by Kevin Frazier
What a ride it’s been.
Thanks to you all, we sent a ripple through Oregon journalism that’s resulted in a wave of improvements. That’s not hyberbole. The biggest outlets and the more senior journalists saw the value of our work — grounded in community, focused on issues (not real estate and “top ten” articles), and willing to foster debate — and responded by creating similar products and/or by paying our volunteer contributors to write for their outlets instead.
I couldn’t be more excited about our peers trying to keep up. Oregonians are better off with more options to learn about diverse perspectives and the news that’s actually of significance. We need more contributors writing pieces for more outlets on the ins and outs of Harney County, Gold Beach, Astoria, Joseph and every other spot within the square we call a state.
However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say we feel a little pressure from legacy outlets. After all, they’ve got more money, more readers, and more paid staff. We’re got few funds, a growing community of readers, and no paid staff. But we’re more than punching above our weight — we’re knocking out big stories and sharing perspectives that change the conversation in the state.
Don’t believe me? Ask Jenn Schuberth about how her posts on literacy have opened eyes to our horribly inadequate approach to teaching reading. Or ask Sarah Iannarone about the conversations she’s held with folks about traffic safety and electric vehicles in light of her posts. You could also ask Loran Joseph about how his posts encouraged Oregonians looking for local leadership in the early days of COVID.
The bottomline is that the Way is a unique public service that’s filling a gap in our information ecosystem. We need your help to keep up our work to improve Oregon’s civic culture.
I’m not special. But I have devoted thousands of hours to the Way in last 2.5+ years. So I am creating a bit of a gap by leaving for clerks with Chief Justice McGrath of the Montana Supreme Court and Judge Michael McShane of the US District Court for the District of Oregon.
We have a team of volunteers making up for those lost hours. And we continue to have the most diverse (politically, geographically, racially) roster of contributors of any outlet. These folks need your assistance. So please help make my last week as editor a special one and consider subscribing and sharing The Way by OR360.
We can’t continue to improve Oregon’s information ecosystem without your support. So lend us a hand. Let’s make sure the Way sticks around and keeps giving Oregonians a spot to solve problems and build community.
Kevin Frazier is the Editor of The Way.