21 March 2017

[print] The Oregonian To Cease Publishing "This Week"

This Week, the mid-week advertising circular published for about a decade now by The Oregonian, Oregon's largest newspaper, is soon to be no more.

The rubric has been worn by more than one publication in the greater Portland area over the last two and a half decades. During the 1990s, This Week was a light news and advertising tabloid published by a concern based in Wilsonville whose name escapes me. There wasn't much in it other than a ton of ads, but what was there was pretty good. There was a weekly column about Portland and Portland history called "Round The Roses" by Karl Klooster (fortunately these have been collected into books which are probably available at Powells) that was memorable and readable.

This Week expired sometime around the turn of the 21st Century. Eventually The Oregonian picked it up for its mid-week ad circular, which was rounded out with what they termed "The Best of FoodDay", The Oregonian's mid-week culinary section. FoodDay, to our eyes, had an uneven history over the years: It would start strong and then dwindle off as fewer and fewer interesting things got put in and it became more devoted to trend-chasing rather than exploring the culinary landscape. Over time, though, the This Week, under The Big O's auspice just kind of slowly dwindled away. Lately it's just been a plea to subscribe, sometimes with an interesting article from the Food section of The Oregonian but just as likely with something put in from a national news service or The Washington Post and half a page devoted to an adult coloring book panel.

In view of the wasting away of This Week, the edition we got today amounts to pretty much a mercy-killing:

TW was, interestingly enough, a broadsheet, the last broadsheet publication The Oregonian issued. Typically there was a big ol' Bi-Mart ad, and that was useful. So, if there's any real victim here, I'd say it would be Bi-Mart.

But if you want what little TW had to offer, you'll just have to plump for an edition of The O. And so that goes.

Though it could have ranged from four to eight pages at its height, it was only one rather stiff sheet now, as it has been for a while. The back looked like this:

A recipe for madeleines, sourced, as it would happen, from The Washington Post, an appeal to subscribe to the Fun Size Oregonian, and as much of what we oldies used to call "the want ads" as they could fit in. But, here's a thing: let's zoom in on the madeleines recipe, shall we?

It was written by Dorie Greenspan, special to The Washington Post (I guess that means she's a stringer) and is brief history of the French cake-biscuit, complete with some interpretation of the shell-shape (an homage to religious pilgrims who used the scallop shell as a badge) and the obligatory, if awkwardly-worded and inaccurate reference to Proust (referring to a short paragraph in 'one of the 20th century novelist's long books, 'Remembrance of Things Past''), paired with a tempting recipe for her own coffee-and-cinnamon inflected version (which sounds tempting to me, but probably is a horror to a purist). No worries for the tradtionalist, though; the traditional madeleine is recapitulated in that final paragraph, though amusingly noted as a 'variation'.

So, in the final edition of This Week, the only original local content is a big front-page thing telling you that this was the last This Week. The rest, they got from somewhere else, which is kind of an exegisis of the state of Portland media to me, these days. It used to be so colorful.

But then, I realized a thing. The last valuable bit of information imparted by this publication was a French baked delight famous for triggering memories that recover unremembered memory. Could the layout artist be sending a bittersweet message here?

When it comes to Portland media, most of the best is a remembrance of things past.

Abysinnia, This Week.

And so it goes.

No comments: