October 3rd, 2012 7:30 am | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: Media, PDX News

The Oregonian Confirms It Will Launch Leader in Forest Grove

oregonian boxPhoto by Aaron Mesh
The Oregonian confirmed Tuesday it will start a second newspaper in Forest Grove, a Washington County town of 22,000. As WW reported last week, the expansion means war between two of the state's largest media companies.

The new weekly paper, called the Forest Grove Leader, will compete with the Forest Grove News-Times—the latest chapter in a decade-long blood feud between The Oregonian and Pamplin Group.

Pamplin announced the Hillsboro Tribune last month, a paper to compete with the Argus, which is owned by The Oregonian's parent company and is now run by the newspaper's staff. John Schrag, the publisher of both News-Times papers, has decried The Oregonian's move as "payback publishing."

Oregonian publisher N. Christian Anderson III on Tuesday afternoon released a statement promising that the Leader will serve 16,000 households, as opposed to the News-Times' 3,096 delivery homes.

"Forest Grove’s new newspaper is a logical extension of our coverage of western Washington County in the twice-weekly Argus," Anderson said. "Now we can offer more local-local news and serve advertisers who desire a targeted audience for their goods and services."

Mark Garber, the president of Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers, says his company isn't sweating it.

"The Forest Grove News-Times has been in Forest Grove for 125 years," Garber tells WW, "so we're not too concerned about our standing in the community or our ongoing viability."

Garber says that The Oregonian adding another paper is "along the lines of fiddling while Rome burns. They've obviously got some deep problems over there, and I think they'd be worried about those, instead of starting up new papers."

The expansion comes although The Oregonian's Sunday print circulation numbers have plummeted since 2002, from 425,498 to 285,587 papers. The widespread belief within the newsroom is that the paper's owners, Advance Publications, is preparing to reduce print days to fewer than seven days a week.
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