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Friday, May 18, 2012

What's up with Pamplin sites' opinion sections?

A reader notes that the opinion sections of several of the Pamplin-owned community newspaper websites -- including the editorials, guest opinions, and letters -- have disappeared. The papers affected are the Lake Oswego Review, the West Linn Tidings, and the Sherwood Gazette. This also eliminates online reader responses to the columns.

Without the commentary and analysis contained under the "Opinion" tab, the small town news reported by these sites is a lot less interesting and informative. It's not a group-wide problem -- the opinion section of the Trib is up and running fine. Does anybody know whether this change is intentional, permanent, or both?

Comments (9)

This is just a guess, but one of my clients is a small weekly newspaper. It has a full-service website, but hardly anybody ever comments on any of the stories or opinions.

Why offer a service if no one uses it? That may be the thinking behind this move. Don't know if it is a money-saver.

I had been thinking of alerting you to this, so glad someone finally did. I think it's just a very transparent attempt to boost subscriptions. They claim that the paper is "upgrading" the site so during the "transition," the online version won't have everything that the paper version provides. Well, that's always been the case and the only section that's missing is the Opinion section.

Plus, what other news website has had to totally close down their online opinion section - or any major section, for that matter, just because they're upgrading their website? The Review suggests that you're missing much more, which is doubtful.

As soon as this happened (about six weeks ago), the paper version magically began to appear in my mailbox. After the first two, the paper included a "solicitation" envelope (dream on). Just finished reading through the latest "free" paper.

Not sure if there's any correlation, but at the end of March under the latest article about the Gary Buford incident and trial date, I posted comnments that took issue with all the City/Jack Hoffman/Judi Hammerstad supporters who were posting unfounded and just vicious insults at Mr. Buford. One of these geniuses responded to my comments by posting a phony blog containing slanderous and defamatory assertions supposedly written by me and then signed my name to it. In an attempt to discredit me, the phony blog had me saying that I was going to take a shotgun to the Clackamas County Court House and bust Gary Buford out of jail and also had me saying that I am a paranoid schizophrenic (I'm not, nor have I ever had any mental illness). The entire blog was written to sound as if it was written by an incoherant lunatic, supposedly me.

Immediately, and for days afterward, other City supporters eagerly jumped on the band wagon to further state that I should be reported to the police for making threats, etc., etc. After the initial impersonation post, I contacted Martin Forbes, Editor of the Review, told him about the phony/slanderous/defamatory blog post and had him remove it. For days afterward, I had to repeatedly contact him to have the abusive follow-up posts deleted. He never made any effort to monitor the site.

This happened, no doubt, because I have been a very vocal opponent of the rail mafia corruption running our town (and the so-called Sensitive Lands private property overlays (which are just a mitigation land grab to use in exchange for the destruction of natural resources caused by development of the Foothills district, including the streetcar when that ridiculous idea resurfaces).

Anyway, I bring this up because things in LO have deteriorated to the point where someone posted slanderous and defamatory comments impersonating me and, even though the post was under a news article, the OP section is usually where intense heat "flares up." It makes me wonder if this incident may have contributed to the sudden April disappearance of the Opinion section from the LO Review and the West Linn Tidings (people in WL were also starting to make noise in the LO OP section because they are furious about how the LO-Tigard Water System partnership is impacting WL - another brilliant Judi Hammerstad decision). Pamplin may have wanted things to cool down before they found themselves in the middle of a defamation lawsuit.

Not sure how Sherwood fits into this scenario, but...

JoWriter: That's not the case with the LO Review. The online Opinion section is heavily used and easily the most popular section in the paper. I believe that is precisely why The Review has removed it from their website - to make people have to subscribe or buy the paper at the store.

No other section would do the trick. The Oregonian provides local news, and few people would subscribe to or buy the paper just for the "Features" or "Sustainability" sections.

"I think it's just a very transparent attempt to boost subscriptions."

Yes, best case, that's all it is.
Worst case, this comes during the May primary elections, L.O.'s budget committee meetings, and our Mayor's ill-fated attempt to expand the UGB. And, the frequent posters to the opinion section are of the Clackistani persuasion, which I suspect they are trying to squelch.

The Pamplin press is part of the poltical fabric of these communities and can't survive without access to city hall. The editor(s) can only withstand so much controversy. I'm positive that shutting down the public forums was meant to appease the powers that be.

Anyone who subscribes to the Pamplin papers should expect very little. Removing a source of REAL community news is short sighted. The world is changing and Pamplin is backpeding into oblivion. NOT to be discussed in depth: Lake Oswego mayor and council's involvement with Williams & Dame and their rape of LO and its citizens. West Linn has a lot to be worried about with LO on its doorstep scheming about how to get the LO / Tigard water treatment plant expanded in order to put 6,000 new homes in Stafford. It's a developers dream team, but WL is not ammused. I assume Sherwood is ground zero for light rail expansion. The common thread may just be .... The rail & developer mafia. Look for broken knee caps at Pamplin headquarters if Opinions ever start to flow again.

L.O. Resident: Yes, I agree and have also wondered if the Opinion section will be missing through the November elections.

Nolo: Agree with most everything you said. Not sure how much the "world" is changing as it relates to what's going on in the Portland metro area, but surely it appears as though more local people are beginning to question the blatant corruption and collusion surrounding their politicians and "urban renewal," light rail, Tri-Met, Metro, and favored developers. God, could not believe that photo of Homer Willians standing right behind Charlie Hales on election night.

Thanks for reminding me about the Sherwood and light rail connection. It's just so disgusting to think that Pamplin press would collude with Judi Hammerstad, Jack Hoffman, and the other rail mafia members by agreeing to pull the Opinion section from their website to squelch opposing voices, but seriously, nothing would surprise me anymore when it comes to these people or the LO Review's editor.

Hope it backfires and more people drop their subscription.

Reality-based liberal, how did you learn of the LO plan to urbanize Stafford on the current LO taxpayer's dime? This is a huge story! This has been in the works for years! Why has NOTHING been said about it in either the O or the LOR? Will the WW take up the challenge of digging into this extremely smelly can of worms? This isn't just about LO. The tentacles of this animal reach into many offices and industries and government offices.

Bolo: I think you're actually responding to the post by "Nolo."

I think the Sherwood bit goes beyond the light rail issue. Crap's been hitting the fan in that town on lots of other things, and it'll continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The stories on those incidents tended to attract a lot of attention and comments and I have to wonder how much pull the city (and in particular, the police department) has with ol' Pampy. To my knowledge, he lives not far from there.

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