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Medford Mail Tribune announces it will close Friday

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Roman Battaglia
/
JPR News
The Medford Mail Tribune, established in 1909, will cease publication this week.

The Rogue Valley’s largest newspaper, the Medford Mail Tribune, announced it will cease all operations this week.

The Tribune’s publisher, Steven Saslow, made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon. He cited industry-wide advertising reductions, rising costs of producing content, and difficulty hiring staff.

Together, he said, those challenges made continuing the Mail Tribune “unsustainable.” Saslow could not be reached by phone for comment on Wednesday.

The paper was formed as a merger between the Medford Mail and the Medford Tribune in 1909, guided by editor George Putnam.

The Mail Tribune was the first newspaper in Oregon to win a Pulitzer Prize. It was awarded for standing up to unscrupulous politicians in Jackson County in 1934.

The paper expanded in the 1990s and early 2000s when it purchased the Ashland Daily Tidings and The Nickel – a local classifieds paper – in 2002.

It changed hands several times in the early 2000s. It was purchased by current owner and publisher Steven Saslow through Rosebud Media LLC in 2017. Saslow purchased the paper for $15 million from GateHouse Media.

In 2021, the Mail Tribune shuttered the Ashland Daily Tidings.

This isn’t the first challenge facing local journalism in Southern Oregon. The Klamath Falls Herald and News briefly lost its entire reporting staff in March of 2022. The Bandon Western World ceased printing in 2020 and the Coos Bay World went from publishing five days per week to two.

Online-only nonprofit Ashland.news opened in 2022 to fill the journalism gap in the Rogue Valley. It was started by Bert Etling, a former editor at the Daily Tidings.

The Mail Tribune ceased print operations last September. The final online edition will be published on Friday.

Erik Neumann is JPR's news director. He earned a master's degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and joined JPR as a reporter in 2019 after working at NPR member station KUER in Salt Lake City.
After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast.