New Editions: The Northwest’s Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. By Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus. 324 pages. Softcover. ISBN 978-0-945648-10-9. List price $16.95.
As the dramatic transitions at the Portland Oregonian underscore, this is a time of big changes for newspapers, around the nation and in the Northwest. But then, when has it not been?
The fact that most communities are one-newspaper places has tended to turn those newspapers into local institutions, and obscured their real role as businesses, and as businesses that have to compete and make money to survive.
New Editions, the new book by Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus about the newspapers of the northwest, pulls back from the daily production of new products, to the larger picture of where the region’s newspapers came from, how they developed, how they merged and grouped and how they made their way financially, and how they’re responding to the latest round of changes in day of the Internet.
Every newspaper is different, and the stories of these 226 paid-distribution, general-circulation newspapers – did you know there were so many in these three states? – are often dramatically different. While some newspapers like the Oregonian have been moving to an ever-more-digital operation, others – two dozen in the region – have no websites at all. Among the majority that does there’s a wide variation in what’s posted there and what kind of requirements – payments, subscription or no limits at all – exist.
Who owns them? How did they start, and what agendas contributed to their launch – and what agendas are active today?
New Editions gives you the background. For an industry important to all Americans, it gives you the information you need to make sense of how it works and where it is headed.
The two authors have long experience in the region’s newspapers. Steve Bagwell is managing editor of the McMinnville (OR) News-Register, and was a reporter or editor for the daily newspapers at Salem, Bend and Astoria in Oregon and Boise in Idaho; he also teaches journalism. Randy Stapilus has worked for the daily newspapers at Boise, Pocatello, Nampa and Lewiston and produces a weekly opinion column for several Idaho dailies.