In recent weeks Salem’s daily newspaper, the Statesman Journal, a subsidiary of the Gannett Company, Inc., has seen significant changes.
On August 23, the paper’s 87,000 square foot building at 280 Church St. NE, was sold to News LLC of Keizer for $2.6 million. Nearby parking lots were reportedly included in the transaction. News LLC was registered with the Oregon Secretary of State in July in the name of Eric Meurer, former spokesman for the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties, and a leader in the Courthouse Square Solutions Task Force.
On October 25, Meurer told Salem Weekly he was only a junior partner in the deal, and that Chuck Sides was the majority stakeholder. Sides is one of the original developers of Keizer Station.
There is speculation that the paper has the option of leasing space in its old building or moving out. Apparently, that decision hasn’t yet been made.
Statesman has also seen a personnel shake up. On October 5, the paper’s executive editor, Michael Davis parted ways with the enterprise. Davis is currently working towards a documentary based on his 2008 bestselling book, Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street.
On October 24, Gannett Co. Inc. President and C EO Bob Dickey wrote a letter to employees obtained by Politico saying that the company would be laying off approximately 2% of its workforce. The layoffs were needed, Dickey wrote, to transform Gannett Co. Inc. into “a leading, next-generation media company.”
The next day, Statesman Journal Opinion Editor Dick Hughes, was laid off. Hours later, on his Facebook page, Hughes noted, “Great journalism can be done at any size newspaper.”
As Salem Weekly went to press (10-25-16), Statesman Journal had not published any of this information.