23 November 2021
On launching this site in March 2021, I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it. My purpose was to give the Willamette Valley a digital magazine – free to read – that covered culture in our area. Things like beer and wine reviews, interviews with local restaurateurs and artists, and the occasional political post were going to be the regular content. As time went on and I was having a hard time finding motivation to write for my own digital magazine, and to get other writers to contribute, the goal of this publication has changed.
The new purpose of this publication is to publish piercing opinion on politics, policy, and law. Our focus will be on Oregon, however the purview will not be limited and articles looking at the United States and the world more broadly will be common.
But why this focus? After reflecting on the state of media in the Willamette Valley and Oregon in general, it became apparent that culture actually receives quite a bit of coverage. Whether it is in the Statesman Journal, Democrat-Herald, Willamette Week, or another outlet, Oregonians can find articles about what’s going on in our communities quite readily. On the other hand, good analysis of important issues – legal, political, and social – is lacking.
By saying that this type of literature is lacking in Oregon is not to insult existing publications. Rather it is related to the format of these. The vast majority of media coverage in our state is provided by newspapers or corporate-owned/affiliated television news stations. Whether it’s through their traditional outlets (print or live broadcasts) or via their digital publications, the analysis is directed at the most broad audience possible and is very journalistic. That is to say, it is more narrative and less evidence-heavy than a more scholarly and reflective publication.
There are a number of problems with the journalistic approach. Firstly, discussions tend to be binary arguments. That is to say, opinion 1 is superior to opinion 2, and these are the only choices. For most people who studies society in a serious way, it is obvious that this type of dichotomy is problematic if your aim is progress and equity. Secondly, coverage usually only extends to well-known issues in Oregon. The problem with this is that while big media talking point topics are important, our society is the culmination of countless small policy changes, court decisions, and political maneuvers. By not giving these attention, Oregonians are – in general – not as well informed as they need to be.
And this is where Oregon Perspective fits into the media landscape. Our goal is to publish high quality and incisive discussions of issues affecting life in Oregon. These will be written by a core of authors dedicated to magazine and outside authors who are experts in their area. This will allow us to cover a wide range of topics key to building a better Oregon and to provide our readers with the insightful discussion they crave.