The Register-Guard announced on Sunday, April 26, that Eugene’s daily paper had “increased efforts to create a strong Oregon-based journalism collaborative with the Statesman Journal in Salem.” This integration includes eliminating jobs, including that of executive editor Alison Bath.
The corporate lingo-filled
press release story announces that “Gannett, the owner of The Register-Guard, took additional steps Friday to integrate its strengths while preserving quality local journalism.”
In other words, it appears that while reporters, photographers and some editing remain local, the paper will be led by an editor in Salem.
The RG was locally owned until the Baker family sold it to GateHouse Media in 2018. In 2019 it became part of the Gannett empire, which includes USA TODAY and, more important to local readers, the Salem Statesman Journal.
Longtime RG journalist and current Managing Editor Michelle Maxwell will lead the newsroom starting May 2, the RG says.
The paper has already been running articles from the Statesman Journal, including hiking and outdoors stories by Zach Urness, which have appeal for a Lane County audience. However readership has apparently declined since the RG lost its local ownership, according to numbers from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, which says the RG has a circulation of 30,000 Sunday, 25,600 daily, as of the last update — which still lists former publisher Shanna Cannon as helming the paper. Bath took over leadership of the paper in mid-April of this year. In November 2017, the circulation was 43,663 Monday-Friday. 47,427 Saturdays, 49,682 Sundays,
The announcement says, “The Register-Guard will join three other Northwest newsrooms led by Statesman Journal Executive Editor Cherrill Crosby. In addition to The Register-Guard, Crosby works with newsrooms at the Kitsap Sun (Bremerton, Washington) and the Great Falls Tribune in Montana.
According to Gannett spokesperson Chrissy Terrell, “The company-wide changes are part of continued efforts to ‘integrate our new company in order to realize the full potential of our combined resources and scale to sustain and preserve quality journalism for the long-term.'”