Kris Kodrich, a Colorado State journalism prof, spent six weeks toiling in the Big O's newsroom and studying the inner workings of the paper - and had some thoughts after it was all over:
Readers should be surprised regularly on Page One with both important AND interesting local news stories, well-written ones resulting in chuckles and chortles. The Portland area is a fascinating place -- wonderfully eclectic, eccentric and entertaining -- yet that's not consistently reflected in The Oregonian's news coverage.
Government stories? Borrrring
A few surprises lurked in the pages: Stories about the odd characters inhabiting the world of cable-access television, the strange lack of children in the Pearl District, the offbeat roadside attractions around the state and the sad death of a homeless man hit by a stray bullet in a downtown shooting. All great stories, yet none was on Page One.
Instead, government process stories dominate. My first day on the job, the top Page One headline was "Rifts in Legislature leave goals in political graveyard." The top headline on Page One nearly six weeks later? "Deal in hand; Votes in air." I don't exactly know what that headline means, but I do know the Legislature was winding down its session -- and dominating coverage -- for much of the summer.
Is he right? Does the Oregonian cover too much government and politics -- or not enough? Or, not well enough?