Sources at the Eugene Register-Guard tell EW that an email went out on Dec. 17 informing R-G staffers that N. Christian Anderson III is no longer editor and publisher of the paper. Anderson started at the R-G June 1, after leaving The Oregonian.
EW sent an email to Wendy Baker, director of human resources and general counsel at the R-G, to confirm and ask the reason for the change.
In response, Baker wrote, "I would consider giving you a quote if you would share the source of your information."
EW does not reveal the identity of sources to whom we have promised confidentiality.
Baker then wrote, "I'm sorry, but our policy is not to discuss personnel matters."
Longtime R-G arts and features reporter Randi Bjornstad, who is also with the Eugene Newspaper Guild, which represents the paper's employees, responded to a request for comment. She was not one of EW's original sources. Bjornstad says she was surprised to receive the email saying Anderson had been let go from the Register-Guard, and "I thought he was doing everything the company said it wanted, in terms of digital coverage."
Although the R-G has stepped up and altered its digital coverage, Anderson didn't appear to implement some of the more dramatic changes at the locally owned paper that he did at The O, which is owned by Advance Publications. Under Anderson, The O laid off staff, switched from a broadsheet to a tabloid format, went to four-day instead of seven-day home delivery to "reorganize operations" and "emphasize online news."
Willamette Week has posted the text of the email from R-G chairman Tony Baker, the husband of Wendy Baker. The R-G is owned by the Baker family.
While Anderson was the first non-Baker to be the editor of the R-G, another outsider, David Pero was the paper's chief operating officer from 2007 to 2012, overseeing day-to-day operations of the paper, including "direct oversight of the newsroom." Pero swiftly departed the paper after five years, under rumors he had been fired.
You can read The O's account of Anderson here, or a more jaded account of his newspaper history published in 2010 on the Daily Kos or here at The Sockeye.
Anderson was listed as the editor and publisher of the R-G on the paper's masthead in the Thursday, Dec. 17 issue of the paper, but by the Dec. 18 edition, his name was gone.
And here is the text of the email sent out 3:38 pm Dec. 17 to R-G employees that is now circulating on social media:
I'm writing to inform you that Chris Anderson is no longer Editor and Publisher of The Register-Guard.
For the immediate future, I will step back in and assume the responsibilities of president of Guard Publishing Company. I will be in the office building for a couple of hours each weekday to consult with department managers and others as needed. I will rely on those same managers to continue to lead their respective departments and carry out the media company strategic plan initiatives adopted by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors at its September meeting. I will be out of the office beginning next week through the end of the year, returning to the office on Monday, January 4. In my absence, I have asked Rick Baker and Dave Baker to jointly assume operational direction of the company.
The Nominating and Succession Planning Committee, a standing committee of the Board of Directors, will meet and formally begin a search for new media company leadership in January. Meanwhile, I ask that everyone continue to focus on the vitally important work you do day in and day out to serve our readers and advertisers. They're counting on us not to miss a beat.
On behalf of the Baker family, I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season. Your commitment to The Register-Guard and your contributions to our continued success are deeply appreciated.
Guard Publishing Company