Layoffs and even bankruptcy have burdened Oregon newspapers this year, and it’s only February.
Adding to the list are the Ashland Daily Tidings and the Medford Mail Tribune, which lost five editorial positions this month.
Entrepreneur Steven Saslow of Philadelphia purchased the papers in 2017 under his company, Rosebud Media. Since then he says he has helped expand the two papers further into digital and video realms, which is why the company had to shed these positions.
He at first wasn’t sure of how many people were laid off.
“It was about a handful,” he said. “A lot of newspapers have gone through a flushing of reporting and editorial staff. We did not do that.”
In an email, Mail Tribune editor Cathy Noah said the co-owned positions included an entertainment editor, a copy desk editor, a page layout position, a sports reporter, and the Ashland Tidings’ only editor. The Tidings will now share an editor with the Tribune.
The Ashland Daily Tidings recently dropped the “daily” in its name, though Saslow says it will continue to print on a daily basis.
Saslow said Rosebud has created new positions as it shifts its focus to digital and video platforms.
“When you transition from one set of a skills to another, you need the kind of people that can produce and edit video as well as news and information in the written form,” Saslow said.
He added that Rosebud will establish a 24/7 TV news channel this year in a partnership with KTVL Medford.