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Jun-09-2008 02:12printcomments

Oregon Internet News Organization Revises Format; Announces Changes

Call it a victory for corporate media and corporate America. We admit that we have suffered a defeat, but it seems like rather than taking us to task for our reports, somebody came by in the middle of the night and dropped sugar in our gas tank.

Salem-News.com
Salem-News.com Photo cover art by Austin King

(SALEM, Ore.) - Sometimes it is hard to know when your best efforts are falling short. It is not always easy to pin down what the causes are, but it is obvious that when a public entity like a news Website chooses to confront large problems in the world through journalism, that there will be a blowback factor.

Two stories published at the end of May ’08; one about illegal activities by Charles Schwab, and one about former President Jimmy Carter’s revelation that Israel, a non-declared nuclear power, actually has at least 150 nuclear weapons, have taken their toll on our daily visitor count.

For some reason that we can’t exactly define, our daily number of visitors, which consistently grew from the time of the company was established four years ago this July, just dropped overnight after the Israel story.

Call it a victory for corporate media and corporate America. We admit that we have suffered a defeat, but it seems more like rather than taking us to task for our reports, somebody came by the middle of the night and dropped sugar in our gas tank.

Undoubtedly, we have been a major thorn in the sides of many legitimate groups like the VA, Catholic Church, the DEA, Oregon law enforcement agencies and countless others, and we have also taken on fringe nuthouse jobs like the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas that we traveled across the state to basically show the idiocy of. Our perceived role in the community was and is to expose problems in all walks of life. Sometimes you step on toes.

We have rallied for a woman who lived in Polk County, Oregon who was horribly abused first by her abusive husband, and then by the Oregon justice system. I spent two months in Afghanistan covering the stories of our citizen soldiers from Oregon at war for Salem-News.com. My wife Bonnie and Dr. Phil Leveque have cut over 20 video programs with questions and answers about legal medical marijuana use, a total taboo with corporate media.

Over the past four years, Kevin Hays has written about every general news subject while suffering the physical pain from his war-related military disability, literally in anguish many days. Kevin and I both earned many broadcast and news awards over the years and Kevin received a huge contributor award for his work with the Associated Press for Salem-News.com. And through his op-ed column, Hank Clay Ruark has shows us that people with many years under their belts can still have the youngest and kindest hearts.

We have talked it up, we admit that, because we have just kicked the asses of large corporate media groups on many occasions and we have had hours of over 20k visitors. Now I am lucky to see 300 visitors in an hour.

Maybe we have been kidding ourselves thinking that we could do daily news with such a tiny staff, but we know we have made a difference and we have literally, impacted countless of results with our stories, mostly in good ways.

Salem-News.com has been the only media group doing mainstream news that has a staff comprised largely of military veterans, all of whom have spent time in a war. It seems our thinking on the idea that we should have loud voices as the nation engages in multiple wars was, and is, a good idea. That leads to the good news.

Regrouping

We are not going away, I want to be very clear about that. We are drawing back and regrouping. I have to seek employment elsewhere as I have dragged my family far down a road that has benefited them little. I stayed glued to this site, writing stories seven days a week, for just less than four years. I have traveled the world for this news group and there is no way we are going to let it go. We do however realize that daily news is no longer an option for us.

Based on traffic checks and numbers, our feature stories always bring the highest readership. We will continue to provide feature reports and our wonderful commentaries like Henry Ruark’s heartfelt op-ed’s will continue, and Leonardo’s cartoon series Nota Bene will see its 100th installment in three weeks and many more after that. I can hardly describe the dedication that has gone into Salem-News.com for the last three years and eleven months. We really thought we would come into contact with investor money by this point but we have not, so we must fall back and remain effective as a news Website that publishes important and relevant political stories and other local and national stories, with more depth.

Our advertisements will all remain in place and remain viable and hopefully we will bring even better results. One strange thing that has happened along with a numerical drop in visitors is a significant jump in the number of stories our visitors are opening and reading. Our comments have been fairly strong and we receive more news leads in our newsroom email and have more contacts than we can count. The bottom line at this point, is that we are just publishing a small fraction of the information that is delivered to us. We will continue to emphasize Oregon problems and Salem is still the home base, so look for continuing feature reports based in and around Salem and other parts of the state.

Iraq

Those who keep up know that I was scheduled to go to Iraq and cover Oregon Guard troops this year. My travel plans with a local aviation contractor were squashed by the Air Force who went to great effort to make sure I would not fly to Kuwait on an Evergreen Aviation plane contracted by the U.S. government. Why did this happen? Because I called the Dover Air Force Base Public Affairs Office and (like an idiot in retrospect) told them I was boarding an Evergreen plane in about a week and wanted to make sure I was allowed to go aboard the base. That was my mistake that cost all of us the Iraq trip two months ago. I had not the foggiest idea that the Air Force would raise an objection, as I was a card carrying contractor for Evergreen. I would not have been the first journalist to travel to Kuwait with Evergreen, but for some reason they were able to completely derail my trip.

We received a number of donations for that trip and those were used to purchase the items that were listed at the time. At this moment my gear for Iraq is still packed, minus a few things, as the Oregon Guard continued for several weeks to explore other ways to complete my transport to Iraq. They told me several weeks ago that I was already cleared and approved to go to Iraq with an Oregon Guard detachment heading over in August. I plan to go on that trip and as long as it works out, that is where the kind donations will end up going. I will be looking for work in the meanwhile; it would be great if I ended up with a media group here in Oregon that would carry the coverage in August.

You will continue to find plenty of stories about politics, world struggles, the economy, social injustice, alternative energy and holistic medical care. I will continue to publish articles from myself and our staff of volunteer writers, and we will continue to write about injustices being suffered by former and current members of our military, and Dr. Leveque will continue to write about PTSD and problems in the veteran care system while providing articles about medical marijuana.

We will continue to publish hard hitting, important stories that probably make us more than our share of enemies; but that is fine with us. We abhor social injustice and adolescent style approaches to the use of our military. We are people, who, as Dr. Leveque would say, “have been there and done that” and we will not be swayed or bullied, even if we have to take a reality check for now.

We know our purpose and even if it is changing, there is little in the way of regret. Sorry Salem, we hope that one day in the future we can reemerge again as a daily local source of breaking and developing news, filling then void that exists without our efforts.

Since you are still reading, it is also noteworthy that the Salem, Oregon newspaper has followed our lead almost since the beginning, and we see that as a compliment. We created a comment section, they created a comment section. Shortly after we began incorporating video reports in our news, they added video. The best part was that paper sending a reporter to Afghanistan after my return from covering the war there. If we have inspired others and raised the bar in any way, we are proud.




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Janet June 24, 2008 10:09 pm (Pacific time)

Thanks for the info Salem-News....you should move this story off of this section. It is irritating that this story is still in the same spot. There is still room for bigger news and you are covering it!


Vic June 19, 2008 7:55 am (Pacific time)

Anyone who wants a vinyl Salem-News.com sticker ..appx 2"x7" can get one (or two) for free by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to S-N stickers 19754 McKillop Rd. N.E. Scotts Mills , Oregon 97375. Note to editor: This is assuming that it is OK with you folks to do this...atually, you may run this offer full-time, if you like.

 Tim King: I just want to say that every single Salem-News.com sticker you see on the back of a car in Oregon came from Vic.  His company has supported ours and we are thankful that  people like Vic help this news organization.  Thanks Vic!


S.LaMarche June 16, 2008 12:00 am (Pacific time)

Don't let the bastards-bastardettes,grind you down. Semper Fi, we do it or die!,if you don't print the news,then fox et al, continues to lie. This govt hopes we forget Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Eratria,Ethiopia, proof of the Pentagon tomahawk missile hit and the "non-wreckage" of Flight 93, or the first stolen election in Florida, or the last effort of Albert Gonzales giving police in New Orleans more power to keep the flood survivors away from regaining thier properties before his disgraceful exit, nor Libby and cohorts doing no prison time,or not heading the "Baker-Hamilton" scathing report on middle east policies, nor undermining Medicare or attempts at privatizing Social Security, or the refusal to testify before the caongress they bought and payed for with our taxes and "campaign contributions". The list is formidably long,and this ship is taking on water as I write., so keep on going Mr. and Mrs. King and staff of Salem-News. We need you.


Carol June 12, 2008 10:49 am (Pacific time)

Tim, I made a post at www.watersurvivors.com and told everyone about your great work at Salem News. I posted a link and asked everyone to visit your site.


CANDY June 12, 2008 6:05 am (Pacific time)

TIM, I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY, THAT NOT ONLY HAVE YOU AND BONNIE AND YOUR STAFF OF VETERANS SERVED THIS COUNTRY PROUDLY, YOU HAVE SERVED THIS WEBSITE WITH PRIDE AND COMPASSION. I JUST WANTED YOU TO KNOW THAT WE "LOVE YOU ALL". CANDY


Henry Ruark June 11, 2008 7:39 pm (Pacific time)

Vic et al: Yours re "use it or lose it: is precisely right, and we all should realize that we need to make sure we do whatever we can to carry that out rationally and reasonably, as we must for any other health requirement --this one for our democracy. Thank you Vic. See Op Ed upcoming for another strong clue from our dialog...


Vic June 11, 2008 4:29 pm (Pacific time)

You know, those of us who are aware of and appreciate Salem-News.com CAN do something....forward stories to friends, other news sites...spread the word! A truly free press is such an invaluable commodity these days...our democracy depends on it!! This is true patriotism in action! This is what America is all about! I believe the whole key to democracy is a correctly informed public ...without that, there is no democracy at all. Democracy seems to be like muscles ...or memory..if you dont use it, you will lose it. That is why this site is so important to us...and it should be to everyone.


Carol June 11, 2008 6:42 pm (Pacific time)

Vic, You are so right.


Jenifer Saroian June 11, 2008 4:28 pm (Pacific time)

Tim,
Last month I buried my mother, today I euthanized my beloved cat, now THIS!!!...BUT WAIT...There us no death here, but an evolution, a change, a clear sign of ongoing life.
Tim, you are hero to so many people who intimately know defeat, that I do not believe failure is in your wake...only evolution.
You have done so much for so many, without any expectations. This alone leaves you in Karmic abundance.
If there is ANYTHING I can do...you know the drill.
Love,
Jenny

Jenny, we love you too and thanks so much.  I am sorry about your mom!  Please accept our deepest and most condolences.  Animals are a part of a person's family also, that is a lot for such a short window of time.  I have a similar story and it includes having to put our dog Callie down shortly after we buried my parents last summer.  Life has more than its share of challenges.

But life also has challengers and you are right; we are not going anywhere at all.  I just don't want to tell people that we can do things that we can't fairly do until things change up a bit, and they will.   We are receiving incredible words of support and we are staying engaged with a number of ongoing stories and there are more lining up.  Always good to hear from you!

TIm 


Vic June 11, 2008 4:26 pm (Pacific time)

You know, those of us who are aware of and appreciate Salem-News.com CAN do something....forward stories to friends, other news sites...spread the word! A truly free press is such an invaluable commodity these days...our democracy depends on it!! This is true patriotism in action! This is what America is all about! I believe the whole key to democracy is a correctly informed public ...without that, there is no democracy at all. Democracy seems to be like muscles ...or memory..if you dont use it, you will lose it. That is why this site is so important to us...and it should be to everyone.


Carol June 11, 2008 7:42 am (Pacific time)

Tim, You're not afraid to tell the truth. Is it possible that you have told too many truths? Is it possible that what has changed is your realization that you were contaminated while in the Marine Corps? You have become aware of something they wanted kept quiet! I'm sorry that you're facing this struggle. Carol Anika Theill, your kind words of support of and gratitude for Tim and All are an inspiration. You and Tim are an inspiration for all of us who struggle to have our truths told. How can this be in a nation which was founded on the freedom of individuals? The First Amendment guarantees us the right to free speech. When mainstream media ignores important issues of human rights violations, the free press doesn't look so free! With the approval rating of the DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED Congress being even lower than the approval rating of the President, I don't think tactics like those I suspect have been employed here, are going to do much to improve those approval ratings. It looks to me as if the mainstream media is supporting the government in its attempts to convince the American people that all is well. In reality, it looks to me as if things are good for the rich and the rest of us have been duped into funneling our life's savings into Enron-like entities which are designed to separate hard working people from everything they have. If the VA doesn't want to help veterans, it simply doesn't. If big shots want to cheat ordinary people, they simply cheat ordinary people. If law enforcement doesn't want to enforce laws, they simply don't. If insurance companies, which have been receiving premiums for years, don't want to cover an illness, they simply don't cover an illness. If we don't pay the premiums, we will have more money to spend before we get sick and die. If we have a problem with any of that, we are told to get a lawyer. The lawyers wont work for poor people who have no money because some "entity" has already cheated them out of that money! It works for them! It doesn't work for us and it appears, neither do they!


RJ June 11, 2008 5:59 am (Pacific time)

Your straight forward and to the point journalism was fresh and enlighting!! Economic blows are financially hitting every american and that includes me!! The TRUTH is hard to swallow or hidden and many governmental, private agencies or individuals want it "squashed". I for one, will continue to read Salem-News.com. HIGH FIVE to the SALEM-NEWS.COM TEAM!! Your hard hitting hard work and overall endeavors will not be forgotten!!


Albert Marnell June 11, 2008 3:32 am (Pacific time)

To ALL at Salem-News.com It is not you. I see it all around me. People are working two and three jobs and have no time for anything. The resources that should have raised the standard of living to increase leisure time such as the "computer" have been used for evil to increase productivity gains with less workers and shoot dollars to the top faster with less overhead and workers. There is nothing wrong with the people that have contributed to this web-based newspaper or the people who write for it. There is something wrong with a Corporation called the United States that has lied and used it's own prisoners (citizens). People watched television and were brainwashed hook, line and sinker. I warned people but I am not a public or important person....my ideas and insight are important because most of them come from pure truth and observation. Why would I want to do anything but raise consciousness. It seems that the system (for lack of a better word) has knocked people unconscious and we are living in a land of people buried in half-baked and false information. See Jane Akre vs. Fox. She was a school mate of mine, worked for FOX, CNN etc. look what happened to her. Look her up on the internet or see her in the You-Tube clip "The Corporation unsettling accounts".


A Battered Woman and Child June 10, 2008 12:11 pm (Pacific time)

Dear Mr. King: On behalf of myself and my son, thank you for your courage to address the national crisis of battered women losing custody of their children to batterers. To quote Abraham Lincoln, "Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed." Your work is extremely important and appreciated. I wish you and your family love, peace and happiness.


charles d hatfield June 10, 2008 12:12 am (Pacific time)

you all tell the truth and people are to scared and to see that. there should be more sites like this one.


charles d hatfield June 10, 2008 12:12 am (Pacific time)

you all tell the truth and people are to scared and to see that. "thank you" there should be more news sites like this one.


Tim King June 9, 2008 9:46 pm (Pacific time)

For the record, at this hour, we are on the cover of Google News for our story on Dennis Kucinich and the reading of the impeachment articles against President Bush. This is good news to us, and I want to remind all of you that we will continue to publish stories at Salem-News.com, but we want to be realistic and only claim to provide what we know we can give you, thanks.


Anne June 9, 2008 8:10 pm (Pacific time)

We may not have seen eye to eye on many occasions, but I can recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication that has gone into the S-N.com effort. Kudos to you, and good luck.


Wally June 9, 2008 5:41 pm (Pacific time)

Well, we'll keep our fingers crossed that some funding materializes for you. I noticed some nice comments below.


Barbara A. May June 9, 2008 5:05 pm (Pacific time)

Tim King, you are an unsung hero and I am very sorry to see you go from this media. Thank you for all you've done to advocate for those who previously had no voice.

Barbara:  You are really nice for taking the time to say that.  The good news is that Coral's story is the type we will continue with, and eventually hopefully come back to the frequency we previously had.  Again, thanks so much...  Tim 


Henry Clay Ruark June 9, 2008 2:37 pm (Pacific time)

To all: For me, return of Tim to Iraq may well prove to have been "last straw" for some still in close-to-control. P-gurus cannot escape coming cuts to both dollars and self postures--latter perhaps most painful to them... Parallels several similar situations in mine own past (admittedly "very checkered" !) experience, including early-on work in armed service-assignment and"impact" years-later. BUT we all owe very large gratitude to Tim/Bon for both courage and dedication to real "free press" --even if sometimes Comments got a bit too free...!??...of both responsibility and accountability, I mean... via ID for further dialog with depth, detail and sharing of undoubtedly-sure source. Great example of what Internet now irrevocably doing to media-pattern and potential impact on ALL --both persons and topics, that is-- for which we can only now begin to prepare-for-more in coming years of 21st Century. "Go", S-N !! Too damned good to lose --and no victory ever for monopoly dedicated first, foremost, allatime to corporate profit and further Murdochization of essential American democratic component. Degredation of demanded real community service sure to cut, slash, reduce and finally kill all-such, as Americans-all now find demanded return to our Constitutional principles.


Coverter June 9, 2008 2:27 pm (Pacific time)

Maybe some patriot from spy school, trained in code light years beyond your administrator's understanding installed a mirror program with just a slight aberration. Of course someone trained on that level would be using jargon that would not even be familiar with M.I.T. or Cal Poly doctorates. Hey who knows?


EazyMoney June 9, 2008 1:51 pm (Pacific time)

Well, I've always enjoyed salem news.com even if I don't always agree with all the viewpoints. I think your doing an admirable job. I hope everything works out so that you can continue to make this site a 24-7 news source.

Good luck!!

EZ

P.S.
I'd love to see your server stats to find out what happened to all your traffic. I find it hard to believe that posting the Carter/Israel and Charles Schwab story just turned off that many people. You had to have a lot inbound links dropped or maybe a possible black-listing by google or the ap? Certainly worth looking into.

Peace

EZ: please write to me at newsroom@salem-news.com and I will share that information with you. We also think something happened like some kind of a switch was hit or an algorithm changed. If it happened to us it could happen to anyone, and thanks for the kind thougts.

Tim


leslowen June 9, 2008 8:55 am (Pacific time)

so sorry to hear this Tim. I read here every day. You guys are great. the story you did for me was a huge help. I cant imagine why readership has fallen off. I hope it picks up again soon. Good luck in all you do. thank you.


Coral Anika Theill June 9, 2008 7:30 am (Pacific time)

Truth spoken in the absence of fear is a catalyst for healing and enlightenment. My name is Coral Anika Theill. I am the woman from Polk County, mentioned in Tim's article. Tim King's initial article on my story, "Abuse Under the Watch of the Oregon Justice System," printed on May 12, 2007, reached people around the world, received national attention and was posted on numerous nationally known advocate websites, i.e, www.stopfamilyviolence.org His four articles on my story in Polk County are also mentioned on many blogs and websites TO THIS DAY. Marines and soldiers, serving on the front lines in Iraq commented on Tim's story in support of justice in my case. I have received hundreds of letters from victims, survivors, combat veterans, soldiers, Marines, professors, attorneys, physicians, and advocates sharing their admiration for Tim King and Salem-news for their courage to support me by undercovering a dark secret in the Polk County, Oregon, judicial system. Tim exposed the disregard this county, their judges and district attorneys have for domestic violence and sexual assault victims. In 2003, I wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut and Judge Michael Mossman in Portland, Oregon, outlining the abuse I had suffered in Oregon courts since 1995. Her kind response is posted on my website. This past year I have relayed all four articles Tim King has printed on my life story to her office. Here is an excerpt of my letter to U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut: "I believe my human rights were violated by specific people, my husband and his attorneys, my attorneys who did nothing to halt the humiliation I experienced in Court, the judges who allowed the process to continue and supported the frivolous and unwarranted claims Mr. Warner made, his onslaught of court orders to try to force me to return to maintain his control on my life, and the religious community that was so blinded by an abhorrence of divorce that they closed their eyes and their hearts to the truth. It is time for a champion who will advocate for women and help right some of these wrongs before others must endure this kind of destruction. I believe I have fallen through the cracks of America's judicial system." In 2007, four years later, my prayers were answered. Tim King became "the champion" who had the courage to give voice to my true life story, BONSHEA: Making Light of the Dark, a story that exposes the dark side of human nature when all people are not valued. His articles have helped raise awareness among the local community and nation about judicial, societal, religious, domestic and sexual violence. A healthy society must have the courage to address these issues, speak about them, examine them and bring them to light. The abuse I suffered from my ex-husband, Mr. Marty Warner, his religious supporters and the judicial system in Oregon cut deep wounds in me. Although my wounds have mostly healed, I am still haunted by the cruelty and injustices. My intent in writing my story was an effort to reclaim dignity, equality and honor, not only for myself, but for everyone, and to speak for those who are "voiceless." The ideology and belief structure in Oregon (and throughout the United States, as well) has given power and legal rights for certain individuals to act inhumanely. This power must have checks and balances. Although, I may not see justice in my situation, I must seek it, or I will victimize myself by not speaking out my truths and my horror. I pray that 2008 is the year of my emancipation from my ex husband and Oregon courts. Anyone can live under tyranny, but it takes true courage to embrace freedom. I am most grateful for Tim's courage, and his gifts. I honor Tim and Bonnie King for their advocacy for soldiers, Marines, combat veterans, domestic violence and sexual assault victims, and the vulnerable and helpless who "have no voice" or who are no longer with us. Thank you Tim King and Salem-news for making a huge difference in my life. Respectfully, Coral Anika Theill www.bonshea.com


c- June 9, 2008 7:21 am (Pacific time)

how dare you report on ACTUAL truths the rest of media is too afraid to touch. i wish you the best of luck in what ever the future holds for you. please don't stop forcing us to wake up and see the truth.


Dawn June 9, 2008 6:49 am (Pacific time)

So sorry to hear you are leaving. We need people like you who can tell horrific stories that society wants to sweep under the rug. Everything is supposed to be whitewashed and victims have no rights. Hope you can get up and running faster then before.

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