For more than two decades, Jennifer Moody's byline has appeared in the pages of the Albany Democrat-Herald, just as it does in today's edition, with her page one story about how backlogs at the state's crime labs are hindering criminal prosecutions.
Now, though, Jennifer has moved on to another position, and my grief at losing a reporter of her skill, experience and energy is only somewhat mitigated by my sense that her new job is an absolutely perfect fit: She's working as the student adviser for the Orange Media Network, the collective of publications produced by students at Oregon State University.
The Orange Media Network includes not just the weekly newspaper The Baro (formerly, of course, The Barometer) but a variety of other publications and online efforts. (You can check them out at the website http://www.orangemedianetwork.com/.)
Jen has logged 23 years with the Democrat-Herald after stints with newspapers in Crescent City, California (where she worked with our photo editor, Mark Ylen) and Stayton.
At newspapers our size, everybody does a little bit of everything, but, over the years, Jen developed considerable expertise covering schools and related issues and became one of the state's top education reporters, frequently breaking stories of statewide import. For example, a recent story about an increase in behavioral problems among very young students and how those were disrupting classrooms marked the first time, to my knowledge, that those issues had garnered public attention. She also was a vital contributor to a series of stories about youth suicide in Oregon — another topic that had not received the attention that it needed.
But Jen always was willing to set those stories aside at least temporarily to run out and cover whatever needed to be covered. And, every day, she brought high spirits and relentless energy to the job: Just sitting down and reviewing the list of stories she was working on could leave you exhausted.
The good news is that Jen has agreed to continue to write for us, on a freelance basis, and you'll see her byline frequently in the pages of our weekly E arts and entertainment section.
We've hired Jen's successor, Caitlyn May, the editor of the weekly newspaper in Cottage Grove, and she'll start work for us on Jan. 28.
At a farewell party last weekend, the obligatory cake bore this message: "Goodbye, Jennifer: We never liked you anyway." But that cake lied.
Alert readers will have noticed that we've started using news stories about state government from the Oregon Capital Bureau. The Capital Bureau is a collaborative effort by the Pamplin Media Group (which publishes the Portland Tribune and 24 other papers), the EO Media Group (which publishes the East Oregonian and nine other papers) and the Salem Reporter, a digital news service launched last year by former Oregonian reporter Les Zaitz and Salem real estate developer Larry Tokarski.
The bureau includes three reporters — Paris Achen of the Portland Tribune, Claire Withycombe of the East Oregonian and the Daily Astorian, and Aubrey Wieber of the Salem Reporter. The three will work under the direction of Zaitz, one of Oregon's most distinguished and experienced reporters.
The Capital Bureau also publishes the weekly Oregon Capital Insider newsletter, which will be emailed to Democrat-Herald and Gazette-Times readers.
I've been looking for ways to supplement the coverage of state government that we receive from The Associated Press, and the Capital Bureau seems to be an ideal way to do that, especially right before the start of the 2019 legislative session.
Speaking of state government: A Wednesday editorial about the recent state report regarding sexual harassment at the State Capitol requires a clarification.
The editorial mentioned a conversation between House Speaker Tina Kotek and Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, that was cited by the report from the state Bureau of Labor and Industries. The editorial said that one of the reasons why Kotek said it would be difficult for her to publicly call for the resignation of then-Sen. Jeff Kruse was because other lawmakers considered Gelser "unlikable."
Kotek's office told me last week that, although the "unlikable" comment did come up during the conversation between the two, it was part of a broader context and that it was not among the reasons why the speaker had not publicly called for Kruse to resign. Kotek's office said she did not comment publicly at the time because of the continuing investigation into Kruse and for fear of making the matter appear partisan. Kruse, of course, eventually did resign from the Legislature after that investigation outlined a pattern of sexual harassment on his part that had continued for years. (mm)