Diane Dietz, the reporter who helped turn around UO, leaves the RG

This is a sad day for the University of Oregon.

Diane Dietz deserves more than a little credit for the turnaround in the honesty and competence of the UO administration that we’ve seen in the last few years. When I came to UO in 1995 the RG’s coverage of UO amounted to reprinted press releases about our wonderful administrators. You know, like what Tobin Klinger types up for “Around the O” every day.

When the RG gave Diane Dietz the UO beat, things started to change. She actually held UO’s administrators to the high standards they claimed they had. When they screwed up, she reported it on the front page. Eugene is a small enough town that your neighbors notice when you are on the front page. That pressure made the UO administration better – not that they’ll ever admit it.

Diane’s announcement is on her Facebook page here:

If you read The Register-Guard today, you may have seen my last byline. I was one of at least two reporters laid off in the latest round. It was a little sad to leave like this on a weepy, gray day. But this is journalism circa 2017 and there’s no one to blame. Quite the opposite. I was lucky to spend 30 years as one in the last generation of newspaper reporters — and to make a comfortable living doing so. I was paid to go out and pitch my heart and intellect against the rough edges of this era and to tell it as truly as I could. I saw much, learned so much and worked with spectacular people along the way.  We must do all we can to bolster and to comfort the young reporters who — while caught in the squeeze of news economics — must nonetheless provide us with the fruits of their work, the facts that we so desperately need.

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20 Responses to Diane Dietz, the reporter who helped turn around UO, leaves the RG

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    She certainly is being gracious about what has happened. Too bad she is in a dying business. I wonder if there will be anything left of the RG in 10 years.

    The fate of newspapers could serve as a warning to universities. We are probably less vulnerable, for now. But UO showing signs of a downward spiral in a deteriorating environment? Tuition, enrollment, maybe research funding.

    One can imagine a much more efficient way to package higher ed. If it happens, maybe nothing to be done.

    But places like OSU seem to be adapting better. I gag when I say that.

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  2. Fishwrapper says:

    Well, shit.

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  3. Zach V says:

    I can imagine a new I phone app. which would create far more informative articles. This is GOOD news. Reporters who oversimplify are the root of MANY MANY PROBLEMS. The only REAL news usually show up in the posts after articles these days.

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    • dog says:

      many such apps already exist
      and if you have some VR gear
      check out the NY times foray into
      this medium to present “news”

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  4. Captain Nemo says:

    I suppose this decision makes UOM even more important, even if it removes one other effective voice from the dialogue.

    I just learned that one cannot “unsubscribe” from “Around the O” if one has a uoregon.edu address. Or at least that one cannot unsubscribe from the weekly “round up”. Now I need to decide if I should send this edition to spam.

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  5. dog says:

    Once upon a time, Joni James was the higher ed reporter
    for the RG. I thought she was very good and not easily intimated. She didn’t last at that job very long before moving to a much stronger career in Orlando. But, after she left, the higher ed reporting really did slump to marketing nonsense, and Ms. Dietz did return to the earlier standard of journalism.

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  6. deborah olson says:

    I really appreciated her coverage when United Academics was negotiating our first contract with UO admin and again, during the first rocky year of the BOT.

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  7. OR Native says:

    Diane, we appreciate what you’ve done and we’ll miss you.

    Thanks and Best Wishes!

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  8. Thanks Diane says:

    Sorry to hear Diane was laid off. She was/is one of the best reporters in Eugene. She would actually investigate rather than rehash the PR. There isn’t much left of at the RG. Just some sports boosters and PR and police blotter regurgatators. I read in the RG’s Blue Chip the other day that they may drop daily delivery and the owners aren’t even sure if it’s a viable business and may sell. That news was buried at the very end of a long article celebrating nepotism, of course. http://registerguard.com/rg/business/bluechip/35313996-62/newspaper-family-embraces-digital-age.html.csp

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    • UO Matters says:

      Sports reporters are the best reporters. They love sports, but they can’t stand how corrupt it is. So they are driven to dig into every scandal – they believe sports should match their ideal. If only America’s political reporters had that same dogged passion. Diane did.

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  9. Good luck, Diane! says:

    Her post seems quite gracious and I hope Diane was treated fairly and with respect by her employer. Of course, these days, anyone can post a blog and claim to be a journalist. It’s a shame how that has impacted true professionals.

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  10. uomatters says:

    Congratulations for the snarkiest comment of the month! Please contact our schwag office for your free UO Matters coffee cup.

    And you can buy a subscription to the RG for just $5 a week, here: https://rgonline.dticloud.com/cgi-bin/cmo_cmo.sh/custservice/web/addrfind.html

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    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      UOM-when is UOM going to start offering paid subscriptions?

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    • Fishwrapper says:

      It’s swag, not schwag. SWAG is an acronym for Shit We All Get.

      As my pet peeves go with regard to language, it’s right up there with anyone who would identify Phil Knight, or any individual, as an alumni of UO…

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      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        I suggest you consult the Urban Dictionary. swag a much more interesting word than that. Hopelessly complex etiology. Funny as shit. Can’t quote here — way too many bad words!

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        • dog says:

          Would suggest that the et-i-ol-o-gy (academics can get a pay raise if they use 5 syllable words) of SWAG likely comes from the common term used in Australia for one’s baggage (or one’s personal stuff bundled together -e.g. “swagging it” in the outback)

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        • Fishwrapper says:

          Honest, Uncle Bernie, I think the usage case presented by UOM suggests a more urbane dictionary than the alternative you offer. I am not certain, but I am quite confident that the Urban Dictionary result is not what was intended, but the more mundane usage of the word.

          Which is swag.

          The Urban Dictionary etiologies are often complex, but rather than hopelessly so, they are so rich in description in the hope that the shinola shines up pretty.

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      • charlie says:

        hey, you drugged uncle phil into this thread. no need for that….

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        • Fishwrapper says:

          I offer my most humble apology. You are correct. I could have, and quite arguably should have, chosen another name of the hundreds of thousands available. I don’t know why I did that. I could have better illustrated my point by using Ann Curry as the example, as it would be even more pertinent to that pet peeve…

          Again, my most sincere apology. I’ll try harder next time.

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  11. Hedgehog says:

    Missed this. What a loss. What a great contribution she made, affecting our lives in all sorts of ways. She was BTW a great reporter on the field burning issue. She probably contributed to our all breathing more freely in burning season. Strange how someone like Diane Dietz can just be laid off, just like that.

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