Oregonian Afflilation: Community-based or Rightwing?
MyEugene was recently selected to partner with The Oregonian – the largest news organization in the Pacific Northwest – for a one-year pilot program that is sponsored by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at American University, a non-profit organization funded with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to spearhead the project.
Which is pretty awesome.
Another partner is the excellent source of bike info the BikePortland Blog.
But this week The O announced some more partners, and some of those, according to Our Oregon, an economic and social fairness nonprofit, unlike MyEugene, violate The Oregonian's own news standards.
Our Oregon writes on its blog that:
… the Oregon Capitol News is a project of Cascade Policy Institute, a right-wing think tank that pushes for "free market" solutions. That typically means they advocate against environmental regulations, for the privatization of schools, and against tax increases, particularly on corporations and the rich. Recently, Cascade Policy Institute has made a name for itself politically by opposing legislative efforts to ban Bisphenol-A in baby bottles.
The Oregonian has rules for news organizations that apply to by local and hyperlocal sources of news posted here.
Sites that do not qualify include:
tes that do not qualify include:
• Organs for institutions such as government agencies, political parties, non-profits.
• Public relations sites connected with another business
• Personal or opinion blogs
• Sites that might otherwise qualify, but are not owner operated
For example, another new hyperlocal news source cropping up in Eugene featuring the ever popular weather guy Tim Chuey is Eugene Daily News, which has news stories of its own, but also sometimes functions as an aggregator when it pulls together headlines and stories from other sources as it does on this link.
Our Oregon focuses on the fact that Oregon Capitol News is described as "A Project of Cascade Policy Institute" and thus is an organ for an institution. In The Oregonian's story it describes it as "the Cascade Policy Institute’s independent reporting project."
In that same press release, North Coast Oregon is added as one of the new news sites. That site was the source of a lot of pro-liquified natural gas propaganda and attacks on those who oppose LNG. For more on LNG in Oregon, go to EW's May 2010 story on the issue.
North Coast Oregon went from an unfunded blog to a "news" source running "investigative" stories during the height of the LNG battle. Now that the hotly contested Bradwood Landing LNG terminal is no longer an issue, the "investigative" pieces have disappeared.
Our Oregon points the finger for picking up rightwing funded news sources as local partners at N. Christian Anderson III the new publisher, who Our Oregon says has a history with rightwing publications. Read Willamette Week's take on Anderson.
Are The Oregonian's efforts to go hyperlocal leading it to be a less credible news source?
EW is not an "objective" news source. It's advocacy journalism — reporting with a point of view. It's even in our mission statement (see below).
EW Mission Statement
Eugene Weekly serves the Eugene-Springfield and broader community with zest, passion and attitude as an alternative to the mainstream media. We proudly admit to practicing advocacy journalism with a point of view. The reality is that most media practices advocacy journalism with a point of view, but the owners and editors deny it. It's a big difference that we admit to our biases.
We are a watchdog for those institutions and leaders in all sectors who are protected by the traditional media, and we boldly challenge prevailing wisdom and authority. We are aligned with the progressive contingent of the community but are unafraid to take a strong independent stand. We support and celebrate unfettered artistic expression and the lively, free interchange of political and social ideas and opinions. We provide the most comprehensive and detailed guide to what’s really happening in the community, from backroom politics to leisure and cultural activities. We seek to provide a financially sound work environment for Eugene’s finest and most creative writers, artists and business people.