From the Editor: New presentation, same commitment to local news
Starting this week, you may notice some changes to your weekly newspaper.
The economic shutdown to deal with the coronavirus pandemic has been hard on many individuals and businesses. Unfortunately, we are among them. Many of our regular advertisers have paused their usual ad buys, tightening their belts as we all wait out the epidemic wave. Events and activities we traditionally promote have been canceled or postponed.
We have, reluctantly, made some temporary changes. We believe they put us in the best possible position to weather the storm while continuing to provide our readers with the community news coverage you have come to expect.
Most of our staff now works remotely, a temporary measure as we do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our offices.
Our staff has also been furloughed, with every employee, including managers, asked to work a shortened week while times are tight.
We are sharing some stories and reporting resources with other news organizations throughout Oregon — both familiar partners, like Oregon Public Broadcasting, KOIN 6 News and Salem Reporter, as well as traditional competitors like The Oregonian/OregonLive.com. Every one of us is facing new challenges and constraints, but our commitment to coverage during this public health and economic crisis is as strong as ever.
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Within our parent company, the Pamplin Media Group, we are collaborating more than ever before. We have formed a companywide team, led by Westside editors, to cover the impact of COVID-19 in Oregon. Even as we work farther apart than we're accustomed to, we're pulling together in new ways to continue delivering news every day on our websites.
That spirit of collaboration has led us to do something unprecedented in our history: temporarily consolidating our weekly newspapers to take advantage of single press runs.
The red banner at the top of the front page will bear the title of Washington County Times.
What is the Washington County Times? If you live in the Beaverton or Tigard areas, you may recognize it as the name of the paper that appears on our newspaper racks there. For the first time, though, we will be mailing the Washington County Times to subscribers this week, with some significant changes.
This version of the Washington County Times is an amalgamation of the News-Times, which covers Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Cornelius and outlying areas; and The Times, which covers Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood. Additionally, we will be sharing more content with the Columbia County Spotlight, our sister paper to the north.
The Washington County Times will publish Thursdays. This is a change for News-Times readers, who are used to getting the paper Wednesday. Rest assured, although it will come a day later, your paper will continue to come every week. Times readers will continue to get the paper on their normal day of delivery.
There are benefits to this consolidation for readers, too. From the Spotlight, we're picking up TV guide pages, which haven't appeared in the News-Times or The Times for some years. Some readers were unhappy not to see the puzzles they enjoy in their paper last week, but I'm happy to confirm they will be back this week. We are also adding a third section of the paper, again for the first time in years.
While some of these changes are positive steps, we know that many of them are difficult. We are committed to re-evaluating what we are doing every week, with the ultimate goal of returning to separate press runs and separate titles, restoring our staff to full hours and bringing them back into our offices once it is safe to do so, and reviving popular ads and inserts that are on hiatus.
In the meantime, you will continue to find stories and perspectives from your community in our consolidated newspaper. Although the format and name may be different, this is still your newspaper, and we remain committed to serving you.
Mark Miller is editor-in-chief of the News-Times and The Times, publishing as the Washington County Times.
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