November 10, 2004: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Journalism: The Register Guard: Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson debuts weekly newspaper in Oregon

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malaysia: Peace Corps Malaysia : The Peace Corps in Malaysia: February 28, 2003: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Journalism: LA Times: Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson called America's "last horse-whippable editor" : November 10, 2004: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Journalism: The Register Guard: Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson debuts weekly newspaper in Oregon

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Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson debuts weekly newspaper in Oregon

Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson debuts weekly newspaper in Oregon

Malaysia RPCV Bruce Anderson debuts weekly newspaper in Oregon

Left-leaning weekly makes Eugene debut

By Lewis Taylor
The Register-Guard

The first edition of Eugene's newest newspaper, AVA Oregon, hit the streets late last week. With distribution limited mainly to local bookstores, the text-heavy weekly broadsheet did not exactly take the city by storm, which seemed just fine with its publisher, Bruce Anderson.

"Given all the givens, so far, I think we're off to a pretty good start," Anderson said from inside the paper's office near River Road. "Eugene seems yawningly indifferent to my presence."

Before moving to the area last summer, Anderson ran the Anderson Valley Advertiser (AVA) in Boonville, Calif., a paper that acquired a cult following for taking on school administrators, judges, prosecutors, newspaper editors and others in the local power structure.

Anderson, who has a small office staff and a growing stable of freelance writers scattered around the state, is modeling the AVA Oregon after his California paper. Initially he planned to cover only Lane County, but shifted his focus statewide.

"Oregon is coherent in a way that California isn't," Anderson said. "People in Portland pay attention to what's happening in Medford. ... It seemed to me that I could get good writing on politics, social affairs and whatever comes in from around the state and that would appeal to people of different areas of the state."

"I'm glad to see another paper (in Eugene)," said Carol Berg, a Eugene business owner who was familiar with Anderson's other paper.

"As with any media, I don't know that it's always going to be accurate (but) I would guess it is going to afford the public an opportunity to have input with articles and letters, and that's always good. Whether it's (politically) right or left when the people's voice is involved, that's a good thing."

The first edition of the AVA Oregon includes a front page story by alternative media heavy-hitters Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair on why Sen. John Kerry lost the presidential election, an extensive story on an Ashland land development controversy and a statement of intentions by Anderson.

Anderson promises a far-left leaning newspaper that won't pull punches and will take jabs at those on all sides of the political spectrum. He quotes Joseph Pulitzer on his masthead ("A newspaper should have no friends") and says he's interested in pursuing stories on the Eugene Police Department, the court system and land use issues stemming from the passage of Measure 37. And despite his paper's left-leaning stance, Eugene's liberal elite is one group he intends to go after in print.

"I've noticed there really is a very irritating sort of dogmatism, a kind of a piety, a starkness, I guess you could call it that," Anderson said. "They have all of these correct positions and it's as if they already live in some kind of nirvana while the reality around them is problematic to say the least."

Don Kahle, publisher of the humor magazine, Wink, thinks Anderson's approach to journalism could be an antidote to the kind of political correctness that can inhibit discussion.

"I think that we work so hard at making sure that we talk correctly that we often don't get around to thinking correctly," Kahle said. "His (Anderson's) take-no-prisoners kind of posture, maybe that will help, maybe that will be a force for good."

While some find Anderson's approach refreshing, others, such as Eugene's Mark Robinowitz find it troubling. Robinowitz points to Anderson's highly controversial coverage of the late Earth First! activist Judy Bari and her lawsuit against the FBI.

"This is a National Enquirer of the left," Robinowitz said, "even if a couple of serious writers are included in the paper to give it undeserved legitimacy."

For now, financing for the AVA Oregon is shaky. Anderson is supporting the publication with money earned from the sale of his house in California, and has given his paper three months to become self-supporting.

Dean Rea, an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, says such a paper could be difficult to sustain.

"If I were The Register-Guard, I wouldn't worry about it. If I were the Eugene Weekly, I wouldn't worry about it, as far as competition is concerned," Rea said. "But, (if I were) just wanting to have a newspaper that I could have a voice in - and I could afford to have a limited audience - why, it might be some fun."


The AVA Oregon publishes weekly on Thursdays. The paper is available by subscription for $40 a year or, for $1 an issue at the Bookmark, Black Sun Books, the University of Oregon Bookstore and Cal's Donuts and Pastry.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: The Register Guard

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malaysia; Journalism



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