Hermiston Herald and East Oregonian reporter Jade McDowell will step into a new role this week — as the news editor of the Herald.
McDowell, 29, has worked for EO Media Group since August 2013, first as an East Oregonian reporter, and then for both the EO and Herald once the two newsrooms merged in June 2015.
While she has handled some editorial duties for the Herald since February of 2018, McDowell will now be responsible for big-picture operations of the weekly paper.
“I’ll be looking at how the paper is working together as a whole, instead of just the next edition,” she said. “How can we make the paper better as a whole, help more people want to subscribe.”
She said she’d like to work on growing circulation, especially with a diverse population of readers.
“Younger families aren’t always traditional newspaper subscribers, but there’s a lot in the newspaper they could benefit from,” she said.
McDowell said she will continue to look to add unique sections to the Herald, like the Hermiston History and “Three Minutes With” segments, which don’t appear in any other company publications. She also hopes to open the paper to more community participation through guest columns and features.
“I think there are a lot of opportunities for partnerships with the schools, maybe working with aspiring student journalists,” she said.
McDowell will also continue to work as a reporter, covering city government and economic development in western Umatilla County for the Herald and the EO.
Daniel Wattenburger, managing editor of the East Oregonian who shared interim editor duties with McDowell through 2018, said she is a perfect fit for the job.
“Jade is an outstanding journalist,” he said. “She’s an empathetic reporter who knows how to get the most out of a story. She’s earned the respect of the community and will serve Hermiston well.”
A graduate of Brigham Young University’s journalism program, McDowell worked as a Metro editor and Opinion editor for the college paper, The Daily Universe, with internships at The Dalles Chronicle and The New York Daily News. She worked for two years as a reporter at The Dalles Chronicle before joining the EO.
Though she spent most of her childhood in The Dalles, McDowell got to know Hermiston long before she lived here — spending weekends and summers with relatives who lived in town.
“When they offered me the job at the EO, they said I could work in Hermiston or Pendleton, and I picked Hermiston,” she said. “I’m familiar with it, I liked that it was a younger, growing town, and it’s a half hour closer to home.”
Outside of work, McDowell is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is the president of the women’s organization for the young single adults congregation, for 18 to 30 year-olds.
She said she hopes Hermiston residents will contact her with ideas for the newspaper.
“I want the paper to work for the community, and be something people find useful and informative,” she said. “When people have suggestions, I want to hear them for sure.”
Contact McDowell at email@example.com or at 541-564-4536.