The Oregonian Lays Off More Reporters, Including Its Music Critic

"The mission of our newsroom and our company remains unchanged," editor Mark Katches wrote in a staff memo.

Portland's shrinking newspaper, The Oregonian, laid off more reporters this morning.

According to a memo sent out to staff by editor Mark Katches, the layoffs will "affect fewer than 10 people."

Four of the "fewer than 10" are veteran sports reporter Mike Tokito, sports writers Billy Gates and Pete Christopher, and music critic David Greenwald.

Katches did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but in a memo to staff obtained by WW, he called this "a painful day."

"The notification process has been completed," Katches wrote. "The changes announced today help position our resilient newsroom and our company for the future."

WW has been unable to confirm the identity of other reporters, but has confirmed that the paper's pop music critic, David Greenwald, is among them. Greenwald declined to comment.

This will likely leave Portland—a city which considers live music to be part of its DNA—without a full-time music critic to file show reviews for, say, sold-out country concerts at the Moda Center. Those shows are now are likely to now go without coverage, given that the audience doesn't align well with WW and other papers in town.

It may seem trivial, but, when country music doesn't get covered by the local daily, this pushes more people out of the audience for local mainstream media. This, in turn, furthers the type of audience splintering that's been blamed for the rise of Trumpism.

"The mission of our newsroom and our company remains unchanged," Katches wrote. "We'll continue to deliver essential news, enterprise and high-impact watchdog reporting to readers and viewers who need credible and reliable sources of news more than ever."

The Oregonian is struggling to make money with its print product, but is doing well online. The O's highly clickable content has made it the most-read site in the state, and they're growing at a rapid rate as operations like Willamette Week and Oregon Public Broadcasting work to keep pace, and as smaller companies like the Portland Mercury and Portland Tribune struggle to find an audience online.

Katches pointed this out in his memo.

"We've made significant strides as a company. Our audience is growing and is deeply engaged with the news content we produce," Katches wrote. "We set a company record for digital revenue in March, and that momentum remains solid."

As long as that momentum continues, Oregonian writers like Lizzy Acker and John Canzano will be the superstars, working up highly clickable content like a brutal takedown of the Blazers culture, Acker's monthlong series about her tattoos and listicles like "19 things we miss from Old Portland."

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