Salem Reporter joins 2 news groups to expand state reporting

Reporters Aubrey Wieber, Claire Withycombe, and Paris Achen.

SALEM – A news collaborative to sharpen and expand coverage of Oregon state government and politics has launched, combining the strengths of three news organizations.

The new team represents Pamplin Media Group, publisher of the Portland Tribune and 24 other newspapers, EO Media Group, which publishes the East Oregonian, Daily Astorian and nine other newspapers, and Salem Reporter, a digital news service.

A reporter from each organization has been assigned to the Oregon Capital Bureau operation. They are Paris Achen of the Portland Tribune, Claire Withycombe of the East Oregonian and Daily Astorian, and Aubrey Wieber of Salem Reporter. They will work under the direction of Les Zaitz, editor of Salem Reporter and a veteran investigative reporter.

“This collaboration will dramatically boost our in-depth coverage of state government,” said Pamplin Media Group President Mark Garber. “We already were partnering with EO Media Group to provide timely and comprehensive stories about the Legislature, the executive branch and state agencies. Now, by adding Salem Reporter, we will increase the number of journalists watching the capital and also benefit enormously from Les Zaitz’s journalistic leadership.”

“Throughout its 110-year history the EO Media Group has been committed to quality journalism,” said Heidi Wright, the group’s chief operating officer. “That commitment led us to our original collaboration with Pamplin Media Group to provide our readers with important stories other news outlets had abandoned. This coverage has never been more vital and the resources Salem Reporter brings to the effort will increase the value of this coverage to our readers.”

“News organizations across the state have whittled away at their coverage of state government, leaving citizens with less information than ever before. By combining forces, we give Oregonians the largest news team in the state focused exclusively on state government. We intend to be a potent watchdog over public money and government power,” said Zaitz.

The new Oregon Capital Bureau team will provide breaking news, enterprise and investigative stories. The bureau’s stories will be shared with each of the news organization’s publications and their websites, providing an unprecedented statewide reach. This collaborative also produces Oregon Capital Insider e-newsletter, delivered weekly to over 84,000 subscribers.

About the partners:

Pamplin Media Group – This group of 25 weekly, twice-weekly and monthly newspapers and their affiliated websites is the largest news-gathering organization in Oregon. In addition to the Portland Tribune, the Pamplin group has newspapers in all of Portland’s suburbs, as well as in Madras and Prineville in Central Oregon.

EO Media Group – The company is a fourth-generation Oregon company, headquartered in Salem, with paid circulation of 44,000. Publications include the Capital Press, a regional agricultural newspaper, plus nine other newspapers on the coast and in eastern Oregon.

Salem Reporter – This online news service launched Sept. 10, a venture founded by Zaitz and Salem real estate developer Larry Tokarski. Zaitz and his family own weekly newspapers in Keizer and Vale. He is a retired investigative reporter, two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, and five-time winner of Oregon’s highest honor for investigative reporting.

About the reporters:

Paris AchenBefore joining the Portland Tribune staff three years ago, Achen worked at the (Medford) Mail Tribune, the (Vancouver) Columbian and the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press. Contact: [email protected] or 541-840-3626.

Claire Withycombe – Withycombe has been reporting for two years in Salem for EO Media Group. She worked two years for the Bend (Oregon) Bulletin before that. Contact: [email protected] or 503-385-4903.

Aubrey Wieber – An Oregon native, Wieber worked in Idaho as a reporter and editor and most recently worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah. Contact: [email protected] or 503-575-1251.