As an editor, nothing strikes so hard and so quick as the notion you must make changes to the existing product in order to meet economic realities.
I sometimes wish being an editor was like it was back in the day when the man in charge of the newsroom wore his Fedora and sat with his sleeves rolled up and dealt strictly with the “news.”
That paradigm, if it ever existed, is long gone from this business. Editors must wear a number of different hats in today’s shifting economic landscape. Yet, this job, as editor, as a journalist at a small town paper, is truly rewarding. If you are good at what you do, you get to make a real difference in the community nearly every day.
And that fact overshadows almost all of the negatives that are attached to this particular vocation.
In past columns, I’ve talked about the impact COVID-19 has had on the East Oregonian and our parent company, EO Media Group. It forced our hand on a few fronts and accelerated some timelines into decisions that — at the time — seemed unthinkable.
So what does all this mean, Andrew, you may ask.
Well, for one, it has meant the way the East Oregonian is covering the return of sports is starkly different that it was prepandemic.
Prior to COVID-19, Annie Fowler and Brett Kane worked as hard as any other sports department in the state, covering games all across Umatilla County and finding those interesting athletes with unique stories to tell. Once the virus brought sports in Oregon to a screeching halt, Fowler and Kane, along with a number of other employees all across EO Media Group, were casualties of some tough financial decisions. Both were laid off.
As we navigated through a COVID-19 world, Fowler provided stories as a freelancer to make sure the East Oregonian had a sports presence every Saturday. Now that sports is tiptoeing back into existence, Fowler is back on a part-time basis.
Having Fowler back on staff is good news. However, the way we report on local sports isn’t going to look like the way we reported on sports before COVID, and before the East Oregonian began publishing in print three days a week.
Our digital news coverage is 24-7, reported as it happens. Game updates will be reported in real time, giving you your local sports results in the most timely manner. Print reporting will recap scores, but focus more on features and upcoming matches than on game coverage. Our sports pages will be devoted to telling unique stories on the athletes or teams in the area and preview some of the bigger games.
These changes to our sports coverage matrix will take a little getting used to for all of us, but offers the best of what the East Oregonian offers — timely coverage and unique local stories in print and online. If you’re a subscriber and haven’t yet taken advantage of activating the digital features included in your print subscription price, call our customer service center at 800-781-3214 and activate your digital access.