Experienced journalists start at Salem Reporter

The news staff of the all-new Salem Reporter – Rachel Alexander, Troy Brynelson, and Aubrey Wieber.

They are making requests for government records.

They are setting up appointments with key public officials.

And they’re discussing how to reach out to Salem citizens to get acquainted.

That was the first day on the job Monday for the reporting staff of Salem Reporter.

Let’s introduce you – and feel free to reach out to them directly. Invite them to coffee. Or a good brew pub. Oh, and I’m available too.

— Les Zaitz, editor


Hi, I’m Rachel Alexander, your new education reporter.

I’m originally from Seattle and have lived in eastern Washington for most of the past decade, working at local papers in Walla Walla and Spokane. Though I’m the only non-native Oregonian on the team, I have family across the state and have always considered it a second home.

In addition to education, I’ll be covering Salem’s nonprofits and social services, and might try to sneak some health stories in as well.

When I’m not reading too much, I play roller derby as Minority Whip and am eager to join Cherry City’s squad. Most of my other interests are squarely within Pacific Northwest stereotypes: hiking, beer and board games. I also love infectious disease trivia.

My best stories have always come from listening to readers and community members about what they see happening. Whether you’re the parent of a kid in Salem’s schools, a high school student, a teacher, staff member or just someone who wants to know how the district is spending your tax dollars, I want to hear from you. Tell me what you notice and what you’re curious about. Feel free to add or follow me on Facebook or Twitter (@rachelwalexande), or drop me a line at [email protected].


As the statehouse reporter for the new Salem Reporter, I strive to bring Oregonians vital information from the Legislature, governor’s office and other state agencies. While that will include updates on potential and new laws, state policies and the political climate, I will also be a watchdog over elected officials and agencies.

I grew up in liberal western Oregon but began my career in deeply red eastern Idaho, giving me an understanding differing outlooks that come together in the Capitol. Most recently I covered the criminal justice system for The Salt Lake Tribune , and before that worked for The Bulletin in Bend. Throughout my career, I have relied upon public records and databases to break big news stories, but also emphasized building a large network of sources to provide a more humanistic point of view. I plan to bring a tenacious investigative approach and engaging storytelling to my coverage of the statehouse.

I was drawn to Salem Reporter by its fresh take on local journalism. Today, the nation consumes more news than it ever has, but has also become disillusioned with much of the content the media produces. Under the leadership of Les Zaitz, I intend on engaging a local audience by building trust and delivering compelling stories. After spending the bulk of my career in the Intermountain West, I’m excited to return home and compete with some of the reporters who inspired me to become a journalist.

Outside of work, I try to spend the bulk of my time in Oregon’s vast and dense forests or alongside it’s crystal-clear streams while skiing, fly-fishing and mountain biking. I also am a lover of craft beer whose mood can often ebb and flow with the success of the Trail Blazers and New York Mets.

You can reach me at [email protected].


We’re off to a quick start at Salem Reporter, so here is my turn to introduce myself: I’m Troy Brynelson, I will be covering local governments and businesses in Salem.

Already my career has sent me up and down Oregon’s leg of Interstate 5. At the News-Review in Roseburg, I got my start covering city government and the logging industry, as well as the local arts. Unfortunately, the biggest chapter of my time there revolved around a mass shooting in 2015 at Umpqua Community College, with which the community is still grappling.

I eventually moved on to The Columbian, in Vancouver, Wash., where I covered Clark County’s growing economy. My time as the paper’s sole business reporter afforded me broad authority to cover things like the area’s housing boom, mass layoffs at a historic paper mill, and a handful of publicly traded companies — including a laser manufacturer that went public this spring.

Salem is still new to me and will be for a few weeks or months. I’m looking forward to getting to know this community and how it works, both privately and publicly. I spend a lot of my time getting coffee with people, so if you’ve got anything to talk about and need some caffeine then drop me a line. You can reach me at [email protected].