The Redmond Spokesman is a weekly newspaper published in Redmond, Oregon. The paper serves the city of Redmond and neighboring communities in northern Deschutes County, focusing on local news and events. It has a circulation of about 4,300. The Spokesman was founded in 1910 by Henry H. Palmer. Today, the paper is owned by Western Communications, a publishing company with newspaper holdings in Oregon and California.
The Spokesman is weekly newspaper that serves the city of Redmond and northern Deschutes County. The paper is published every Wednesday. It is a community newspaper that primarily covers local area news, sports, business, and events. Most of the paper’s advertising is local as well. As of 2010, The Spokesman had a circulation of approximately 4,300. The paper maintains an online presence through redmondspokesmanonline.com, a web-site that has feature articles, local announcements, a current events calendar, and obituaries.
The Spokesman is the oldest continuously operated business in the city of Redmond. It was first published on 14 July 1910. The paper’s first publisher was Henry H. Palmer. He had previously published a newspaper in the neighboring town of Tumalo. Palmer operated the newspaper with his wife Clara, who was also an experienced journalist.
In September 1911, the Palmers announced that The Spokesman had acquired a new press and paper cutter to improve newspaper printing and production. A typesetting machine was added a short time later. In January 1912, the new 1,200 pound linotype machine was installed to further improve the operation. However, on 26 Feb 1912 a fire started in a neighboring hardware store. The fire spread to adjacent buildings, burning down a grocery store, a bakery, a furniture store, and The Spokesman office. Despite the fact that the loss exceeded their insurance coverage by $4,000, the Palmers were able to keep the newspaper going by using the presses at Redmond’s other newspaper, The Oregon Hub and at the The Bulletin in nearby Bend to print The Spokesman while new equipment was ordered.
After several months in temporary quarters, the paper moved into a new stone building on the old office site. When new equipment, including another modern linotype machine, was installed the Palmers began printing The Spokesman in their own production facility again. The sign on top the new office building announcing the home of "The Redmond Spokesman" was 3 feet (0.91 m) high and 24 feet (7.3 m) long.
The Spokesman was Redmond’s second paper. Its competition was The Oregon Hub, which was founded in 1909. A third community paper, the Redmond Enterprise, began publication in 1913. In 1914, the Palmers bought out the other two newspapers, leaving The Spokesman as Redmond’s only newspaper.
The Palmers sold The Spokesman to M.W Pettigrew in 1916. The change in ownership was announced in the 17 February edition of the paper that year. Pettigrew had been in the newspaper business in Kansas, but had moved to central Oregon to become a farmer. He was the publisher and editor of the paper until 1920, when he sold the business to Douglas Mullarky.
Mullarky was an experienced newspaperman, having been a reporter for The Hub and the founder of the short-live Redmond Enterprise. He published the The Spokesman until 1922. Mullarky sold the newspaper to W. B. Russell and J. Edger Bloom. Bloom and his wife bought Russell’s share in the newspaper in 1925. The Blooms ran the business until November 1931, when they sold it to Joe and Mary Brown.
The Browns owned and published The Spokesman for the next forty years, first as a couple and then Mary alone. Both of the Browns were graduates of the University of Oregon. Under their leadership the paper won the prestigious Hal E. Hoss memorial trophy three times in five years in the mid-1930s. Sponsored by the University of Oregon School of Journalism, the Hoss trophy honored the best weekly newspaper in the state of Oregon. After The Spokesman won it for the third time, the trophy was retired and presented to Joe Brown at a ceremony in Redmond.
In 1939, the Browns built a new facility to house their newspaper operation. The building was constructed on two adjoining lots located on 6th Street between C and D streets in downtown Redmond. The new building was one-story, built in the streamline moderne style. It had a 50 feet (15 m) façade and was 60 feet (18 m) front to back. The building provided office space for the newspaper staff as well housing the print shop.
In 1942, Mary Brown was elected president of the Oregon Press Conference while her husband was serving in the United States Navy. In 1955, she became sole owner of The Spokesman. She continued to running the business until 1971.
In June 1971, Mary Brown sold the The Spokesman to Western Communications, Inc. The first publisher after Western Communications took ownership of the paper was Robert Moody. He stayed until 1975, when Carl Vertrees became publisher. Vertrees ran the paper for twenty-six years, winning the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association’s Carl C. Webb award for long-term public service in 1992. When Vertrees retired in February 2001, Gary Husman moved from general manager to publisher. In 2010, Husman was elected president of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.
In November 2012 Western Communications laid off a significant portion of the Redmond Spokesman staff and announced they would no longer be reporting "hard news" for the Redmond community.
Today, The Spokesman remains part of Western Communication’s family of publications which includes five other Oregon newspapers and two California papers. Western Communications was founded by publisher Robert W. Chandler. It is headquartered in Bend, Oregon, twenty miles south of Redmond. In addition to The Spokesman, Western Communications publications include:
- Baker City Herald, published in Baker City, Oregon
- The Bulletin, published in Bend, Oregon
- Central Oregon Nickel Ads, published in Bend, Oregon
- Curry Coastal Pilot, published in Brookings, Oregon
- The Observer, published in La Grande, Oregon
- The Daily Triplicate, published in Crescent City, California
- The Union Democrat, published in Sonora, California
- Henry H. Palmer and Clara L. Palmer, 1910–1916
- M. W. Pettigrew, 1916–1920
- Douglas Mullarky, 1920–1922
- J. Edger Bloom, 1922–1931
- Joe C. Brown and Mary Conn Brown, 1931–1955
- Mary Conn Brown, 1955–1971
- Robert Moody, 1971-1974
- Carl Vertrees, 1975–2001
- Gary Husman, 2001–2011
- Steven Hawes, 2011–present