Friday the 13th turned out to be a bad day for those of us who still love newspapers and wish for an improvement in the medium’s constant decline.
The Medford (Ore.) Mail-Tribune signed off for the final time this past Friday, ending an era of great journalism in the southern Oregon community.
The news came earlier in the week from the newspaper’s owners, who delivered a terse announcement that the paper would cease publishing.
The Mail-Tribune used to be one of the state’s great mid-sized newspapers. I remember competing against that paper when I worked for a small suburban daily paper in Oregon City. The Mail-Tribune consistently scored well in statewide contests measuring papers’ journalistic quality.
This one hurts in a way I cannot quite grasp. I never lived in Medford. I passed through there many times over the years I lived in Oregon, where I was born and reared. I once crashed my dad’s car there while carrying my wife and two small sons, but … well, that’s another story.
Medford now has no newspaper to chronicle its story, to keep residents informed about the Boy and Girl Scouts, the 4-H clubs and, yes, about the hard news that occasionally rocks communities such as Medford.
The media landscape continues to evolve in ways none of us imagined when we pursued our print journalism craft oh, those many years ago. The change has claimed many victims over the years. More victims will fall, of that I am absolutely certain.
Still, I know I don’t speak just for myself when I express sadness when a once-formidable newspaper simply calls it quits.