Greg Bolt was a longtime reporter for the Register Guard. He had the UO beat before Diane Dietz, and he wrote wonderful exposees like these:
Feb 2011: Pernsteiner’s TreeTops mansion:
Perched on a hill in one of Eugene’s toniest neighborhoods is the one-time mansion known as Treetops. Once the home of one of the town’s wealthiest merchants, it has been the home of the OUS chancellor since the owner gave it to the state university system in 1938.
In fact, the deed requires that the 8,111-square-foot house be used only as the official residence of the either the OUS chancellor or the president of the University of Oregon. … In fact, the university system pays him an extra $26,000 a year, on top of his salary of $280,900, as a housing allowance, at least in part because he has to divide his time between the various campuses in Portland, Corvallis and Eugene. He also receives about $36,000 a year for expenses and deferred compensation.
May 2011: Hidden athletic subsidies:
The agreement requires the UO to run the Jaqua Center “at the leading edge of academic excellence” by substantially increasing staff and services. The cost of providing those services comes from the UO’s academic budget, not from the athletic department. It comes to almost $2 million a year, which works out to about $4,000 per student-athlete.
It’s difficult to come up with a comparable calculation for nonathletes because academic advising and tutoring are spread out across the budget. But the UO puts about $4.5 million a year into its undergraduate studies department, which includes the Teaching & Learning Center, academic advising, first-year programs and others.
That works out to about $225 per undergraduate. …
And it isn’t clear whether the revenue from the Jaqua gift will be used to cover the costs paid by the athletic department, those paid by the general fund, or both. While any reduction in the amount going from the academic budget to athletics probably would be welcomed by critics, the Jaqua gift will cover only about 10 percent of total operating costs. [Ed: The money is going to athletics].
But the newspaper business is cutting back, and government agencies all across the country are using the opportunity hire the reporters that used to do investigative reporting on their agencies, and put them to work writing PR fluff. There’s no way this serves the public interest, but the combination of falling media revenue, and government bureaucrats that are willing to use the public’s money to put a happy face on their own mis and malfeasance is tough to resist.
So now Greg Bolt is working for UO’s Office of Strategic Communications, churning out PR pieces like this one on the development of UO’s exciting new mission statement. Who is now going to help keep the UO administration honest? Diane Dietz is swamped – and any rational reporter has to be thinking about how tough they want to be when digging into the misdeeds of an agency that may well end up as their employer of last resort.