Daily Astorian names new managing editor

Laura Sellers Earl

Laura Sellers Earl

The Daily Astorian and dailyastorian.com have a new newsroom leader. Today, Editor and Publisher Steve Forrester announced Laura Sellers is the newspaper’s managing editor. She succeeds Patrick Webb, who held the position for 13 years. The managing editor is responsible for directing the newspaper’s reporting and manages newsroom personnel.

This is Sellers’ second term as managing editor. In 1995, she became the first woman to lead the newspaper’s editors and reporters and built the Astorian’s first website with her husband.

“With Laura’s keen news sense and her deep involvement in the digital frontier, she is ideally suited to lead our news operation in this dynamic atmosphere and at this pivotal moment,” Forrester said.

Describing her career in Astoria and the company’s digital operations, Sellers said: “I’ve come full circle by rejoining this newsroom, which played such a pivotal role in my journalism career. After 22 years with this company, it’s more exciting than ever to be back in the trenches and guiding this team of talented journalists, while we report the news that reflects our communities and impacts our lives.”

During her tenure, the newspaper received its first two Oregon general excellence awards. In 2000, she became the Astorian’s parent company’s first Internet editor, overseeing its transition to the then-new world of digital publishing. Over the years, she has held a succession of titles while leading the digital team; most recently as digital development director. She is on the board of the Associated Press Media Editors, and in 2017, will become the national organization’s president.

Sellers will talk more about the road ahead in an upcoming Editor’s Notebook.

She and husband Carl Earl have lived in the Astoria area since 1992 when he became the newspaper’s production manager and she was an advertising designer. Earl is now the corporate systems manager.

The Daily Astorian is owned by EO Media Group. The company publishes 11 newspapers and 18 websites. Learn more at eomediagroup.com

Natalie St. John joins the Chinook Observer

Natalie St. John

Natalie St. John

LONG BEACH — The Chinook Observer is pleased to announce the newest addition to our staff, reporter Natalie St. John.

St. John started her journalism career in Portland, Ore., where she worked as a freelance reporter and photographer.

She comes to the Observer from the Longview Daily News, where she spent nearly two years as a reporter and photographer, covering environment, the Spanish-speaking community, and Lewis and Wahkiakum counties.

Following her first year as a reporter at the Daily News, St. John was presented with the New Journalist of the Year award from the Northwest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

St. John replaces Amanda Frink who left the Observer in early July.

Journalism is a second career for St. John, who spent about a decade teaching at schools in Mexico, China, the Texas-Mexico Border, and Oregon.

St. John grew up California, and is a graduate of Portland State University.

Oregon cherry grower newest member of the Capital Press Board of Directors

Mike Omeg

Mike Omeg

Mike Omeg, an innovative fifth-generation farmer from The Dalles, Ore., is the newest member of the Capital Press Board of Directors.

The board advises the EO Media Group, which owns the Capital Press weekly newspaper and the ag websites CapitalPress.com, FarmSeller.com and OnlyAg.com. Board members are asked to provide Capital Press managers with insight regarding media and agricultural issues.

Omeg, who turns 38 in November, sees sustainability and innovation as key issues facing agriculture today.

He paraphrases former General Electric CEO Jack Welch: If change is happening faster outside your company than inside, you’re going to stagnate.

“I try to be innovative,” Omeg said. “As a manager, it’s my job to always be looking to do things better.”

Sustainability extends beyond the orchard rows. Omeg and his wife, Lindsay, also raise beef, pork, chickens and turkeys.

“I love farming,” Omeg said. “I make my money with cherries but I also have a huge garden and I like to grow livestock.

There was a time when Omeg didn’t plan on returning to the family farm. He graduated from Willamette University with a degree in economics and minored in biology and environmental science. He earned a master’s degree in science at Oregon State University, specializing in entomology, and worked for OSU’s Extension Service during summers. After college he spent five years on a project with the National Resources Conservation Service.

When his father, Mel Omeg, had a heart attack — he’s since recovered — Mike Omeg began working with a farm succession coach to develop a plan to take over. His parents, Mel and Linda Omeg, are now retired, and Mike Omeg counts farm succession among the key issues facing agriculture.

Other major issues include labor, production practices and pest and disease management. Omeg and his wife, a public school teacher, have a 3-year-old daughter, a 2-year-old son, and are expecting a third child in January.

“It’s great to have an innovative farmer like Mike join the board,” Mike O’Brien, Capital Press publisher, said.

The other board members are Mike Forrester, former Capital Press publisher and one of the EO Media Group owners; Steve Forrester, president and an owner of EO Media Group and editor and publisher of The Daily Astorian in Astoria; Kathryn Brown, an owner of EO Media Group and publisher of the East Oregonian newspaper in Pendleton; and Sid Freeman, who grows sugar beets, onions, corn and bean seed in Caldwell, Idaho.

– Eric Mortenson, Capital Press

DiscoverOurCoast.com wins national EPPY award

Eppylogo4C2013_w230The website created to accompany The Daily Astorian’s publication, Our Coast, has been honored with a top national award.
DiscoverOurCoast.com earned first place in the annual EPPY Awards, presented by Editor & Publisher magazine, the leading media trade periodical in North America.
The website earned the award as the best travel website with under 1 million unique monthly visitors.
It was also one of six national finalists in the category of best overall website design with under 1 million unique monthly visitors.
The awards, considered the top in the digital media field, also named another EO Media Group website as a finalist, OnlyAg.com, a website of the Capital Press newspaper, was one of three national finalists in the category of best mobile website with under 1 million unique monthly visitors.
Our Coast was launched in January 2012 when The Daily Astorian editors changed the format of the annual Visitors Guide into a new regional travel magazine. The 2012 and 2013 print editions have already been honored by the Oregon Newspaper Publisher’s Association in both news and advertising contests. The website has won awards for Best Niche Site produced by a local newspaper from the 2012 Local Media Association; Best Web Project in the 2013 ONPA Better News Contest and Best New Site of 2012 in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northwest Excellence in Journalism Contest 2012.
DiscoverOurCoast.com was designed and built by the EO Media Group’s digital team to highlight Our Coast stories and photos, as well as provide additional opportunities for readers to learn about coastal attractions and events.
Crindalyn Lyster, EO Media Group digital media director, said the project was a team effort.
“Not only winning the award, but just being nominated illustrates the quality we strive to achieve in our digital offerings. Winning an EPPY is like winning an Emmy or Oscar in the online journalism world. To capture the category of best travel website at a national level, is a true testament to the amazing and talented staff we have. I’m very proud of them. This is a well-deserved recognition not only for them, but  for our company.”
The EPPY Awards honor the best media-affiliated websites across 30 diverse categories. Now in its 18th year, the international contest has broadened its scope to keep up with the ever-changing Internet industry. In a typical year there are about 400 entries from 200 media groups.

EO Media Group digital director to lead national editors group

Sellers-Earl Laura

Laura Sellers

APME is an association of news and broadcast leaders, journalism educators and student editors in the United States and Canada. APME works closely with The Associated Press to foster journalism excellence and to support a national network for the training and development of editors who run multimedia newsrooms.

“This is an honor and an incredible opportunity to assist editors in committing quality journalism, safeguarding our First Amendment rights, staying on the forefront of Freedom of Information issues and providing AP with feedback,” she said. “I’m proud of this organization and the fine editors who make it thrive. APME has had a starring role in my professional development.”

“The APME board of directors is thrilled that Laura is joining the leadership ladder,” said Debra Adams Simmons, APME’s incoming president. “Laura has made a tremendous contribution to the APME, working tirelessly with nearly every committee to help strengthen the organization as it serves the nation’s editors. Laura has had a hand in nearly every major APME project or initiative in recent years — from reviewing the Bylaws to modifying the membership structure to rebranding and marketing the APME to creating a social media strategy. Laura is one of the people who has to travel the farthest to participate, yet she is always there. You can always count on her. APME is in good hands with Laura on the leadership team.”

EO Media Group COO John S. Perry said, “We’re delighted that Laura has been selected to a leadership position in APME. Her creativity, passion and determination will enrich that organization as they have our company.”

Sellers, 50, lives in Astoria and has worked for EOMG, formerly East Oregonian Publishing, for 21 years, first for The Daily Astorian newsroom, including five years as managing editor, then for EO Media Group leading its digital efforts. She has been active with APME since 1995 and on the board of directors for 10 of the last 12 years.

She started in newspapers at the Palestine (Texas) Herald Press’ art department, and worked for the Plano Star Courier, Addison-North Dallas Register before joining Student Media at Southern Methodist University as the production supervisor. In 1992, she and husband Carl Earl moved to Astoria, where he is the systems manager for the company.

“I’m especially proud that my company has supported my continued growth through APME. We are among the smallest media groups represented on the board, and it speaks well of both EOMG and APME that a priority is placed on smaller markets,” Sellers said.

“Laura has been deeply influential on our organization for many years and has become one of our great ambassadors,” said Brad Dennison, outgoing APME president. “Her addition to our strong executive leadership team ensures APME will continue its important work for years to come.”

EO Media Group is based in Salem and includes 10 other newspapers in Oregon and southwest Washington: East Oregonian in Pendleton, Hermiston Herald, Blue Mountain Eagle in John Day, Wallowa County Chieftain, Chinook Observer in Long Beach, Wash., Coast River Business Journal, Oregon Coast Today in Lincoln City, Seaside Signal, Cannon Beach Gazette and Capital Press, an agricultural weekly based in Salem. The company has 17 websites and was recently named as an EPPY finalist in three categories.

Learn more about APME at www.apme.com. Learn about EO Media Group at www.eomediagroup.com.