BEND — The Bulletin in Bend lost its editor and gained a new publisher.
The EO Media Group takes ownership of The Bulletin and Redmond Spokesman on Sept 1. EO Media’s Chief Operating Officer Heidi Wright is stepping into the role as publisher for The Bulletin.
“I will be relocating to Bend in the next few weeks and will continue to serve as COO of EO Media Group from that location,” Wright said.
Wright also will be publisher of the Spokesman, The Bulletin’s sister weekly paper. Her husband, Richard Schuurman, will join her.
Prior to Wright taking EO Media’s chief operating role two years ago, she was the chief financial officer and human resources officer of Western Communications, then-owner of The Bulletin. Steve Forrester, president and CEO of EO Media, said Wright’s deep knowledge of operations and insights into the newspaper’s market equip her to lead The Bulletin.
But the flagship paper in Central Oregon will be without an editor for the present. Wright said editor Erik Lukens will not be joining the company. EO Media is looking to bring in an editor from outside the company.
“We expect to announce a new editor soon,” she said.
Bulletin city editor Julie Johnson and features editor Jody Lawrence-Turner are steering the ship until the new editor takes the helm.
The Bulletin reported Lukens joined the paper in 1998 as the editorial page editor. He became city editor in 2011 and left in 2012 to become editorial page editor at The Oregonian, where he and his staff won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2014. He returned to The Bulletin as the editor in 2016.
EO Media Group bought the century-old Bulletin and Spokesman for $3.65 million at a bankruptcy auction on July 29. The price included The Bulletin’s printing press. But Wright said the company will shut down that press and move printing to the Pamplin Media Group in Prineville beginning Nov. 1.
“The simple truth is we couldn’t get it to pencil staying in the existing production facility with a very expensive press that needed a lot of upgrades and deferred maintenance taken care of,” Wright said.
Pamplin, which owns the Central Oregonian in Prineville, is upgrading its press during the next two months. Wright also said Pamplin intends to offer jobs to a number of The Bulletin press and mailroom workers.
EO Media is working to sell the The Bulletin’s press, which for now remains in the newspaper’s headquarters, along with the rest of the operation. The building goes up for auction Oct. 23, but the lease allows EO Media to remain in the 89,000-square-foot space for the time being.
“This acquisition is a significant event for our company,” Wright said, “and if we do it right, it will secure the future of EOMG.”
EO reporter Phil Wright and EO Media Group COO Heidi Wright are not related.