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The Oregonian is the major daily newspaper in Portland, Oregon. It is the oldest continuously published newspaper on the West Coast of the United States, founded as a weekly by Thomas J. Dryer on December 4, 1850. It is the largest newspaper in Oregon by circulation.
The Oregonian focuses its content on the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area but is available in most parts of Oregon.
- 1850 Founded as the Weekly Oregonian
- 1861 The Oregonian's ownership passes to Henry Pittock in settlement of back wages, and begins publishing on a daily basis.
- 1881 The Sunday Oregonian is first published. The Oregonian became known as the voice of business-oriented Republicans in an age when each main point of view was represented by a Portland daily.
- 1922 The Oregonian puts KGW, one of Portland's first radio stations, on the air. It sells the station in the late 1940s.
- 1939 A Pulitzer Prize for editorial reporting is awarded to Ronald G. Callvert, associate editor.
- 1950 The paper is bought by Samuel Irving Newhouse, Sr., founder of the publishing dynasty Advance Publications. The $5.6 million sale price was the largest for a single newspaper up to that time.
- 1953 KOIN-TV, Portland's first VHF television station, signs on, with the Oregonian as majority owner. It had bought KOIN-AM-FM in the late 1940s after selling off KGW.
- 1957 Staff writers William Lambert and Wallace Turner win the Pulitzer Prize for local news reporting on vice and political corruption in Portland involving municipal officials and Teamsters.
- 1959 Bitter and violent five-year strike begins November 10, during which union workers publish their own weekly, then daily, The Portland Reporter. Wallace Turner refuses to cross picket lines and is hired as West Coast Correspondent for the New York Times.
- 1961 Newhouse buys the Oregon Journal, Portland's afternoon daily newspaper. Production and business operations of the two newspapers are consolidated in The Oregonian's building; their editorial staffs remain separate.
- 1977 As part of a larger corporate plan to exit broadcasting, the Oregonian sells off KOIN-AM-FM-TV.
- 1979 S. I. Newhouse dies. He turns over the operation of his company to his sons. Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr. takes responsibility for the magazines, and Donald Newhouse takes over the newspapers.
- 1982 The Oregon Journal is shut down after declining advertising revenues, and "incorporated" into The Oregonian.
- 1989 The paper orders its delivery trucks to return most copies of a Sunday edition because an article told readers how to sell their homes without a real estate broker. The editor responsible for the story was demoted. The Wall Street Journal cited the incident in 1992 as an example of how papers soften business coverage to appease advertisers.
- 1992 The paper endorses Bill Clinton for President of the United States, the first time in its history that it has endorsed a Democrat for president.
- 1993 Robert M. Landauer, then the paper's editorial page editor, is a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing for "a bold campaign to defuse myths and prejudice promoted by an anti-homosexual constitutional amendment, which was subsequently defeated," according to the Pulitzer judges.
- 1993 The Oregonian becomes the subject of national coverage due to the fact that it was the Washington Post which broke the story of inappropriate sexual advances which led to the resignation of Oregon United States Senator Bob Packwood four years later. This prompts some to joke, "If it matters to Oregonians, it's in the Washington Post" (a twist on a slogan heard in advertisements for The Oregonian).
- 1993 Newhouse appoints a new editor for the paper, Sandra Rowe, who relocates from a Virginia newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot.
- 1999 The paper wins two Overseas Press Club awards, for business and human rights reporting.
- 1999 The Columbia Journalism Review poll of editors ranks The Oregonian as number 12 in the list of "America's Best Newspapers" and the best of the papers owned by the Newhouse family.
Turn of the Century
- 2000 The Oregonian is a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Reporting for its comprehensive coverage of an environmental disaster created when the New Carissa, a freighter that carried nearly 400,000 gallons of heavy fuel, ran aground February 4, 1999, north of Coos Bay. The articles detailed "how fumbling efforts of official agencies failed to contain the far-reaching damage," according to the Pulitzer jury.
- 2000 Staff reporters Brent Walth and Alex Pulaski are finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Writing for their series on political influences in pesticide regulation.
- 2001 The paper wins the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, for its "detailed and unflinching examination of systematic problems within the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, including harsh treatment of foreign nationals and other widespread abuses, which prompted various reforms." In addition, staff writer Tom Hallman Jr. wins the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for a series, The Boy Behind the Mask, on a teen with a facial deformity.
- 2003 Music critic David Stabler is a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for "his sensitive, sometimes surprising chronicle of a teenage prodigy's struggle with a musical talent that proved to be both a gift and a problem," according to the Pulitzer judges.
- 2004 The paper endorses John Kerry for President of the United States--only the second time that the paper has endorsed a Democrat for president.
- 2005 Staff reporters Steve Suo and Erin Hoover Barnett are finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for "their groundbreaking reports on the failure to curtail the growing illicit use of methamphetamines," according to the Pulitzer jury.
- 2006 Editorial writers Doug Bates and Rick Attig win the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for their editorials on the conditions at the Oregon State Hospital.
Allegations of bias
- The Oregonian was founded by businessmen whose specific goal was to establish a Republican Party newspaper. It is therefore unsurprising that throughout its history it has been subject to charges of anti-labor, pro-corporate Republican bias, (dead link) nor that it has endorsed only two Democratic Party candidates for President of the United States in over one hundred forty years: in 1992 and 2004.
- In 2004 the paper faced criticism after a headline characterized a 1970s sexual relationship between then-mayor Neil Goldschmidt and a 14-year old girl as an "affair" rather than statutory rape.
- As of 2006, The Oregonian chooses not to have an accredited member of the Organization of News Ombudsmen (also known as a public editor) on its staff, whose traditonal job is to point out inaccuracies or bias with regular editorials as well as maintaining a general standard of journalism ethics at the paper. (dead link)
- The Oregonian on Wikipedia
- Official website
- A Brief History of Newspaper Publishing in Oregon at University of Oregon Libraries
- The Oregonion A regularly updated spoof on The Oregonian which commenced publication in 2006.