"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Sale at Medford and Ashland

The eventual sale by Ottaway Newspapers of their holdings in Oregon – the Mail Tribune at Medford and the Daily Tidings at Ashland – has been in the wind for a while. Now it’s more definitive.

Ottaway is owned by Dow Jones Company (most famously the publisher of the Wall Street Journal), which is about to be swallowed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Murdoch apparently wanted to shed the “community newspapers” anyway; today comes a report that the current Dow Jones managers are looking at a quicker selloff of their remaining Ottaway papers (down to eight nationally after a partial selloff last year).

Ottaway seems to have been a relatively hands-off owner, and the Medford and Ashland papers have had significant leeway in their operations. To watch for: Who turns out to be the new owner, and what kind of profit margins that owner will be expecting.

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