Les Zaitz is a well-respected figure in the Oregon journalism world (and beyond, as we discuss), having spent decades working in the industry both as a reporter and, more recently, as a media entrepreneur. He is retiring from his post as the founding editor of the Oregon Capital Chronicle and will continue to lead two local publications, the Malheur Enterprise and the Salem Reporter. This was a fun episode--Les is funny, knowledgeable, and direct. We cover many aspects of journalism (local vs. national news, business models, the rise of "creators", whether the state should fund news, etc.), as well as the recent controversies involving the Enterprise and Rep. Greg Smith and some new ideas on closing the urban/rural divide.
Here is his bio, courtesy of the Chronicle:
"Les Zaitz is a veteran editor and investigative reporter, serving Oregon for more than 45 years. He reported for The Oregonian for 25 years and owns community newspapers and a digital news service. He is a national SPJ fellow, two-time Pulitzer finalist, including for a lengthy investigation of Mexican drug cartels in Oregon and five-time winner of Oregon’s top investigative reporting award. He has investigated corrupt state legislators, phony charities, and an international cult that moved to Oregon, and the biggest bank failure in Oregon history. He also has been active in reforming the state’s public records law and was appointed by the governor to the Oregon Public Records Advisory Council. In his spare time, he operates a ranch nestled in a national forest, feeding horses and assorted animals."
You can support Les' work at the Enterprise, the Reporter, and the (free!) Chronicle.