Reflections from the Herald’s former publisher
By Kari Borgen
In the years I was publisher, from 1998 to 2017, the Baker City Herald and the news industry went through incredible changes, introducing computer pagination, digital photography and delivering news through newspaper websites, email, social media and video. We reported on Y2K, the 9-11 attacks, and weathered the economic downturn and bankruptcy of the former owner, Western Communications Inc.
Through it all, we reported on Baker County — state championships, local elections, new and shuttering businesses, crimes and tragedies, events and celebrations. Readers submitted birth, wedding, anniversary and death announcements that recorded their own personal milestones in the Baker City Herald pages. We printed history, a day at a time.
Most of all, though, we told Baker County’s stories in real time about people who persevered and inspired. And best of all, we had fun doing it. The people I was privileged to work with over the years were in love with the people and the community, and it showed in their work. It still does.
After 19 years as publisher of the Baker City Herald, I left in November 2017 to work for EO Media Group as publisher at The Astorian. Last year, I was thrilled to welcome my former colleagues to our company when EO Media Group purchased the Baker City Herald and The Observer.
Congratulations to the Baker City Herald for 150 years of continuous publication. I’m proud of the people who have created that history, and grateful to have been a part of it.
By Gary Middleton
One hundred and fifty years. Year after year. Day by day.
Little League scores. Aunt Sue’s favorite recipe. A 4-3 split on the city council. An end-of-life summary of a good man’s time on earth. The trial of a sadistic murder.
Slices of life in a small town. The bits and pieces of people’s dreams, goals and toils. Did you see it in the paper?
On my watch there was good news: the historic district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
And bad news: flames ripped through the heart of Baker High School.
Hirings and firings and lumberyard layoffs.
Newspaper work is not easy. Pay is low. Hours are long. Deadline pressure can eat at your gut and make your head throb. And the work is never done. Done? There’s always more of the same coming down the road.
But at the end of the day you press on. When the last deadline is vanquished you brace for the next set.
You turn out the lights hoping — no, knowing — that tomorrow someone will ask someone: Did you see it in the paper?
Gary Middleton had two stints as the Herald’s editor, in the early to mid-1970s and from 1984 to 1989.