The Oregonian has lost another state politics reporter. Yuxing Zheng is leaving the paper to work as a spokeswoman for Metro.
Zheng, 29, covered the state legislature and Gov. John Kitzhaber's office. Metro, the regional planning agency, internally announced Zheng's hiring this morning as "the new content and storytelling guru for Metro's parks, trails and natural areas work."
The departure of Zheng is the latest in a wave of newsroom defections from the state's largest paper—she's the fourth staffer to leave in less than two weeks. It also suggests the paper continues to have trouble retaining young talent and minority voices in the newsroom, as it enforces steep new quotas for feeding the website.
Her leaving also continues the rapid devastation of The Oregonian's state politics desk. Reporters Christian Gaston and Harry Esteve left the desk earlier this year. That leaves Jeff Mapes as the sole veteran of the state politics team.
Zheng could not be immediately reached for comment. Here is the internal announcement from Metro communications supervisor Laura Oppenheimer Odom.
Iâm pleased to announce that Yuxing Zheng will start work Aug. 18 as the new content and storytelling guru for Metroâs parks, trails and natural areas work. Yuxing brings deep writing and editing expertise from her seven years at The Oregonian, most recently as a state politics reporter. The transition to Metro combines Yuxingâs professional background with her personal passions for nature, public service and engaging diverse communities â deeply rooted in her own story. Yuxing recounts moving from China to Missoula, Montana, as a 5-year-old and finding solace in the forests of the Rocky Mountains, where she accompanied her dad on research trips while he studied forest science and ecology. Yuxing developed an interest in journalism as a high school student, when she attended a summer institute for diverse and low-income teenagers. Itâs fitting that she went on to become the director of that program, organizing a weeklong summer camp every year at Oregon State University. Please welcome Yuxing as she brings her stellar writing, editing and leadership skills to our work. She will serve as the editor of Our Big Backyard, web and social media strategist and all-around storytelling expert, as well as the direct point person for parks operations, natural areas acquisition, science, land management and cemeteries work groups.