribe.


Salem Reporter provides an innovative way for businesses to market on the website. Through an innovative partnership with Mazama Digital, the Salem Reporter provides businesses a way to develop their own ad online in a few easy steps, select their own advertising budget, and launch advertising at their convenience. Advertising is designed to be professional and effective, enhancing the reader experience and engagement.


Salem Reporter offers the opportunity for businesses and organizations to ally with this service to Salem by becoming a founding sponsor.


Salem Reporter will partner with local colleges and universities to provide valuable internships to college students. Readers can support this work to train the next generation of journalists through donations specifically for this program.

Basics of Salem Reporter

Address: 2925 River Road S., Suite 280, Salem, OR 97302

Telephone: 503-357-3207

General information/inquiries: [email protected]

Les Zaitz,editor: [email protected]

Aubrey Wieber, state government reporter: [email protected]

Rachel Alexander, education/nonprofits reporter: [email protected]

Troy Brynelson, government/business reporter: [email protected]