Oregonian Saved by Free Online Site

The Oregonian is losing print subscribers faster than they can be counted. Weekday circulation is down 8.45 percent and Sunday circulation is down 7.12 percent. These losses come after nothing but losses the previous several years. The once mighty Oregonian is fading, and fading fast.

The Oregonian is cutting an additional 100 positions and is “buying out” employees who have at least 5 years of service. This liberal bastion of knowledge and political force is firing people with families — putting them out of work and on the street — despite its calls for a living wage for everyone. It is getting its “news” from nameless bureaus with unknown writers because it has few reporters remaining. Its once mighty impact on the state is rapidly waning. Remember, if no one reads what you write then what you write is irrelevant. So, has the Oregonian actually slipped into irrelevance? Could it possibly be?

Some very, very wise people say no — and the reason is their website. The Oregonian actually has seen its readership increase if you count the website traffic. This is GREAT NEWS! I wonder if they will be able to report on it? But can the website save the Oregonian from itself? Let’s look at the facts as we decide.

First, the Oregonian doesn’t even run its own website. It uses a packaged site design from an outfit in Jersey City, New Jersey, that is replicated all over the country by many other newspapers who also can’t figure out how to create and maintain their own website. So, the Oregonian has to PAY MONEY for the website and while doing so is outsourcing Oregon jobs to New Jersey while all the while saying that Nike is evil for having its shoes made elsewhere. That’s not helping Oregon or the Oregonian.

Second, last time I looked, the website was “free” for all to use. Not totally free – I actually have to pay for my Internet access because the Portland free WI-FI thing went down in flames and wasted a bunch of money, but I digress. If what you create is given away for free and costs you money, then the net result is a loss, even if you had trouble with math in school. I know the Oregonian has ads on the website, but I wonder if they even represent enough in income to offset the cost of the site? Would the Oregonian tell us if it did? I think not. So that’s not helping Oregon or the Oregonian.

The Oregonian could close the public free access to the website down and only allow paid subscribers to access their “not created here” website. That might help, but then circulation would be DOWN even more and how do you sell ad space to people if you have to tell them fewer and fewer readers are reading? It might be worth a try, but I fear the Oregonian would find out pretty fast that very few people would ever pay to access their site. Very few. So that’s not helping Oregon or the Oregonian.

There is a dirty little secret about the Oregonian’s “circulation”, too. Much of it is reported as paid but it is, in fact, not paid. Here’s how they do it. When your subscription expires simply give them a call and tell them you are not renewing. Within minutes (or maybe days if they are understaffed) you will be offered the daily Oregonian for “free” if you simply take the Sunday paper. If you say no to that you are offered the entire subscription to the paper for nothing. Usually, for months at a time. This is true especially around election time and circulation audit time when they need to show good numbers. I received the Oregonian for free or for the cost of just the Sunday paper over many years by simply canceling the one paid subscription I had. As pointed out earlier, if you have to give something away that costs you money you end up losing money. So that’s not helping Oregon or the Oregonian.

What could help, you ask? The Oregonian is always telling us how to live our lives, how to vote, how to be green, how to think, what to read, etc. I guess it is time for them to listen to us so they can learn how to save themselves.

How about some real reporting — unbiased — just the facts — no liberal slant day in and day out? How about some local stories on the business page rather than canned junk from the AP about companies that have nothing to do with Oregon? How about some originality in their writing rather than a cloning of the New York Times? How about some humility? Maybe admit they did something wrong rather than blaming the “stupid” people who quit reading the paper? How about making their own website rather than some canned creation from another company in another city? How about running the cartoons Oregonians want to see — even if they sometimes have religious overtones (remember B.C.?)? How about some true investigative reporting into the wanton waste in city and state government and the truly antagonistic attitude of both state and local government toward business?

How about just the news? That might work. If only they would give it a try. But will they?

No, not the Oregonian, a newspaper sadly and steadily slipping down the slope to insolvency each and every day. It is too proud to do that. And way too smart.

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Posted by at 05:04 | Posted in Measure 37 | 24 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • John Fairplay

    One thing we’re going to learn from all this is the irreduceable minimum of far-left kooks in Oregon. Once circulation craters and stabilizes, we will know how many really crazy, hopeless Obama-ites there are around these parts.

  • Rick Hickey

    Just yesterday I read in that paper (only becuase it was linked to other sites) two of the dummest articles I have ever read and it reminded me of why their numbers are falling, even with large population growth here.

    One was from their Editors on how the only thing Bush did that was good was to offer Amnesty to tens of millions of illegals, like it would help us economically, like California the state with the most Illegals and Taxes and “programs” and the most in Debt from it, doesn’t exist. and like those 1.2 Million Americans who lost thier Job just this year want more 3rd world job competition.

    The other one was from a guy named Jack Roberts, whom I’ve never met in all the meetings I go to, and he tried to say that we need more “moderate” Republicans because Oregon is now a Socialist state and everyone here is Blue. If he is that papers version of a R expert thier numbers will keep going down in their lame attempt to reach across the aisle.

    To the Oregonian, when you insult peoples intelligence for a long time they stop reading your drivel, including me.

  • Rick Hickey

    UPDATE…Just discovered that Jack Roberts was the Labor commissioner, in this state with the highest Unemployment rate in the Nation for years and years, no wonder he thinks we can’t live without Government “help”.

    Bet he doesn’t know what Subsection 4 of ORS 181.050 the “Sanctuary” law, says about B.O.L.I.

    I made sure Brad Avakian knows this and he seems interested in complying, that would really help our economy.

    • RinoWatch

      Jack Roberts was also a “Republican” candidate for Governor but failed in the primaries mainly for exposing his Rinoism’s.

      He signed a Kitzhaber letter that opposed Don McIntire’s spending cap measure. He should have kept his pen in his pocket , but I suppose it was a good thing that he revealed himself before he caused us any real damage.

      Roberts is a good guy (I supported his run for Gov. until the letter signing) but he’s never going to be an influential player in the rebuilding of Oregon’s Conservative Republican party. The reactions to Sunday’s Op-ed is further proof that JR is done politically.

  • eagle eye

    I would guess just from reading these comments that the Republicans really won big in Oregon this election year!

    • dean

      Its because the party is not yet “conservative” enough Eagle. They need to really get it down to its essence….no more than a dozen people at most. Then rebuild from that point. Jack Roberts to the Gulag! Gordon Smith to the Gulag! Norma Paules to the Gulag! An ever more crowded Gulag with an ever smaller Oregon Republican party. Weird.

      • eagle eye

        Yup. It’s almost like they enjoy losing, take it as a badge of honor.

        I wonder if it’s not simply a matter of the Reagan generation aging. I can remember when it was fresh, exciting, forward-looking.

        Maybe a hormonal thing, not enough testosterone left? Just a bunch of old grumps?

        • dean

          The time was right for Reagan in 1980, but it took a long while for the country to be ready for him, And if he were just emerging on the scene today the timing would be bad for him. Politics goes in cycles.

          I think you are onto something with the old grumps point given that 2/3 of the under 30 vote went to Obama, and the only age demographic that went for McCain was over 65. That points to a party of the rural past, not the cosmopolitan future.

          Conservatism needs a fresh coat of paint, but painting over rot is a bad idea. Some deeper remodeling is in order. Those who live by the free market (rhetorically at least) must die by it.

          By the way, a very funny and I think relevant take on all this by P.J. O’Rourke is on Real Clear Politics today.

          • eagle eye

            I am actually not as pessimistic about the Repbublicans. (Of course, I don’t want to be). Obama is going to have to deliver. If he doesn’t, he could be in a very similar situation to the one of Bush in 2008. The Democrats will likely be in a lot of trouble in Congress in 2 years.

            Obama ran on tax cuts for most people. A lot like Reagan, except Reagan didn’t have the soak the rich part. If Obama really goes through with it, I predict the economy will crater. I’m talking Dow 4000 – 6000. The talk about bailing out the car industry is very ominous. People were NOT voting for universal corporate welfare along with a statist takeover of the economy. And then there are the carbon tax plans, the crazy alternative energy stuff, both of which are going to hit people in the wallets, hard, if the Democrats actually go through with it.

            And I haven’t even gotten to the part about foreign affairs. If Obama goes through with the talk about Pakistan, it could make Iraq look like a picnic (and Iraq will still be around, too).

            And that still leaves Iran.

            A rough rough road for Obama. I hope he enjoys it as much as Bush has.

            Oh, and I hope he is treated with just as much respect.

          • dean

            2 ways to look at it. One, this really was a “change” election, Obama and the democratic congress are going to go big and do all the stuff you list plus expanded health care….it all works well enough that the nation has a sense of getting out of the ditch…and he is re-elected in a landslide as was Reagan. And remember, the first 2 years of Reagan were no picnic. Volker squeezed inflation out of the economy by raising interest rates through the roof, unemployment was well over 10% in Oregon and other states. Had that strategy failed to deliver a recovery by 1983, Reagan and “conservatism” would have had a short visit to power. So same holds for Obama and he knows this.

            On the other hand, he could go weak in the knees, do only half measures, we stay in the rut and the Republicans will get a new chance if they can find a decent vehicle for either their old ideas or some new ones (not Sarah Palin…please.)

            A 3rd way to think of it is that our accumulating problems are so profound and intractable that it does not matter a bit if we go left, go back right, or go center. We are just over populated, running out of energy and ideas, and headed for a dark future. I’m hoping Obama is successful not because I share his politics, but because I think our kids future depends on his success. And if he fails I’ll hope like hell Palin or Gingrich or whomever gets the rock next is successful, even if I disagree with their politics. Far too much is at stake here.

            Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a total basket case with potentially loose nukes no mater what Obama does or does not do. Iran is a paper tiger. They can be contained until they have a new revolution, like with the Soviets. We just need to wait them out.

            Don’t worry. Obama is already being called out as a fascist, communist, Muslim terrorist and so forth by Limbaugh, Hannity, Colter, and various Republican Congressmen. So you won’t have to wait to see how he is treated. Any misstep he makes will be jumped on even before he takes the oath of office.

  • cc

    The O loses money on every paper they sell, but they make up for it with volume.

  • Richard B

    I stopped reading the Oregon in 2000 when on a business trip, I was offered the Wall Street Journal and was offered reasonable unbiased reporting. with David Reinhard and resemblance of center right reporting is out the door.

  • Amazed

    I’m amazed that our losses this year weren’t worse with absolute idiots like Rick Hickey running the party. He’s so impressed with his title, he puts it on EVERYTHING.

    Rick, you are complete embarassment to our party.

  • David Jacob

    All I can honestly say is that the Oregon Republican Party has almost lost any interest for me. As long as ultra-conservative a**hats like that hateful old bag Marilyn Shannon are allowed to run anything in the party; they can kiss my four figure checks goodbye forever. I’m also appalled at going to local republican meetings and having some a**hole I’ve never laid eyes on ask me
    what church I belong to. Sorry folks – I’m JEWISH and will never belong to any “church”. Got that? I’m very happy with my religion and I was under the false assumption that this was a POLITICAL PARTY not a religious revival.
    By the way, Gordon Smith is a MORMON and you clowns did a pathetic job supporting him – even though he was the Party standard bearer in a state where you CONSERVATIVE A**es can’t even win the position of DOG CATCHER!

    P.S. – I will be at Seaside this year to call you IDIOTS out for
    what you are – a small-minded bunch of old BIGOTS!

    • RinoWatch

      I understand your disgust very well as one who is not liked by members of my party because of my outward disdain for those who only talk a good game and then go astray.

      I did not support Gordon Smith this time, but NOT because he is a Mormon. I don’t care that he is a Mormon. I DON’T care what religion a candidate is! I only care is that if a candidate campaigns on a set of issues & values that they would stick with them when elected.

      Gordon was all over the map in the past few years.

      I agree with you about the far right, “ultre-conservative asshats” (sic). As a Conservative I do NOT want to be lumped in with the group you call “CONSERVATIVE ASSES” (sic)….

      If there is such a thing as a “Moderate Conservative” that is where I am. I don’t give a shit about a persons religion, I am against gay marriage but if a majority passes it I’ll not protest it. I am pro-life, but will not picket an abortion clinic nor will I discuss it on my blog other than to say INFANTICIDE IS WRONG!

      I’d never go to Seaside because it’s a party weekend, cliques galore, phony bullshit, and a total waste of time.

      The big problem I have with your commentary is where you use an asterisk instead of spelling out your words.

      I don’t want to ramble further here but if you want to take me to task,
      here you go…………[email protected]

    • Anonymous

      Who’s the intolerant a**hole here?

      Sounds like the person who asked you what church you go to was just trying to starta a conversation. Lighten up.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Lighten up Jacob. Having an asterisk grouping and capitalization in every other word doesn’t make you a tough guy and trying to get us to believe you write four figure checks doesn’t make you a rich guy. You just seem over wound and intolerant as hell. The election is over, you won, try and live with it with a little more composure than you displayed here.

  • Steve

    David Jacob,
    What planet are you from?
    The so-called ultra conservatives in the Republican party you’re imagining have not been running the show.
    The not so ultra conservatives haven’t either.
    It’s been the not so much Republicans who don’t take a stand on anything who have been running the party. For multiple cycles they’ve been Democrat light in hopes of pleasing the press and currying favor with who knows who. They haven’t stood for anything conservative.
    “Marilyn Shannon”? I must have missed her activity in the party central command.
    If you want real Republicans then send your figure checks to the Conservative Majority Project.

    I call BS on your post. I have no idea what “meeting” you went to but there is not a shred of any “church” check in the ANY of the many conservative Republicans who are dissatified with the party leadership.
    So your barking up the wrong tree.
    I don’t think you even know who you are talking to.
    This contingent of the party doesn’t even exist.

    Sounds to me like you are a democrat using the usual bromides to casting the party as far right and controlled by religious extremists.
    Gordon Smith was no Republican Party standard bearer. He lost much of his base because he cozied up to Wyden and the democrats over and over again. And it had nothing to do with religion or anything else you dream up.

    Maybe while you’re in Seaside you can let everyone know how marvelous Ben Westlund is and how we were idiots to let him go???
    Or how about Vic Bachlund?

    You need to get around and visit with some real conservative Republicans. There’s nothing extreme about them.

    Take a bounce over to


    and chime in.

  • JJ Gildersneeze

    The Oregonian can make up for their circulation losses by selling reprints of their Obama front page, which are selling like hotcakes.

  • ryan

    all the news is worthless nonsense, maybe you guys up there have some brains and aren’t interested in hear the 2 party system BS and all the other lies they CONSTANTLY perpetrate. I can hear the brainwashed moron’s saying, oh you think people shouldn’t read. I’ll tell you what. A choice betweening reading lies and BS, I’ll take the risk of being ‘stupid’ thanks.

  • john

    you should know the the oregonian and the “outfit in jersey city” are both owned by the same company.

    • Jerry

      We do know this. It is still jobs in New Jersey vs. Oregon.

  • Bennie

    It’s getting to the point that the only people reading the Oregonian are the leftoids that inhabit starbucks and pick up a free copy someone has left on the table there.

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