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Eagle Newspapers

Bike replaced makes for happy ending!

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

Leo Garcia, a newspaper carrier for Eagle’s Daily Sun News publication in Sunnyside, Washington, received a pleasant surprise this past July 12th!

Each weekday, Leo rides his bike to the newspaper office to pick up his papers and within those few minutes that Friday his bike was stolen.

When a longtime subscriber and customer overheard what happened, she and her husband immediately went out to replace the stolen bike. The couple wanted to remain anonymous, but delivered it that same day to the office.

Now there’s a news story with a happy ending!

Dallas sports editor is SPJ Rookie of the Year

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

She’s Rookie of the Year!

Nicole Watkins, sports editor at the Polk County Itemizer-Observer, was presented the 2013 Rookie of the Year award by the Oregon/Southwest Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) during a May 18 banquet in Portland.

This is one of the two most prestigious individual awards that the regional SPJ chapter hands out annually. The award is presented to a journalist who, during 2012, completed their first full year of fulltime employment in the profession. Judging criteria includes contributions the journalist made to the profession during the year.

Nicole has been the I-O’s sports editor since December 2011.

The Itemizer-Observer also received four awards for the six entries it submitted in the regional SPJ non-daily publication contest. Competing in the under 8,000 circulation publication division, the I-O placed second in overall General Excellence. This marks the third time in the past four years the newspaper has received either first place or second place General Excellence recognition from the organization.

Watkins also placed first in Best Sports News for her story “Doing More With Less: Is WOU’s athletic department fighting an uphill battle based on funding?” and second for Best Column Writing.  And former I-O reporter Craig Coleman received second place for Best Business Feature Writing for his story on LongBoard-Larry titled “Cruisin’: Independence longboard maker rides wave of growth.”

Sale of central Oregon operations completes transaction

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

Denny Smith, chairman of the board of Eagle Newspapers, said, “I am proud to have been the owner of Prineville Central Oregonian and Central Oregon Press for the past 44 years.”  Smith went on to say, “I’m especially proud of our employees past and present and all they have accomplished to provide readers of Crook County a quality newspaper.   Their loyal dedication to their community journalism mission and Eagle Newspapers has always been appreciated.   Our employees have played an important role in the lives of people in the Crook County area of central Oregon.”

The Central Oregonian was Smith’s first purchase of a newspaper operation, after the death of his father, Elmo, as Chairman of the Board of Eagle Newspapers in September 1969.  Denny had accompanied his father in 1948 when Eagle Newspapers purchased the Madras Pioneer.

Smith said it just made sense to sell Prineville operations to Pamplin Media Group.  Earlier this year PMG bought the Madras Pioneer, in a six newspaper purchase and it just made sense strategically for Pamplin Media Group to also own the Central Oregonian and the press operation in Prineville.  Finalizing the Prineville operations piece brings to completion the sales transaction that was begun this past January.

Tom Lanctot, President of Eagle Newspapers said, “Pamplin Media Group is a quality newspaper company and this purchase strengthens their presence in central Oregon. PMG’s commitment to quality community journalism mirrors Eagle’s longtime commitment to journalism and service.  Bob Pamplin, Jr. owner of Pamplin Media Group is passionate about community journalism and service to the communities in which they publish.”  He went on to say, “Eagle Newspapers has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Pamplin Media Group.  We have been their printer for many of their products for many years.” 

Smith added, “The sale of Prineville operation only strengthens our relationship.” 

Giving back to the community

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

With the 2013 contributions announced recently, the Moneysaver – Lewiston, Idaho, has awarded 165 grants to cities, service groups and non-profit organizations within its distribution area. 

Publisher Diane Johnson says “Recognizing our success over the last three decades is a result of the support of our readers. The Moneysaver’s Community Appreciation Grants are our way of giving something back to the communities.” 

Each year groups are invited to complete Moneysaver grant applications, which are judged by three individuals, who are involved in their communities and are not associated with the Moneysaver or Eagle Newspapers, Inc. The three review each application and meet together to decide the recipients. 

This year 12 grants were awarded. Winners were 

1. Spay & Neuter Clinic, Moscow, ID: Neuter cats

2. Repair tennis courts in Potlatch, ID

3. Grangeville (Idaho) Elks: Distribute dictionaries to ten schools

4. Volunteer Fire Department, Kamiah, ID: Firefighting equipment

5. Willow Center, Lewiston ID: Camp Erin for grieving children

6. Quick response unit in Kooskia, ID: Rescue equipment

7. Interlink, Inc, Clarkston, WA: Transportation for seniors

8. Homes of Hope, Clarkston WA: Car seats for foster parents

9. Community Garden, Clarkston, WA: Community garden for Asotin County Food Bank

10. Camas Prairie Food Bank, Grangeville, ID: Community Garden for food bank

11. Community Action Center, Colton, WA: Community garden for food assistance

12. Baker-Lind Post 3913 VFW, Kendrick, ID: Flags on veterans’ gravesites

Resignation brings end to long newspaper career

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

Northwest Boomer and Senior News – Salem, OR.

From the time she was a teenage proof carrier for the Salem daily newspapers, Trude Crow McMillin has been involved with all aspects of newspaper publishing.  Now, she is hanging up that hat for retirement with her husband, Craig, on 2-1/2 acres east of Salem, where there are many projects she’s eager to begin. She doesn’t use the word retirement. “I quit. Old people retire,” she says with a grin. Trude, who has been editor of NW Boomer & Senior News for 13-1/2 years, is turning that job over to Michelle Te.

Trude, the late Bob Schoenkopf, Pam Cooley and Ron Houck came to Eagle officials in 1999 with the remains of what was once a thriving Senior News Monthly.  It had been purchased by a group from California in 1995, and by the time they left in 1998 the newspaper was in shambles.  The team knew their talents and a proven client base—advertisers and readers—needed new direction and backing. The rest is history. Pam remains on the NWBoomer & Senior News staff, which now is headed by David Thouvenel.

The proof carrier for the Salem dailies was 19 when she went on to do ad sales, becoming the youngest salesperson ever. She also did copy writing and dummies for the newspapers while attending college.  After her first marriage, the couple went on to own weekly newspapers in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. At other points in her life, Trude worked at the Seattle Times and the Oregonian.

Trude anticipates trading time on-the-job for more time with her daughters and grandson.

Welcome Back!

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

Northwest Boomer and Senior News, Salem, OR.

It’s been here and back again for Michelle Te. 

As editor of the Wilsonville Spokesman for more than five years, Michelle had continued her long employment with Eagle Newspapers. However, when owner Denny Smith sold six Eagle papers to Pamplin Media Group on Jan. 1, Michelle and her staff became part of the new company. Subsequently, they even moved offices from Canby to Lake Oswego where they were grouped with the West Linn Tidings and Lake Oswego Review under publisher J. Brian Monihan. 

While the move to Lake Oswego brought several opportunities for Michelle, it did put her much farther away from her Woodburn home and her four busy children. So when the opportunity came up to apply for a managing editor position at NW Boomer & Senior News, it was one she couldn’t pass up. “I felt like all of the experience I’d gained up to this point really led me in the direction of managing a news magazine such as this,” she said. “Many years of reporting, writing and editing for Woodburn and Wilsonville gave me a solid background in news, features and design. I’m excited to bring that together here.” 

Michelle was hired by publisher David Thouvenel to replace Trude McMillin, who has been editor for more than 20 years and was ready to hand over the reins to someone else. “I am excited to have a long-time Eagle professional on our team,” David said. “I first met Michelle while helping put together some website software for Eagle.  Michelle was the top candidate of more than 35 resumes we received from across the nation. It is quite exciting to know Eagle has professionals that match up well with high-quality candidates from around the country. Michelle was the solid choice of an internal team of NW Boomer & Senior News staff members,” David added. 

And that brought Michelle back to Eagle Newspapers, a company where she has worked for the past 15 years—minus three months with Pamplin.  “Pamplin is a great company, but I’m happy to be working for Eagle Newspapers again,” Michelle said. “I’ve been treated very well in this company and appreciate the camaraderie and professionalism that exists here.”

As editor of NW Boomer & Senior News, Michelle is responsible for producing four regional editions that are distributed free from Portland to Eugene, as well as on the Oregon Coast, producing both fun and important stories that may be of interest to her audience. She’s currently looking to expand her cadre of freelance writers and photographers. Anyone interested should drop her a note

Introducing Eagle’s new Digital Media Director

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

Eagle Newspapers – Salem, OR.

When Ben McCarty, director of Digital Media for Eagle Newspapers, introduced himself and the newly-created position via email to the sites April 23, he boiled it down to: “I’m here to see that reporters have more time to report, sales people have more time to sell and production folks have more time to do production things.”

And he knows whereof he speaks. For the past six and a half years Ben has worked for the Hood River News as sports editor, general assignment reporter and multimedia producer. In the past nine months, Ben has been active in the transition to ePublishing while maintaining a full-time reporting and news editing position at the newspaper.

Ben will continue to work with the tech savvy David Arndt, Eagle Publishing Technology director, as they transition the websites in three states to ePublishing. He also will have David’s support as he executes projects as determined by each publisher.

“On my end,” Ben wrote in his announcement email, “I have some projects, both long-and short term. I’ll be researching and working to help us improve how we do things in the digital sphere and to do them in a unified and cohesive manner. From your end, here are some of the things I am available to do: edit and post video and photos, assist in social media, build and post online ads, help support the roll out of your new sites as they go live, coordinate communication between properties for web projects and do some basic technical trouble shooting. If you already have a strong multimedia and online presence, that is terrific and I will support you however I can. If not, I’m here to do whatever I can to help.”

“With the pace of change in the digital realm,” Ben continues, “it is important to have a common and quickly executable strategy.” He put it in historical perspective: 

It took nearly 500 years from the invention of the printing press to the invention of a powerful computer which occupied an entire room, 30 years from the room-size computer to the PC, 20 years from the PC to the full-fledged Internet age, five years from thatfor WIFI to become readily available and about three years from that to the launch of the iPhone.

“I know,” Ben adds, “that not all of your properties have the time or resources to commit to making these things happen individually. It can be hard to find enough time in the day to get tasks done when one person is serving as a reporter/photographer/print designer/web editor. I can personally attest that it is possible to write notes, shoot video, take photos and send out Twitter updates all at the same time. But once you get back to the office, putting that video together, writing the story and editing the photos can consume the better part of the day. That’s where I can help.”

From Joe Petshow – Vice President, ENI – Publisher, Hood River News & Columbia Gorge Press:   “As director of digital media, Ben will work for all Eagle properties, overseeing the content on their websites—among other things. One of Ben’s charges is to enhance what we’re doing online, whether it’s news, advertising, social media or marketing. Ben was the lead person in Hood River for all the things we did online for many years. It’s a bonus for all of the Eagle properties that have websites to have someone with Ben’s background working for us.”

Eagle Newspapers Inc. sells six Oregon community publications

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

SALEM – Eagle Newspapers Inc., announced the sale today of six of its weekly newspapers to Oregon Publications Corporation. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The newspapers involved are the Woodburn Independent, Canby Herald, Newberg Graphic, Wilsonville Spokesman, Molalla Pioneer and Madras Pioneer. 

Eagle Newspapers is owned by former U.S. congressman Denny Smith. Oregon Publications Corp., more commonly known as Pamplin Media Group, is owned by businessman and philanthropist Dr. Robert Pamplin Jr.

“This sale is between two great Oregonians, men who share many of the same ideals, including a passion for community journalism and public service,” said ENI President Tom Lanctot. 

Smith has had a lifelong career in printing and publishing, and also served 10 years as a member of Congress. He flew 180 Air Force combat missions in Viet Nam and later was a commercial pilot for Pan American Airlines. He was inducted into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor in 2009. 

Mark Garber, president of Pamplin’s newspaper division, said the purchase of the five Portland-area community newspapers strengthens the company’s presence in the metro area. Pamplin Media Group also owns the Portland Tribune and 17 other weekly newspapers, including ones in Beaverton, Gresham, Tigard, Oregon City and Lake Oswego.

Eagle Newspapers was founded by former Oregon governor Elmo Smith, who along with friend Bill Robinson purchased the Madras Pioneer in 1948. When Elmo Smith died in 1968, son Denny took the reins of the company, which at that time included weekly newspapers in Madras, Hood River and Dallas.

Under Denny’s leadership, the company grew to 25 holdings in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, including dailies in The Dalles and Sunnyside, Wash. The company also owns four press plants, a mailing service and publishes various other specialty publications and phone books. Denny was inducted into the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association Hall of Fame this past summer. The award recognizes those “who have made an outstanding contribution to Oregon newspaper professionalism through community, regional or state service.”

January 8, 2013

And in Conclusion – – Part Three of Eagle’s Story

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

The founder’s wise advice — “Hire good people, treat them as partners,and let them grow” — has been the practice since the beginning. Those are the words of Elmo Smith, who in 1933 borrowed $25 to start a newspaper in Eastern Oregon, which is where the history of Eagle Newspapers began.

The publisher/manager and the employees at each site have the benefits of a large company, but operate in an environment of a small company doing what is best—and works for that business and that community. Corporate control is lean—on purpose—and is mainly restricted to bookkeeping, technology, human resources and capital investments.

From the board of directors to the youngster on the bicycle delivering the newspaper, the extended family of managers, employees and contract workers has been instrumental in the family company’s success.

Recognizing this, Eagle allocates 50 cents of every dollar in sales to employees in wages and benefits. “And those benefits are top of the line,”says Eagle president Tom Lanctot. “Eagle’s self- funded medical insurance has been an excellent health care program and we are proud to have been fortunate to remain self-funded. We believe it has served our employees well for over 20 years.” Eagle also offers a 401k Salary Plus Savings Plan for employees to plan for their retirement. Eagle profits also continue to be invested in the equipment employees need to do their  jobs and safe, pleasant workplaces.

Eagle invests, too, in the communities we serve. Among past grants are major donations toward construction of Newberg’s community hospital and extensive remodeling of Hood River’s public library and Sunnyside Community Hospital. Under the leadership of publishers and managers,Eagle has contributed to many programs in all our communities to help make each a better place to live and work. 

Board of Directors

The family corporation’s extended family includes a working board of directors. Non-family board members are or have been managers at one or more of the sites. Each board members is assigned responsibility for shepherding two or more site managers, developing monthly written reports for the full board. These communication and business links have proved invaluable as an efficient way to monitor activities—a corporate “umbrella” that is vigilant, but not obtrusive.

Many board members also serve on a committee that monitors company-wide activities such as finance, programs, new products and promotions, the 401(k)plan and advertising.

In 2006 when ENI received an Austin Family Business Award of Excellence, the judges wrote they “were impressed with the decentralized nature of the company, the independence given to and faith in site managers, and a working board that works.”

The 2011-12 Board of Directors:

Denny Smith Chairman of the board

Tom Lanctot president and chief operating officer

Nancy Adams publisher, Polk County Itemizer-Observer

Tony Ahern publisher, Madras Pioneer

Bill Cassel vice president, publisher, Canby Herald

Mike Connor general manager, Eagle Web Press

Andy McNab publisher, Idaho County Free Press

Joe Petshow publisher, Hood River News

Marilyn Roth publisher, The Dalles Chronicle

Jim Smith Central Oregonian, past president/retired 

Maggie Smith Hemmer

Second installment of Eagle’s history

By | Eagle Newspaper, News

The March 1979 acquisition of the Hermiston (Ore.) Herald in a stock-for-stock exchange with publisher Jerry Reed represented a pooling of interests. In a similar transaction that fall, the company acquired from Dick Nafsinger the remaining shares of the Hood River News, which had been operating as a subsidiary.

It all prompted a change of the corporate name from BlueMountain Eagle to Eagle Newspapers, Inc. and created a dynamic triumvirate of Denny, Dick and Jerry, who guided the company during a growth period that saw sales double.

The 1980s 

The 1980s were ushered in with the addition of more Washington sites and a crossing of the Snake River into Idaho with the purchase of the Grangeville weekly, the Idaho County Free Press.

The first new Washington holding was the Camas-WashougalPost-Record, which came with a third press plant for the company and created a short-lived, free-distribution publication, the Evergreen Post. (The Camas operation was sold to the Vancouver Columbian in 2005.)

Another Washington weekly, the Sunnyside Sun and its pressplant were purchased in 1984. Three years after entering theYakima Valley market, Eagle Newspapers had its first daily. Tom Lanctot, publisher of Sunnyside’s Daily News, and Eagle executives came to an agreement to merge their two newspapers and press plants into what we know today as the Daily Sun News and Central Washington Press.

Another welcomed Oregon weekly flew into the nest in the mid 1980s—The Newberg Graphic—giving two Hood River News graduates, Jim Kelly and Bob Bigelow, a chance to earn their publisher wings.

In January 1988 Eagle took a bold, new step. The state’s second largest daily, the Eugene Register-Guard, and Eagle combined operations in the Portland suburbs, with Eagle as the managing partner. The new entity, Community Newspapers, included Eagle’s Lake Oswego Review and West Linn Tidings and the Guard’s newspapers in Tigard, Tualatin, Beaverton and Forest Grove. (Community Newspapers was sold to the publisher, Steve Clark, in 1996, and now they are part of the Pamplin Media Group.) 

Another new venture in the mid-1980s was launching an advertising publication for Salem that featured classifieds for the upper Willamette Valley with group buys into the nearby Eagle weeklies. Salem!Willametteland prompted the launching of Eagle Advertising and Distribution, yet another new venture.


Although they failed to survive, the distribution aspect of thebusiness was given new attention. A mailing service had been a part of Eagle Web Press, but it was spun off after acquisition of a mailing company, establishing Eagle Mailing Service.


The 1990s 


The 1990s began with an entrance into niche markets with the purchase of Printer’s Northwest Trader. Before the decade ended, two others were acquired—Daily Shipping News and Freshwater News—and the Northwest Senior News was established.


Midway in the 1990s the opportunities arose to add a seconddaily, The Dalles Chronicle, and another Washington weekly, the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle.


During this time period the company web press plants in Hood River and Prineville were separated from the newspaper operations to become individual profit centers—Columbia Gorge Press and Central Oregon Press.



The New Millennium 

The new millennium began with the purchase of Graphic ArtsPublishing in Idaho to establish Eagle Web Press-Boise.

Another niche publication, the Value Clipper based in Vancouver, Wash., was acquired in 2003.

The Little Red Book, handled out of The Dalles Chronicle office, became a separate profit center, and spurred phone book acquisitions and start-ups for several of the newspapers.

The Wilsonville Spokesman became a full-fledged newspaperwith paid circulation in 2007. It had been started in the mid1980s by the Canby Herald as a supplemental free-distribution publication for the nearby town.

Totality Marketing and Northwest Prime Time News in Seattle came—and went. As did a couple of ventures with Idaho magazines.


Newest in the nest are the Moneysaver operations in Lewiston, Ida., and Moscow-Pullman, Wash., along with publisher/manager Diane Johnson, who had been with the Moneysavers for 29 years.

In recent years the newspapers in Madras, Newberg, Grangeville and The Dalles moved into new homes, as did the NW Boomer and Senior News, located in Keizer, Ore. In addition to “bricks and mortar,” capital expenditures and human resources meet the challenge of rapidly changing technology. In the New Millennium, websites were established and newsroom lexicons grew to include words and phrases such as “paywalls” and “social media.”

So that’s a brief—or as brief as we could make it—history of the company’s growth in terms of holdings over 76 years.

Next we’ll turn to another aspect: how it operates.

But that’s a tale for our next installment!