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An Oregon News FamilyTim King Salem-News.com
What makes this clan tick, and on the same news trail after almost eight years?
(SALEM) - Human rights, Genocide, peace, politics, a broken earth, and Salem-News.com. Our goal as an Oregon news family is to cover subjects that others ignore.
Salem-News.com, our greater family, is essential media, and we are more needed in this world than ever before. You should care because sometimes life stops offering chances.
111 staff writers are published here 7 days a week, for more than seven years, yet Salem-News.com's core news staff still only consists of two people; a couple: Tim and Bonnie King. It is an endless endeavor and one never taken more seriously. If you care about human rights, a peaceful world, clean food, air and water; and if it matters that a US news agency covers the world, then please read this story and learn how and why Salem-News.com came to exist, and about the journalistic mission that compels us to continue.
I won't mention every person with Salem-News.com though I wish I could, there are so many champions among them that it humbles me.
We recently lost our 93-year old Op-Ed Writer, Henry Clay Ruark, who had been in reporting since the 1930's and is certainly the most senior of America's working journalists, I had noticed how in the months prior to his death, Hank's writing had been steadily improving, he was an amazing man.
Hank was one of so many people who have made this possible; way back in the summer of 2004 when we launched this, he was in place and ready to go, firing off political Op-Eds that made people think, and sometimes steam!
None of it would exist without the mindful talents of our Web Designer Matt Lintz, and if you don't know, there is an entirely separate local section for Salem that Matt maintains, we will project this more in the near future, but the link is on our front page.
Dr. Phil Leveque is my personal mentor, as a man who served his country fighting an unavoidable war that crushed Nazism and fascism in Europe, his example is one that greatly influences us and our view, particularly with regard to healthcare, a subject of insurmountable achievement for so many Americans.
Few people alive have his experience or qualifications, or personal drive to make the world a healthier, safer and generally better place. Doc is widely known in Oregon because he was a forerunner in helping Oregon achieve its current medical marijuana law, and part of his fame or notoriety in this case, is attributed to the media attention generated by a witch hunt against him that was led by the Oregon Medical Board in what is now easily identified as an act of government retaliation. For a very small oversight in signing a medical card for a patient who was an invalid, that he didn't require to travel long distance to take a physical, Dr. Leveque had his medical license revoked. He should have received a minor fine, if that, but his distinguished career was trashed by this board. The Portland Oregonian dubbed him "The Most Dangerous Doctor in Oregon". Today we laugh when telling that part, but it isn't really funny at all and in fact remains a matter to be rectified.
We know that Tennessee had a physician convicted for murdering his wife and mother-in-law and then after serving his prison sentence, he was reinstated as a doctor! We know about it because shortly thereafter, he was arrested for crimes involving OxyContin. It is outrageous to compare these matters, the Oregon Medical Board is a dangerous and irresponsible tool of the 1% you might say.
Doc always writes harshly about the Veterans Administration which insists on "doping up" vets on hardcore addictive pills, instead of treatments that are less harmful in the long run. He writes honestly and directly about the glaring inefficiencies in our medical system, especially as it pertains to vets and substance abuse.
A writer with us from the early days, Lela Taylor, has also had an extremely interesting life, growing up in Oregon logging towns. She is a genuine and sincere chronicler of life, who has had years of successful TV shows on our local cable access channel. In the course of her time with us, she bid farewell to her husband, a Marine Corps Korean War Vet who suffered from decades of PTSD and alcoholism. Lela is a treasured friend who reaches people.
From our earliest days, Ken Ramey in Paso Robles, California has written thought provoking articles about religion and the bare bones of life.
Growing up as a child during the Depression, losing two brothers; these experiences left Ken with keen insight into life's harder moments and challenges. He had absolutely no choice and his life story is interesting and touching.
His point of view always impresses me, and as our writer who focuses on religion, Ken doesn't pull punches or mince words. He deplores greed and the plundering of the middle class, and takes particular exception to religious leaders who call for and support war. I am with Ken all the way in that view.
Glen Bledsoe was also here from the beginning, with hundreds of incredible images from two original comic strips that are exclusive to Salem-News.com and nothing short of incredible. Along with his wife Karen, Glen is an author with numerous scholastic books to his credit. He is particularly talented with photo/artwork also.
I am more than indebted to these contributors and so many more who have allowed Salem-News.com to exist and grow and become a tool of positive influence for the world.
Salem means 'peace' and we believe that we as people should only seek peace and an end to violence, both militarily and also domestically, where even the rights of journalists to simply report the truth is becoming increasingly threatened.
Salem-News.com is a sanctuary for journalism from and about the beleaguered nations, the downtrodden cultures and races, and we believe primarily in international law as defined under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Little else matters until those highly defined laws are enforced in this world. It is our obligation as journalists to push for this.
The days of old are gone and New Media is the order of the day. Bonnie and I are of this new electronic, digital breed, but we hail from the old school of tubes and tapes and even film. We cut audio tape with razor blades.
My point is that our story totally parallels the modern technology revolution as it applies to news, video and broadcasting. Moreover, Bonnie and I both had experience in television, radio and newspaper before the Internet even arrived. My newspaper experience was as a freelance writer and photographer for the Tillamook Headlight Herald on the Oregon coast and it was limited, but I had some degree of experience, and we both had years in radio and TV.
Beginning of a News Career
How we landed in this position, in charge of a busy 24/7 online news operation that connects the entire world in a single place, is quite a story in my humble opinion.
When I began my career in news at the age of 24, I never imagined that it would lead to the position I now hold, as the news editor of Salem-News.com. My wife Bonnie and I have had somewhat parallel careers in this interesting field and nothing I have achieved would have ever come about without her support.
Bonnie grew up in Dayton, Oregon, about half an hour northwest of Salem. Her small town environment afforded many opportunities that are almost classic Americana in my opinion. She grew up on a farm in an old turn-of-the-century house. Her parents are beekeepers and they own a sizable piece of land in an area increasingly becoming known as Oregon's wine country. It's beautiful country.
Bonnie was a varsity cheerleader and she had the unique chance to learn to fly in high school, and nearly attained her pilot's license at the nearby McMinnville Airport.
Bonnie also has great stories about hot rods and cruising in McMinnville on weekend nights. They call it 'Dragging the Gut' and these days, every summer, she and her friends revive the event and thousands turn out like like they used to.
She was also her high school's hard working yearbook editor, and that is certainly the beginning of the journalistic journey that led her to the publisher's role with Salem-News.com. She gleaned all kinds of experience taking the lead in school projects and her life in general.
I'm glad we found our way into this crazy business together. Together, everything has been that way with us, at least once we finally sealed the deal; 'traded pink slips' we always jokingly say.
I was born in Lynwood, California, and raised in Huntington Park, not to be confused with Huntington Beach in Orange County. My hometown is located a few miles west of downtown LA. It is and was gangland, and junior high was pretty tough.
I surfed as much as possible and was fortunate to be the son of an antique car and motorcycle collector, so an interest in cars, skateboarding, motorcycles and surfing kept my friends and I fairly busy. By high school, the gang_related issues had settled down, and I had unique opportunities, like being a founding member of the Huntington Park Surf Team. But at the age of 16, my dad retired, sold his businesses in LA, and we moved five hours north, to beautiful Morro Bay.
For the first time in my life I was able to live where I surfed, and that meant a great deal to me. In Southern California, surfing has a distinct pecking order and local surfers own their beaches, or so it always seemed. Guys from inland LA like myself were never welcome in the places we surfed, it was hard on the psyche to always be second-best. In Morro Bay, I was quickly accepted with local surfers and there was nothing I spent more time doing.
Morro Bay is 12 miles from San Luis Obispo, an incredible California college/university town that might truly be the best place the state has to offer. I had been spending time with members of the anti-nuclear group Abalone Alliance, growing increasingly interested in activism, when I crossed paths with a military recruiter. I needed to do something with my life, so I did the unthinkable, I joined the Marines.
I met Bonnie when I was 18, in the Marine Corps, stationed at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in what is today, Irvine, California. Bonnie's ex-husband and I had been in the same platoon in boot camp, and he and I were assigned to the same squadron at El Toro.
My job or MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) in the Marines place my friends and I right on the edge of a very busy airfield. I was a tactical aircraft refueler, attached to Headquarters Squadron-37, Marine Wing Support Group-37.
The role of my group was to be able to assemble aluminum runways known as EAF (Expeditionary Air Field) in a combat zone, bring in the traps that catch jet fighters immediately after they land, like aboard an aircraft carrier, huge rubber bands, and then our crews brought in huge 20,000 gallon fuel bags that connected to above ground pumps and hoses, which were used to refuel the planes, sometimes while they were running, called 'hot fueling'.
In Vietnam, as I was told, the flammable bags of jet fuel would be set up far from the refueling point so that if there was a problem, a plane would not ignite the fuel bags, or vice verse.
I was also attached to MAG-70, Marine Aircraft Group 70, which was a Rapid Deployment Force. Our Marines went to Somalia once, a member of our squadron was also killed in the Embassy bombing at Beirut in 1983. Another thing I participated in at El Toro was NBC (Nuclear Biological Warfare) training which I would later learn was just a hint of the environmental disaster El Toro had grown to become.
A thousand things happened during these years, but one thing that remained steady was my friendship with Bonnie, and it was very platonic. In this time, I met a woman from Anaheim and thought I loved her, I married her and we had a son. However young marriages are often disasters, and that was the case all the way around. Shortly after I was discharged from the service, my first marriage ended and I enrolled as a college student at Cuesta College, where I majored in journalism. At the age of 21, as a Marine Corps veteran, I was a bit self-conscious, though not in a detrimental way. Bonnie had this same experience, attending Bassist College in the same timeframe, where she earned a degree in retail management.
I stopped taking classes and moved to Laguna Beach, and it was in this timeframe, when I was paying more than I should for rent, putting surfing before other priorities, that Bonnie and I began talking about the future.
Eventually, I decided to take everything I had, pack it in my VW Scirocco, and drive north for about a thousand miles. I arrived in Oregon in December 1986, and quickly made plans to attend bartending school in Portland, Oregon. Within four months, Bonnie and I were able to get married and buy our first house, in a town called Neotsu, on Devils Lake near Lincoln City. I was working at a brew pub when I crossed paths with a job opening that would change my life, and Bonnie's, forever.
In my opinion, I was no candidate for a job as a news anchor; yet I was offered exactly that, and began work at TV10, a cable TV station in Lincoln City on the Oregon coast, in March 1988.
I learned a great deal about the news business from this unique cable station, and after working there a short time, the owner, Roger Robertson, hired Bonnie. Soon we were anchoring the Evening News together, live Monday through Friday, and we sold the Scirocco and bought a stately Mercedes Benz.
This was a fun and enlightening time in our lives, we met politicians and all types of people we had never really mixed with before. Suddenly CEO's wanted to shake my hand because they recognized me from the evening news. It was a small market but a great start for what has already been a long career, with a long way to go.
Of course the MBZ was 20 years old, and it was a tremendous deal, but it was an eye opening experience for both of us. We learned to love these cars and eventually bought several different used Mercedes of different types, ranging from our first; the classic 1968 300 SE, to a newer V8 MBZ and a 240 Diesel. Bonnie and I tried to dress our best and earned the nicknames 'Ken and Barbi' among our friends, over our nighttime anchor team work and the fact that we tried to present ourselves well in a coastal town not used to TV cameras and the like.
After TV10, we started a media group with two gentlemen in Lincoln City; Mike Smith, who owned the Movietime Video chain, and Dave Kite, a local electric contractor. TV10 had some decent equipment, but it didn't have the budget for key broadcast items that were extremely expensive. Dave and Mike had the funding, so I agreed to work with them as I knew how to use the equipment and was happy to share the knowledge. Together, we produced a weekly half-hour program called 'The Coast Entertainment Show' which was a fun experience, however limited in the end. We covered beach life; fishing and surfing and coastal art, we did movie reviews and were able to use some of the earliest 'non linear' editing equipment of the time period, combined with then-relatively modern 3/4" video gear that today is obsolete, but then very much in demand for mid-range operations.
The TV show required a great amount of time and effort each week, and eventually we gave it up. I took a job waiting tables and tending bar at the historic 'Spouting Horn' restaurant in Depoe Bay, Oregon, when I heard a story about a WWII bomber that crashed on the Oregon coast... a crash that one man out of ten survived.
Bonnie and I were captivated by the story. We were told the location was Cape Lookout, about an hour north of Lincoln City, and we climbed on my motorcycle one afternoon and headed for the trail that leads to the site. Without too much trouble, we found the spot, and there were pieces of this WWII plane laying off the trail, we were amazed.
Bonnie had been hired by the local AM/FM radio station combo, KBCH/KCRF, and soon I joined the station as an evening DJ. In our spare time, we kept researching the plane crash story, learning that it was a B-17 and that the sole survivor was still alive, in Denver, Colorado. My boss at the radio station, Hal Fowler, was supportive of the documentary.
After playing records for a few months, I became the radio station's news director, and began working closely with The Associated Press, where my news writing took some quick steps forward.
The documentary work continued and after a little over a year, we managed to get the sole survivor and his wife, to come to Oregon so we could record a documentary about his survival of the crash.
Along the way we became acquainted with a man in California who was the first to report the crash in 1943, and a man in Salem who was part of the first Coast Guard search party to reach the downed plane. The three-day documentary shoot was awesome and widely supported by both people, and businesses, on the Oregon coast.
The documentary, 'Fallen Fortress at Cape Lookout', aired in 1993 on Oregon's PBS station, KOBP. It was well promoted by OPB and featured in their monthly magazine. This project should have opened doors, and it did, but the Oregon coast simply doesn't have very many media 'doors' in the first place, and opportunities are few.
Along the way, I worked for the radio station in McMinnville, Oregon, KLYC, where I served as news director, and I had a part-time job as a DJ and stand-in news director at the Tillamook, Oregon radio station, KTIL. These were all valuable experiences.
By 1995, I had been hired as news director for a new start-up TV station out of Newport, Oregon. This was promising, it almost happened, but before the station was complete, with about 50% of the equipment for the operation on hand, the funding dried up and the station never got off the ground.
That is when I took a news photojournalist position with KYMA, the NBC station in Yuma, Arizona. An old friend, former TV10 news anchor Mark Berryhill, who I replaced on the anchor desk there, had become the news director for KYMA. I worked there for two years in the hot blazing sun and I speak for my family when I say that we really enjoyed working and living there. It took three months for Bonnie and the kids to join me, that was a long separation.
Bonnie took a position with a newspaper in Yuma, but eventually came across to KYMA where she served as the station's on-air promotions director. This was good experience for her, and Bonnie began learning the complex world of TV productiin.
We explored old mines and ghost towns and spent a lot of time riding my motorcycle, a Suzuki sport bike, and we spent many weekends surfing in north San Diego County, three hours west. I became a reporter for KYMA and worked as I had at TV10, as a 'one-man-band' which is a rare position in TV news, which typically utilizes a reporter/photographer duo.
Next came a job offer to work at the Las Vegas NBC station, KVBC, which involved another separation from Bonnie and the kids, this time two-months. Here I quickly began reporting also, which was a fun experience. I covered all types of street news and Las Vegas produces an interesting array of stories, many violent.
I had unique experiences; stories at the Nevada Test Site, including the first sub-critical nuclear test since the ban was implemented; I interviewed a man wanted for homicide one morning and then escorted him into the police station to turn himself in. I met movie actors, casino moguls, rock stars, historic figures and interesting political players like the city's Mayor Oscar Goodman.
One night Bonnie accompanied me on an on-call shift when we were sent to cover Mike Tyson's biting of Evander Holyfield's ear. That night we were the first news crew in the world to inverview Mr. Holyfield about the experience. That interview led to the First-Place Spot News Award that year from the EMA.
It's kind of funny, my reporting for this station came to a screeching halt after I shot and produced a pre-approved news package about a brand-new 'head shop' near the university campus. Apparently they thought I would report that the head shop was controversial, instead I was accused of "advocating" for the newly opened retail store. I understand my news director threw a chair across the room, oops.
Bonnie found a position at an independent Las Vegas TV station, Channel 33 KFBT, where she also served as promotions director. Bonnie had many great experiences in this capacity and then was part of a merger of her independent station, with the Las Vegas WB affiliate, KVWB. This was part of the FCC restructuring under the George W. Bush administration that allowed multiple stations to be controlled by a single entity in a single market.
After I had spent a year at the NBC station, news was launched at FOX-5, KVVU, and I was hired along with a band of friends selected from Las Vegas stations, to be part of the charter news crew.
The station was a great one to work for, and I was there off and on for the next four years and worked with great people, many of whom are still friends.
This is the FOX station that had a Hummer for a news truck called 'Desert Fox', what a thing! It was my regular daily vehicle for news most of the time... a customized Hummer with a live mast, and all the notoriety of a movie star itself when we drove it down the Las Vegas strip. The station had been owned by Johnny Carson prior to my working there and had been the top-rated independent station in America before becoming a FOX affiliate.
One of the most amazing experiences working for this station in Las Vegas, came when I had the rare opportunity to fly in the F-16 for over an hour in California's Death Valley.
The pilot, an Air Force Captain, was an instructor for the Red Flag fighter weapons school at Nellis Air Force Base, it was a plane fully equipped to fire and/or drop live ordinance on the range.
We did a zoom climb to 20,000 feet after taking off, and flew 500 miles an hour at fifty feet over the desert floor, and that was fifty feet below sea level.
We did things in that airplane that I still can't believe; I was allowed to fly it with full discretion four times, and it left me with an immense respect for military fighter pilots; not for what the do in war, so much as what they physically have to endure to simply perform their job. It isn't like the movies, it is better!
This station also had non-linear editing equipment and a format new to TV then, DVCPRO, it is what I still use today. Non-linear of course is computer-based TV editing. I can not stress the difference between editing of the old days, the tape-to-tape world, and today's reality of light weight, compact computer editing with almost no moving parts.
A WWI American pilot named Frank Luke Jr. became a growing interest in this time period and I decided to produce a TV documentary about this fascinating man's life. Luke was the first U.S. Air Service pilot to be awarded the Medal of Honor. I took several trips to Luke's hometown, Phoenix, shooting video and opening doors, and then visited France, recording related sites connected to Luke, and ultimately interviewing several people in the town of Murvaux, where he was shot down and killed.
I reached the family and made arrangements to interview several key members about their historic ancestor. Freelance Oregon TV news photographer Dave Pastor, an old friend who shot the Cape Lookout documentary, came to Arizona to work with Bonnie and I on the Luke family interviews. This is an open project that I hope one day soon to complete.
We also have substantially more data on the WWII B-17 crash and that documentary is screaming to be remade in a new hour-long version with significant, additional information that has been acquired.
After five years in Las Vegas, we came back to Oregon, settling in Salem, where I freelanced news for the Portland market. It didn't take long, Portland's ABC station, KATU, offered me a position on their assignment desk, which I accepted. Soon that led to the creation of a new position for me in Salem, where I served the industry once again, as a one-man-band news photographer and reporter.
Once again I had a chance to shoot incredible stories, one of the first was to go out with the U.S. coast guard when they trained in 30-foot surf at Newport, Oregon. I strapped aboard in a survival suit and recorded amazing shots, the station loved it.
Next, I was assigned to record footage of a pedophile who had been released from a long prison sentence, and the guy ran, so I chased him and while running recorded great footage of the chase. I eventually caught the guy and more or less made him talk. Once again the station loved it and I became the guy that they sent on stories like that.
One unique experience happened when I was covering a Christmas Toy Run put together by a local Chapter of the Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club. One of the Harley Davidson motorcycles was primer gray with 'ape hanger' handlebars and a rigid frame and suicide clutch. It was the style of bike that I just happen to like.
I had recently lived in Las Vegas and every biker in Vegas seemed to want a brand new bike, this bike at the Toy Run was anything but a brand new bike, it was an old school chopper and really cool in my opinion, so I complimented the bike and surprisingly, was asked by the owner, Mike 'Tattoo' Kondash, "Do you want to ride it?"
I'd never ridden a Harley with a suicide clutch. This is a hand shift, like Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles all had in the 1950's, only the foot clutch has a return spring and once the bike is in gear, you have to keep your left foot on the clutch and when you take it off, you take off.
However I knew what it was about and told Tattoo "Yeah, I'll ride it".
With the whole motorcycle club there watching, one guy holding my KATU news camera, I reached down below my leg and grabbed the short hand shift attached to the transmission, popped it in gear, (On the old stock hand-shift models, the shifter was in a gate attached to the gas tank.) and let the 'suicide clutch' out nice and easy.
As the bike rolled down the street, the exhaust of this big v-twin was loud and sweet, it shifted like a charm because this bike wasn't really old, it had a fairly new engine and transmission, it was however old school. I rolled back to toward a group of bikers and their load of Christmas presents, but not before catching the attention of a local cop who stopped and was slowing down, watching me ride by.
I felt the prejudice for just a second, that these bikers live with every day.
I pulled up to the spot where my brief quarter mile ride began, no problemo, I was pleased at having it go so smoothly.
I am thankful that one of my specialties in life is being able to see past the clouds others create to blind us from the reality that most people are OK even when they're victims of extreme stereotyping.
In 2010, I wrote a story about perceived injustice suffered by members of another motorcycle club, a chapter of the Oregon Vagos, and this story ended up becoming important for the biker community, which almost never receives fair treatment in the press or from media in general.
It is only one of many stories of this type we have written and produced, but Southern Oregon Motorcycle Club Member Sentenced led to Bonnie and I (Salem-News.com) receiving two awards; we were awarded the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Excellence in Journalism Award was presented to us in Portland, Oregon, by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010).
It seems the club, which has very strict membership rules that are not unclear, discovered that a member was a sex offender who had not disclosed his status as such. This was a big problem in an environment where association with people who have these convictions is not tolerated. Apparently, this member was tossed out of the club, a shotgun was shown but not fired, and per club rules, he was not allowed to take his motorcycle.
I was told they always give the bike back, but it is a matter of shame. Anyway, the guy went to the police and all hell broke loose and when the Oregon Attorney General sent out his news release about the big 'biker bust' you would have thought they'd convicted Charles Manson.
It seems important to law enforcement to always pursue these groups and their U.S. Civil Rights are often the matter of contention. Now laws are being passed that classify people as terrorists and remove their rights as U.S. born citizens, it seems this is the direction federal authorities in particular are pushing, and their actions are backed by local police in many locations.
Thanks to that story I shot about the bikers for KATU, I've had the good opportunity of meeting many people in this community. The clubs are all friendly, members say forget what you see on TV, bikers today are not like twenty or thirty years ago. The suicide clutch day was the beginning of my friendship with Mike and many others. The funniest part about this bike ride is that the next time I saw Tattoo, he told me I was one of many reporters he had offered to let ride his bike before, it's just that all of the others turned him down! He says he was shocked and worried, having no idea I'd actually take him up on his offer to take the bike for a quick run. We were all glad it worked out, and I never have stopped covering news events relating to these MC clubs, often about charity and good neighborly behavior.
One of my single biggest reasons for seeing this as a good cause, beyond the fact that my Dad rode Harleys long before any of us were born, is the fact that biker clubs are really a product of war, they didn't exist until the end of WWII and they have never gone away. Oregon's clubs are packed with members who have no criminal records, and also packed with Veterans, of wars that were terrible events. Vietnam, Iraq, Korea, Afghanistan, and support from plenty of WWII Vets, biker clubs are PTSD support groups, they aid those who suffered the horror of war with a mixture of trust, brotherhood and an invigorating free lifestyle. Bikers may be all over the world, but they are as American as apple pie.
Before my time at KATU was over, I earned a First-Place Award in Breaking News from the Oregon AP for a story involving the arrest of a man in Salem who had painted his face green and robbed a retail store before a long chase in a stolen car that ended in a Salem intersection.
This was a great position at the Portland ABC affiliate, however I accumulated more news during the day than my producer could use, so I started Salem-News.com as a place to post the overflow news that otherwise was not getting out.
In almost the same timeframe of my hiring by the Portland TV station, Bonnie became employed by the Statesman Journal newspaper where she served in the unique role of 'Newspapers in Education Manager'.
In the beginning, Salem-News.com and KATU were partners, sharing news and content. The station's openness to working with our then-fledgling media group was admirable and I appreciate it.
After three years at KATU, I was offered a position at a TV station in San Francisco, KRON, where I would have worked as a one-man-band in the San Jose area. I didn't accept the job, thought about it for a day, and then gave KATU my notice. The next morning I called KRON to accept the job, and they had received a hiring freeze that morning, and that was that.
Because of this turn of events, Salem-News.com became the sole focus of my efforts, and soon I was joined by Kevin Hays, an award-winning journalist who had excelled in radio news in both San Francisco and Sacramento, before returning to his native Salem. I had a business partner in the beginning, John Strauch, but a terrible motorcycle accident he was involved in changed that. The good news is that John made a full recovery from the crash, however he was no longer in a position to work with the group as it required a several month recovery period. Bonnie was handed the keys from John and she resigned her position with the daily news.
Now it was all ours, and we have never backed down, never given up; surviving lawsuits, combat operations in two wars, publishing well over 26,000 stories (as of Feb 21 2009) and gathering a team of more than 110 writers who all believe in Salem-News.com; people who write for the sake of humanity and seeing a better day. They are outstanding writers and contributors, photographers and poets, our Web Designer Matt Lintz, who has built this site from the ground up to serve the needs of cutting-edge electronic journalism.
For some time we had a studio in Salem with a full edit suite, and the ability to produce a full online newscast which we did, but it was an immense labor and in the end we believe we gave it a good run and the next time we launch such a project, we have a better idea of what it will require, namely manpower, and that comes with funding that we someday hope to have.
I can not overemphasize our incredible what an international, national and local news magnet Salem-News has become. Prior to shooting and reporting for the Portland station, KATU, I worked there as an assignment editor. This meant that I received all of the incoming email and phone calls for the station's newsroom, while providing leads for reporters and photographers and sending them on breaking news stories.
What I receive in regard to news content today, more than rivals what I saw at KATU then, and it is because Salem-News.com covers local news and national and world news. Every day you will see an assortment of news that runs the full course but specializes in a number of regions like Palestine, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Mexico, other parts of Mexico, the UK, and many more parts of the world.
In the 1980's, when I was serving in the Marines, attending college, and discovering life, world travel was of top interest, not that I was able to get beyond Mexico at this point, but we were taken with the idea, the networks still covered world news, there were still people assigned all over the world, and today it has all changed. News is like a controlled faucet of screened information that fits the needs of the corporate and warring interests. We are the dead opposite of these organizations.
Salem-News was launched to serve local news, we did not know in 2004 that it would turn out to be a world news site with writers in 22 countries. Salem, Oregon unfortunately, is not a 'TV market' and consequently, rests midway between the Portland and Eugene markets. This means the capitol city gets little in the way of coverage, and this was the need that led to our initial existence.
Man how things changed. It was in Afghanistan that my eyes began opening up to what it all means, how dangerous and needless war is and how poorly the conflicts are waged with regard to the hearts and minds of the people in occupied countries.
There is much more, and the story continues on Page Two of this report.
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