We are doing quite fine

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Across the nation, the growing perception is that newspapers are in serious trouble as they combat reduced circulation numbers along with declining advertising revenues in the face of mounting competition from the Internet.

I would offer a caution, however: Don't believe everything you read or hear.

While metro daily newspapers and large city dailies are in fact struggling greatly, newspapers that are fiercely local and invested in providing relevant, trusted news to the communities they serve are doing quite well.

Local is where it's at.

Local describes the strategic plan of our company - Pamplin Media Group - which serves the entire metropolitan area not with one newspaper, but by publishing many targeted, individually localized newspapers, including the Portland Tribune; Lake Oswego Review; 15 other weekly and monthly newspapers published by Community Newspapers; and our online daily newspaper, localnewsdaily.com.

Local defines our success. Frequently, I am asked, 'How is the Review doing? How are your many newspapers doing in the face of all of these troubles that newspapers face?' I am quite happy to report my response is always the same. 'We are doing quite fine, thank you. Our circulation and readership numbers are up. And advertising sales continue to increase.'

Local information describes our future. Despite expansion of the Internet, there will always be journalists to hunt, gather and distribute news and information. Looking ahead, we will do it robustly and relevantly with printed newspapers and with Web sites that are dedicated to the local communities we serve.

And the word 'invested' describes our local commitment.

Over the next few weeks and months, readers and advertisers of our many papers, including the Review, will see many new investments focused on continually improving the quality of our journalism, our service, our value to readers and advertisers and our community leadership.

This investment will take many forms:

n The hiring of additional reporting, editing and photography staff.

n The hiring of a company executive editor to grow and improve local news coverage within our many newspapers.

n The expansion of our Web sites, including more local news, information services and the addition of Reuters national and international news coverage.

n Expansion of editorial and opinion pages.

n Enhancement of newspaper distribution.

n And expansion of partnerships between our many newspapers.

Pamplin Media Group newspapers already have a track record of award-winning local journalism, community investment and leadership. We are proud that these efforts are receiving statewide and national recognition for journalism that makes a difference in the communities we serve.

Here are few examples of stories, on-going coverage, editorials and leadership that Pamplin Media Group Newspapers have collaborated on and why they matter to readers of the Review:

Sustainability. Our company's monthly Sustainable Life section and weekly Sustainable Life pages, which are localized to each newspaper's own community, were recently given the nation's leadership award among daily and weekly newspapers by Inland Press Association.

Editorials on topics such as transportation congestion and solutions, education funding and quality, growth, immigration and the cost of housing were recently named the third best in the nation among daily and weekly newspapers.

Coverage dating back to 2006 by the Portland Tribune of abuses within the Oregon Nursing Board prompted an investigation by the governor's office and an overhaul of the state agency.

Localized coverage of important issues such as land-use planning and Measure 49 gives our readers not only the big picture, but important information on how state policy and election issues affect local communities and residents.

Our ReThinking Portland special section series targets difficult subjects such as school funding, congestion, the cost and availability of health care, the price of housing, funding for the arts, growth management, but also uniquely and proactively helps our communities address these issues.

Looking ahead, the future of our newspapers and our communities are linked. Local is where it's at. This is true, not only in terms of quality, relevant journalism, but quality communities. At the Review and Pamplin Media Group, we are committed and invested in both - now and long into the future.

Steve Clark is president of Community Newspapers and the Portland Tribune.