Advocate creditors received an email Wednesday asking forgiveness of the paper’s debt, along with an offer that balances could be converted to advertising donations for local non-profits of each creditor’s choice. According to General Manager Melissa Spaulding-Ross, the request is only for past creditors, circa 2015 and prior.
The paper is securing financing from current advertisers to shore up its payments to current staff and vendors through fall.
Publisher Steven Schultz said, “From mid 2015 to early 2017, we retired over 20 percent of our debt and were set to accelerate repayments this year.”
However, the Corvallis Gazette-Times ran a story in January that alleged The Advocate was willfully not paying creditors.
Associate Editor Johnny Beaver commented, “The coverage was one-sided, for instance leaving out the part about us getting things paid off.”
Advertising revenue declined almost immediately, the most common refrain from advertisers being, according to Schultz, “We want to see what happens.” Schultz also said that while a number of advertisers have come back, “…the damage is already done.”
Beaver confided that a number of other reductions were made so that the paper can continue, many of which he described as “painful.”
Managing Editor Stevie Beisswanger said, “I am sensitive to everyone this has impacted, and want to help in whatever ways I can to get this settled, so we can concentrate on moving the paper and the community forward.”
Beaver added, “Contributing towards the health of non-profits is absolutely part of our mission. Given the chance, it would be great if we were able to turn a negative situation into a positive one for the community.”