Two reporters familiar to readers of The Oregonian are leaving the paper.
The departures of Kimberly A.C. Wilson, a general assignment reporter, and Christian Gaston, who covers the Legislature and state politics, come on the heels of a new Oregonian management policy that rewards reporters for the quantity, rather than the quality, of their online output.
Wilson, 46, joined The Oregonian in 2004 from the Baltimore Sun, where she was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The newspaper sent her to Haiti in 2010 and 2011 for an extended series on the aftermath of that country's earthquake.
A description of her duties at the O she posted on her Linked-In page includes this:
I'm presently assigned to The Oregonian's online breaking news team, where I shoot and edit video, report and update real-time breaking news, aggregate regional news in a daily Northwest Headlines blog and even take the random photograph for the Web. My job offers a portal to the future of newspapers -- and that's why I love it!
Wilson's leaving to become director of communications for the Meyer Memorial Trust, she told WW.
She says she's excited about the change and will begin working at Meyer at the end of April.
The move is surprising in that he only joined the daily in November 2012 but quickly established himself as a rising star. Gaston, 31, previously worked as a reporter and editor at the Forest Grove News Times, and has long been a leader in the Oregon Society of Professional Journalists. (He's also a former intern at WW.)
John Schrag, who was Gaston's boss in Forest Grove, says he's disappointed to see Gaston leave the industry.
"He was very excited when he went to The Oregonian," Schrag says. "I don’t know the details of why he left but I think that had he felt his future was bright there, he wouldn’t have jumped."
Gaston says in his new job he will be helping Kitzhaber form a policy agenda for the governor's current re-election campaign and what he hopes will be his fourth term. Gaston says the opportunity to work with Kitzhaber, rather than any changes at The Oregonian, led to his departure."I’ve been looking at making this kind of shift for a long time and this was a great opportunity to do it," Gaston says.