Reading through the archives of this blog, you'll see that there are a few popular topics I like to write about. One of them is the downfall of the newspaper industry. I recently had an online conversation with the new Business section editor at The Oregonian which only strengthens my grim outlook for a dying industry.
As some of you know, I have been working hard to build my own startup company. Nearly 2 years now and we are finally getting some real traction. Big news is on the horizon. During this time, I have become aware of many other Portland startups. Unfortunately, it seems as if these companies don't get much attention from The Oregonian newspaper.
A recent example is when my company teamed up with another Portland startup, GadgetTrak, to produce an innovative project called "stolen camera finder." It was interesting enough for the New York Times, Economist magazine, Popular Photography magazine, TechCrunch, Gizmodo and others. We sent information to the Oregonian's tech business writer and I even spoke with him on the phone about the project during a call for a different story. Nothing, no story. Apparently the Oregonian is too good for a story that the New York Times and TechCrunch like.
However, the Oregonian did have space in their paper for a July story about an eccentric millionaire that has sunk nearly $1 million into the development of a shaving razor that sells for $100,000 each (yes, you read that correctly, one hundred thousand dollars). Then, in late August, the Oregonian did a follow up story with "news" that the company has now produced an $18,000 model of their high-end razor. According to the August 25th article, not a single unit had been sold at either price point.
In the meantime, real Portland startups are building world-changing products, earning revenues, hiring employees and otherwise succeeding. When was the last time you read about that?
So when the second razor article hit the Oregonian's web site, I took issue with both the author (who I respect greatly) and his boss, the Business Editor. Here is our Twitter exchange, archived thanks to a cool company called Storify (which isn't from Portland):
What is your take, Portland? Was I wrong to question the Oregonian's coverage of this gimmick razor business or do they in fact do enough coverage of Portland startups?
Update, 9/24/11: The Oregonian today published a story about Geoloqi, one of the companies I mentioned in the comments below because I felt they didn't get the attention they deserved. Here is the story.