Column: Changes for Redmond

I guess we'll have to move Mayor George Endicott of Redmond over to the undecided column.

In a letter to the editor published in The Bulletin Friday, he declared that The Bulletin “finally drove a stake through the heart of The Redmond Spokesman as a newspaper.”

“It states so on the front page of the Nov. 14 edition. They will no longer report 'hard news.' ”

This, he implies, is part of a conspiracy.

“We, of course, know The Spokesman is owned by the same folks as The Bulletin. With The Bulletin suffering hard times, they have decided to destroy the news-making ability of The Spokesman.

“The Bulletin declared bankruptcy earlier this year.”

I can understand and, in fact, appreciate any reader's emotional attachment to a newspaper.

But, with all due respect, Endicott misrepresents several points.

First, it wasn't The Bulletin that filed for bankruptcy. It was Western Communications, the parent company of The Bulletin, The Spokesman and several other newspapers in Oregon and California.

In some way, each newspaper contributed to the decision and each has been a part of the sacrifices and solution, including particularly The Bulletin.

The good news is that we have successfully come out of bankruptcy, fully able to pay our way as well as all creditors because of the restructuring we have engineered at each of the newspapers.

All of us have dedicated careers to keeping newspapers alive and vital.

And whatever Endicott thinks, that's what this is about.

In his letter, the mayor writes that we will not report “hard news.”

That is a phrase that has been lifted from its context, which Endicott certainly read in the excellent description written by Spokesman Publisher Steve Hawes and Editor Leslie Pugmire Hole.

This is what they wrote, on the front page of the Nov. 14 edition:

“A decision to lead with these features rather than hard news coverage was driven in part by the fact that, as a weekly publication, we have been limited in our ability to cover breaking news in a timely fashion and too often found our coverage duplicating, on a delayed basis, that of the daily Bulletin, our sister paper dedicated to reporting on countywide news, including that of Redmond.”

“With features revolving around the local community, its schools and sports, we hope we'll be able to provide readers with information that complements, rather than duplicates, that of The Bulletin.”

That really is the fundamental proposition.

The Bulletin has spread out to cover the schools, governments, sports, etc., of the Central Oregon region on a daily basis in its news pages and its website.

That includes Redmond.

The Spokesman publishes once a week.

Most of the “hard news” that Endicott refers to has already been published in the daily Bulletin by the time the weekly Spokesman comes out.

To repeat that coverage in a world of changing and instant media would be the real stake in the heart of The Spokesman.

To develop a different, community-oriented brand of coverage is the best bet the Spokesman has on what we are dedicated to — a long lease on the newspaper's life.

Clearly the economics of our time have brought the decisions we made to the fore, but they have not been done in secret, they are not isolated in The Spokesman, and the only conspiracy they are part of is one to put the newspaper company in the best possible posture for the future.

To be very frank, not many media organizations would offer two newspapers in one town.

But we do because we believe in Redmond as a vital part of our region and as a community worthy of the investment of two fine newspapers offering complementing coverage to readers of varied interests.