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Hellos and goodbyes at the News-Times


Hellos and goodbyes at the News-Times

A community newspaper, like any small business, is only as good as its employees. At the News-Times, we have been able to hire talented people, offer them new challenges and wish them well when opportunities outside our company come their way.

This fall has already brought some of those opportunities to the News-Times staff and a few more are coming, resulting in some new names and new responsibilities.

The staff shuffle started in summer, when longtime sales director Janet Peters left to pursue her certification as an insurance agent. Janet, who’d been with the paper since 2005, passed all her tests and recently opened an Allstate agency in Forest Grove.

Moving into Janet’s post is Michelle Thomas, who was our office manager/sales assistant. Michelle, who started here nearly three years ago and lives northwest of Forest Grove, will oversee all advertising operations for the paper and continue to be heavily involved in the community.

Michelle’s promotion opened up the slot at the front desk and in October we welcomed Kathy Fuller to our staff. Kathy, a longtime Hillsboro resident, is a talented journalist, so in addition to handling the phones, offices duties and myriad other tasks, she will be showing off her writing skills in our pages.

On the news side, there are also big changes.

Attentive readers will notice that Stephanie Haugen’s byline has become a bit more common. Stephanie, a 2012 Pacific University journalism grad, joined our staff early this summer as a part-time production assistant. When her other summer job ended, we asked Stephanie, who grew up outside of Hillsboro, to take on additional reporting assignments, focusing on Gaston, Banks and Cornelius, as well as agricultural issues.

Later this month, Editor Christian Gaston will be joining The Oregonian’s politics team, working in downtown Portland and Salem. Christian, who we hired as a part-time reporter in 2006, went on to win Rookie of the Year honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and more than a dozen journalism awards during his tenure. He became editor of the paper earlier this year when Publisher John Schrag took on additional duties related to the launch of the Hillsboro Tribune. We’re excited for him and The Oregonian.

Replacing Christian will be tough; but there was an obvious choice and Associate Editor Nancy Townsley has agreed to become editor of the paper, effective next week. Nancy was one of the first people hired by Publisher John Schrag (who came to the News-Times in 2005). She has been with the News-Times for more than six years, and with the Pamplin Media Group for nearly a dozen, serving in a variety of positions, including education reporter for the Beaverton Valley Times and editor of the Sherwood Gazette. Her promotion ensures that the paper won’t miss a beat.

Joining our staff to help Nancy run the news department is someone who will be familiar to many members of the community. Jill Smith, of Gaston, is a veteran reporter who has worked for the Beaverton Valley Times, Willamette Week and, most recently, the Newberg Graphic. But she also spent 10 years working for The Oregonian, the last couple covering Cornelius and Forest Grove. She’ll step in as associate editor later this month, working with Photo Editor Chase Allgood, who was hired in 2004, and Sports Editor Zack Palmer, who joined the staff a year later.

Rounding out our staff are our two longest-serving employees. Production manager Maureen Zoebelein has been with the News-Times since 1994, overseeing dramatic changes in how the paper is produced. Since 1997, she’s been assisted by graphic designer Olivia Passieux. Both of these twin-talents live in Forest Grove.

In an era when many industries are finding ways to out-source jobs, newspapers still rely on a local workforce. At the News-Times, we are fortunate to have such a dedicated, talented staff working for us and contributing to the community.


Open house next Tuesday

In addition to hiring great employees, we also like to send them off in style. So, next Tuesday, Nov. 20, we will we open our doors to the community from 4:30-6 p.m. so that people can come in and offer congratulations to Christian, Nancy, Michelle and the rest of the ever-evolving News-Times team. In addition, on Friday, Dec. 7, we will be sponsoring an office-warming for Janet. (Check the Dec. 5 paper for details.)


Editorial 2

How ‘local’ is local? You decide.

In her column this week, Associate Editor Nancy Townsley notes that Oregon Public Broadcasting devoted part of last Thursday’s “Think Out Loud” radio show to the newspaper war in Forest Grove.

Because no one from the Forest Grove Leader came on the show, it was a pretty one-sided conversation, but after the broadcast, the Leader’s advertising manager, Monica Butler, posted this comment on OPB’s website:

“For the record, the News Times is owned by the Pamplin Media Group. This is clearly not a locally owned company, contrary to the belief of many within the community.”

We’re not sure what prompted Butler’s comment, but in case there is any confusion, here are the facts. Ownership of the News-Times has changed hands many times in its 126-year-history. Most of the owners were based in Washington County, but at one time the paper was owned by the Register Guard, in Eugene. The current owner is Robert Pamplin, who owns the Portland-based Pamplin Media Group and lives in Lake Oswego. He owns not only the paper, but our building in Forest Grove, meaning he pays property taxes and various business fees. That seems pretty local to us.

The Forest Grove Leader is an edition of The Oregonian, which, like the Hillsboro Argus, is owned by Advance Publications, a massive media company which operates out of New Jersey.