Hasso Hering, the longtime editor of the Democrat-Herald, is leaving the newspaper next week as part of an initiative to cut costs.
Hering, who has served as the editor of the D-H since November 1978, will work his last day at the paper on Friday, Sept. 14.
Mike McInally, the general manager of Mid-Valley Media and the editor of the D-H’s sister publication, the Corvallis Gazette-Times, will assume editing duties at the D-H as well, said Rick Parrish, the regional publisher for Lee Enterprises’ Northwest properties, which include the Democrat-Herald.
“We regret having to make decisions like these,” Parrish said, “especially when they involve top-quality people like Hasso. But at the same time, we have to make the hard decisions to resize our operations to reflect the realities of a struggling economy.”
Hering, 68, started work at the Democrat-Herald in 1977 as the editor of the paper’s editorial page and was named editor a year later. He quickly made his mark with the paper’s lively and often contrarian editorial page, a frequent prize-winner in journalism contests.
He also helped to spearhead the paper’s conversion to morning publication in 2010.
His community service included a stint on a commission to study the Oregon Legislature, an effort that helped pave the way for annual legislative sessions.
More recently, Hering helped shepherd the Democrat-Herald into the multimedia era. His daily “D-H Today” videos, filmed with a Flip camera that he holds himself, have been popular additions to the paper’s website and have attracted viewers worldwide.
Before working at the Democrat-Herald, Hering spent 10 years at the Ashland Daily Tidings, the last nine of those as editor.
“We can’t replace Hasso, and it would be silly to try,” McInally said. “But we will stay focused on our mission, and that is to offer the best news coverage of Albany and Linn County in our pages, on our website and through our mobile offerings.”
McInally added that there are no plans to combine the Democrat-Herald and the Gazette-Times. “We are committed to continuing to publish distinct newspapers for the mid-valley’s distinct communities,” he said.
Said Hering: “All my time in newspapers, I’ve secretly wondered why the owners paid me when I was having so much fun. I guess they finally wondered about that too.
“Albany and the mid-valley have been a great place to report and comment on the news all these years,” he added. “It’s been great fun to work with the talented people at our paper. I’m grateful to them for having made my job easy, and I know they’ll carry on doing the good work they do.”