The Malheur Enterprise has new owners as of Oct. 1.
Rick Nelson, publisher since 2006, has sold the newspaper to a trio of journalists with long experience in Oregon community newspapers. Nelson is retiring and plans to travel.
Operating as Malheur Media LLC, the new owners are Scotta Callister, retired editor of the Blue Mountain Eagle in John Day; Les Zaitz, her husband, who is the investigations editor at The Oregonian; and his brother Lyndon Zaitz, publisher of the Keizertimes, a community weekly adjacent to Salem.
From left to right: Scotta Callister, Lyndon Zaitz, Les Zaitz
They said the Enterprise will continue as a weekly publication with its focus on news that’s important to Malheur County residents. A new website and social media elements also are in the works to give area residents quicker access to local news. A new Facebook page already has been launched.
Callister will succeed Nelson as publisher. In her tenure at the Eagle and Keizertimes, she has won numerous awards for editorial and news writing, and has been an active community volunteer. she has been on the Chamber of Commerce and county library boards in Grant County, and also is active in a pet rescue organization.
She plans to be in the Vale office weekly to run the editorial side and also meet with readers and advertisers.
Lyndon Zaitz will be general manager while continuing his publisher role at the Keizertimes. He comes to the post with 21 years of experience in marketing, advertising, and editorial writing, and is a current board member for the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.
He also is an active community volunteer. He is a member of Rotary and has been the driving force of a community festival and a community nonprofit in Keizer.
Les Zaitz, a two-time Pulitzer finalist and winner of multiple journalism awards, will serve as advisor.
Callister said that Nelson’s brother, Gaylerd Landreth, also is retiring as general manager at the Enterprise but no other staff changes are planned.
The Enterprise, she said, will continue to home in on the issues that are important to Malheur County residents, with renewed emphasis on local government, organizations, and particularly the schools – a focal point for the communities.
“Children, schools and youth activities are more than just ‘refrigerator news’ for us,” she said. “They reflect community life and values, and our hopes for the future.”
Callister and her husband, who live on a ranch near Austin Junction, also recognize the critical ssues facing rural economies. The newspaper will continue to cover agriculture, mining, and public lands– examining the impacts for residents across the county.
“Eastern Oregon communities, particularly in border counties like Malheur, face unique challenges to their livelihoods. There’s nothing simple about resource-based economies in today’s world,” Callister said. “Our job at the newspaper will be to inform the community about the issues, and to help chart a course toward sound solutions.”
General Manager Zaitz said he looks forward to helping local business people find success.
“We’ll be reaching out to those merchants to talk about how we can help them reach customers and build their business,” he said.
The new owners plan a gathering for the public on Oct. 15 in Vale. Watch for details in next week’s Enterprise.
289 A Street W • Vale, Oregon 97918
Ph: 541.473.3377 • Fax: 541.473.3268