Publisher's message: Temporarily blending print editions
These are unprecedented times, and newspapers such as the Pamplin Media Group, parent company of the Portland Tribune, are not immune to the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
As such, we have had to make quick decisions to continue delivering vital news and information to our readership, while also being able to navigate our fixed costs, with the largest being payroll and printing.
Starting next week, the print edition of the Tribune will be consolidated — temporarily — with two of our sister publications, the Gresham Outlook and the Sandy Post.
The first issue of the blended publication will be distributed to subscribers and will be available on newsstands the week of April 6.
We're doing this to save money, but also to ease pressure on our printing press operation. Reporters and salespeople can work remotely during this pandemic. Press operators and mailroom insert crews cannot. The consolidation will mean fewer press runs at a time when social distancing is the new normal.
Our 25 newspapers have been twice-weeklies, weeklies and monthlies for decades now. But in the past few years, our web editions have turned into daily news operations. That won't change, and the websites won't be blended — only the print editions. Longtime readers of the Outlook, the Post and the Trib will still find local news on those websites. And, in the case of the Tribune, readers will still receive email newsletters delivered to their homes. We've prided ourselves on being the source of "hyper-local" journalism. That hasn't changed.
To keep that tradition intact for the long term, we also must make short-range decisions affecting our valuable employees. We have reduced the number of hours for all staff members, most of whom can get economic relief through the state of Oregon's Work Share program. And we are faced with the prospect of temporary layoffs to see us through this economic standstill.
These are momentary moves to make sure we remain the best source of news in all the communities we serve. Many of our newspapers have served that function for more than 100 years and survived wars, pandemics and all varieties of recessions and depressions. We will still be standing after this one is over, too.
They say it's an ill wind that doesn't deliver some good news, and that's more apropos of the newspaper industry than elsewhere: While the coronavirus has reduced our ad revenue considerably, our print and digital subscriptions are climbing. That's because Oregonians want reliable local news. We are grateful for every subscriber, and we'll continue to deliver that news to you, despite temporary furloughs and blended print editions.
Thank you for reading.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.