Eugene Weekly Makes Defiant Return with 30,000 Print Run, Says (Affectionately) ‘Here’s Your Damn Paper!’

The Eugene Weekly, an Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) member, returned to print this week. This comeback of the Eugene, Ore.-based news and entertainment weekly is a narrative about the role of local, independent journalism and support from a community determined to preserve it.

Six weeks ago, the Eugene Weekly faced a crisis. A shocking revelation of embezzlement and financial mismanagement by a trusted employee left the publication in a precarious position: no money, massive debt, and the daunting prospect of discontinuing their print edition. The future of the Eugene Weekly hung in the balance.

“We had no money, massive debt, and hope that if we told the community what had happened, they would help us,” wrote Editor Camilla Mortensen. “Within hours of our announcement — and answering the question of ‘Where’s the Damn Paper?’ other media stepped in to cover the story, and the community began to fundraise.”

Via individual contributions, a GoFundMe campaign, direct donations, and fundraisers at local businesses, the Eugene Weekly raised approximately $150,000. This groundswell of support didn’t just come from Eugene; it spanned across the United States and even reached international supporters. Coverage by local media and national news outlets such as the New York Times, AP, and the Washington Post played a crucial role in amplifying Eugene Weekly’s plight and the subsequent fundraising campaign.

Now up and running again with four full-time and two part-time employees, the Eugene Weekly printed 30,000 copies for this week’s edition with an online announcement headlined “Here’s Your Damn Paper!” The ongoing investigation into the embezzlement underscores the gravity of the betrayal Eugene Weekly experienced. The paper’s return to print highlights the publication’s commitment to transparency and accountability to its community and supporters, including other AAN members and the Alternative Newsweekly Foundation, which offers fiscal sponsorship for reader-giving programs.

AAN commends Eugene Weekly and its commitment to delivering local, independent journalism. This episode serves as a reminder of the vulnerabilities faced by publications like ours and the profound impact community support can have. Like many stories about local, independent media thriving on community support during the pandemic, Eugene Weekly’s story offers hope for all independent publishers facing challenges. Their return to print is a victory for the publication, local journalism, and the community they all serve.

[Top photo courtesy Eliza Aronson]