Several papers in the region ran a story yesterday about their parent company, Western Communications. Those papers used the phrase ” files for protection” in their headlines, while other outlets covering the story put it more plainly: the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Western Communications, based in Bend, owns several newspapers in the region, including The Bend Bulletin, The La Grande Observer and 5 other publications in Oregon and California. Bulletin publisher and Western Communications president Gordon Black didn’t pull any punches when discussing the issue, indicating that the company’s lender, Bank of America, had not been a fair negotiator. The bank is not willing to comment on the case at this time, other than to say they worked with Western Communications “to help them resolve their financial issues.”
Another regional paper, The Columbian, went through a similar process with Bank of America. In early 2010, the paper emerged from bankruptcy protection after two years. Like Western Communications, The Columbian cited large capitol investments coupled with a recession as the main reasons for their financial troubles.
Do you read the Bend Bulletin, the La Grande Observer or any of the other Western Communications papers? What role do they serve in your community?
- Gordon Black: Publisher of The Bend Bulletin and president of Western Communications
- Lou Brancaccio: Editor of The Columbian