Award-winning reporter Melissa Navas will leave The Oregonian to join Multnomah County's communications staff in mid-September. She joins a long list of journalists going to work for government PR offices, as WW has shown. Newsroom cutbacks and changing priorities have sent many veteran reporters out of their newsrooms and into the arms of public agencies
. Our May investigation
found that eight local public agencies employed more than 90 communication officials at an annual cost of $7 million. (See "Giving Us Flack," WW
, May 25, 2011.) Most recently, KGW reporter Randy
Neves went to work as the Portland Office of Emergency Management's public information
Navas, widely respected by her peers at The O
, won awards for an investigation into Oregon's troubled system for disciplining bad teachers, and, just recently, for her outstanding stories
while covering health care. Recently, the paper had her doing "hyperlocal" coverage in North Portland. Navas declined to talk about her departure; her last day will be Aug. 30.
In June, WW
reported that Julie Sullivan, one of The Oregonian's most respected journalists, was joining the county as a spokesperson. In April, WW's managing news editor Hank Stern, also a former Oregonian reporter, left to do the same. Their boss, communications director David Austin, is a former Oregonian reporter as well.