Blazers Writers Survive The Oregonian's Latest Round Of Layoffs

Jan Kruger

The Oregonian began laying off staff last week as it prepares to enter a transition towards a more digital-centric model. The job cuts will not affect any writers covering the Portland Trail Blazers.

Last week, The Oregonian announced that it would be dropping daily home delivery of its print edition and laying off staff as it prepares for a transition towards a more digital-centric model.

The job cuts, which began on Friday, will not affect any writers providing coverage of the Portland Trail Blazers. Three sportswriters -- Jim Beseda, Paul Buker and John Hunt -- are leaving the paper. The Willamette Week reports that nearly 100 employees were laid off in total.

Susan Gage, The Oregonian's managing editor, told Blazersedge on Monday that coverage of the Blazers will be "steady as it goes," with the team remaining "a top priority" for the newspaper.

It's not yet clear exactly what coverage of the team will be available under the new home delivery model, which will deliver papers to residences on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The mechanics at play are a bit confusing. For example, if there are back-to-back games on Sunday and Monday, will game stories be printed in the Wednesday paper?

"There are some things to figure out between now and October," Gage acknowledged. "But game coverage will be available online as always."

The paper will also continue to be available in boxes around the city seven days per week.

The newspaper isn't currently planning any major philosophical shifts in its coverage under the new digital model. Gage said that readers should expect to read the "same expert voices" covering the Blazers in the paper's online outlets, which will include an online version of the paper (MyDigitalO.com) and the usual web coverage at OregonLive.com.

The paper opted not to send a reporter on a Blazers road trip at the end of the 2011-12 season -- an "unprecedented" move at the time -- but covered the team like usual during the 2012-13 season.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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