Jessica Keller has been named the new editor of the Hermiston Herald and will start the job today.
Keller comes to Hermiston from the Argus Observer in Ontario, Ore., where she has been the associate editor since 2007. She started at the Argus Observer in 2004 and reported on both news and sports for the daily newspaper.
In 2011, she won first place in the annual Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association contest for best editorial page, along with editor Pat Caldwell.
Keller began her career as a reporter for the Enumclaw Courier-Herald in Enumclaw, Wash., in 2001.
With more than 12 years of experience at community newspapers, Keller talked about the challenge of providing local news in an era of information overload. Though news stories are abundant on the Internet, she said, many people don’t realize what happens behind the curtain.
“I think there’s a misinterpretation that news creates itself,” she said. “Wherever you’re getting it from, the news comes from somewhere. There will always be a need for people to write and print or post stories.”
She said the goal of a journalist is to know about the lives of the people in the community, and have the integrity to tell their stories honestly. A newspaper’s reputation is the best thing it has going for it.
“People read the paper to find out what’s going on in the city council or with their sewer rates,” she said, “but also to find out who their neighbors are.”
Kathryn Brown, publisher of the Hermiston Herald and East Oregonian, said she has great confidence in Keller’s journalism background and her ability to bring relevant news to the newspaper’s readers.
“Jessica has the knowledge and skills to be a strong editor for the Hermiston Herald,” Brown said. “Her role as associate editor of the Argus Observer for the last six years has prepared her well to produce a high-quality community newspaper.”
Keller is a graduate of Richland High School in the Tri-Cities and Western Washington University in Bellingham. Her husband, Dionicio del Valle is a journeyman electrician and they have a six-year-old daughter named Twila.
EO Media Group has owned the twice-weekly Hermiston Herald since 2008, and also publishes the East Oregonian, Capital Press, Blue Mountain Eagle and the Wallowa County Chieftain as well as several newspapers on the Oregon Coast and in southwest Washington. The Herald has been in publication since 1906.