What happens in state government affects Canby. Knowing what’s affecting the local area can help Canby be — well, a better Canby.

That’s the goal of a new initiative from Pamplin Media Group and the Canby Herald.

“Our parent company, Pamplin Media Group, is dedicated to providing local news through each of its local newspapers,” said Canby Herald Publisher Georgia Newton. “Knowing that the community is impacted by county and state news, the company has invested in resources so the Canby Herald will be able to give our readers the information that affects their day-to-day lives.”

Last month, Pamplin Media Group brought on Shasta Kearns Moore to cover issues in Clackamas County and now will partner with EO Media Group to launch a joint effort to improve news coverage in state government. The two companies have combined their resources to create a Salem bureau that will offer in-depth news about state agencies, the governor’s office and Oregon Legislature.

The Salem bureau will house three full-time reporters. The Oregon Capital Insider bureau will be at the Capital Press newspaper in Salem.

The two companies have hired veteran journalists who are familiar with the state and its politics: Peter Wong and Alan Gustafson, both formerly with the Salem Statesman Journal. They will be joined by Mateusz Perkowski, a veteran reporter at the Capital Press who will provide coverage of water and other natural resource issues.

Invest in coverage

This new venture comes at a time when coverage of state capitols has declined significantly. A recent Pew Research study found that the number of newspaper reporters assigned full time to state capitols nationwide had declined 35 percent in the past 11 years. The ranks of capitol reporters are even thinner in Oregon, which, according to Pew, has one of the smallest statehouse reporting contingents when compared with the state’s population.

The Oregon Capital Insider bureau brings together two companies with a wide geographic footprint in Oregon. Pamplin Media Group owns 25 twice-weekly, weekly and monthly newspapers covering Portland and its suburbs, as well as communities in the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon. The EO Media Group includes 10 daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly publications serving communities in Eastern Oregon and the Oregon Coast. It also owns the Capital Press, which covers agricultural issues in the Northwest, and the Chinook Observer on the southern Washington coast.

Through their printed and online publications, the two companies reach about 1.5 million Oregonians each week — roughly half of the state’s adult population.

“While statehouse news coverage is diminishing in Oregon and across the nation, our media groups have chosen to invest in increased scrutiny of state government,” says Steve Forrester, president of the EO Media Group.

“The Pamplin Media Group and EO Media Group are quite different in many respects, including the markets they serve, but they have several strengths in common,” says Mark Garber, president of the newspaper division for Pamplin Media Group. “Both companies are owned by long-time Oregonians who care very deeply about this state. That’s why they are willing to invest in better coverage of state government even while other news organizations are cutting back. Both companies also have a strong tradition of balanced and responsible journalism. Together, we expect to offer the very best coverage available about issues in Salem that affect all Oregon residents.”

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