There are new signs that the owners of The Oregonian are moving forward with plans to end daily publication of the state's biggest newspaper.
On May 17, the Oregonian Publishing Co. filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for protection of a new brand name: Oregonian Media Group.
For the employees of the state's biggest newspaper—and anyone concerned by the paper's already weakened state—this is an ominous move.
Advance Publications, the newspaper's owner, established a very similar sounding brand name, NOLA Media Group, in New Orleans when it took that city's once-great newspaper, the Times-Picayune, and turned it into a three-day-a-week publication.
Last year, Advance created the Alabama Media Group when it ended daily publications of three newspapers there. It created the Syracuse Media Group in New York state when it ended daily publication of the Post-Standard there.
And in April, Advanced created another similar brand, the Northeast Ohio Media Group, around the Cleveland Plain Dealer, another of its newspapers. The Plain Dealer will publish seven days a week but deliver to subscribers only three of those days. (Plans for the The Oregonian to follow a similar model have been discussed, but no announcement has been made public.)
UPDATE, 5:15 pm: The Oregonian's publisher, N. Christian Anderson III, has replied to WW's question whether Oregonian Media Group is a sign of imminent change at the paper.
"We may use Oregonian Media Group in the future to reflect the growing portfolio of print and digital products we offer consumers and advertisers," Anderson writes. "I don't have anything more definitive to share at this time."
UPDATE, June 24: The Oregonian announced on June 20 that it will continue publishing seven days a week, but reduce its home deliveries to four days a week. Read full coverage here.