|2012 Silver Circle Inductee Jeff Douglas|
In the 1980s a news director told me he didn't want to do the news any differently, he wanted to be number one by just doing it better.
My response: "Different isn't always better but better is always different."
What I meanÔÇöin the context of today's journalismÔÇöis that we need more experimentation and risk-taking. There's way too much of everybody covering the same thing in about the same way. Go find the story everybody else isn't reporting!
Jeff Douglas is retired from a career in broadcasting that spanned more than 43 years in Oregon. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1968, he came to Oregon and later that year co-founded and became program director of KINK radio. It was the perfect job because, as he says, he had a great passion for music but no talent.
In the 1980s, Jeff worked at KGW-TV primarily as a producer. While there, he covered two fascinating stories: the eruption of Mt. St. Helens and the establishment of the Rajneeshee commune in central Oregon. By the end of the decade he was disappointed in the direction television news was headed with shorter stories, more crime reports, sensationalism and meaningless live shots.
Fortunately, the perfect opportunity came along at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Jeff had been a canoeist and outdoor enthusiast his entire life and OPB had just started an outdoor television program called Oregon Field Guide. So he spent the decade of the '90s traveling to all corners of Oregon, exploring its unmatched scenery and delving into the issues surrounding the environment and economy.
His first story involved capturing and relocating bighorn sheep and he ended his Oregon Field Guide experience by proposing and supervising a documentary and public information campaign highlighting the threat caused by invasive plants and animals. The resulting program, The Silent Invasion, won the duPont-Columbia University award for outstanding television journalism, the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer prize.
For some time, Jeff championed for OPB-TV to create another program similar to Field Guide, except focusing on local arts and culture. In the spring of 2000, he produced a 10-episode pilot of Oregon Art Beat. He first served as executive producer of the program and soon became its co-host. He continued in that capacity until his retirement in September of 2011.
In addition to his Art Beat duties, Jeff was vice president of all OPB local television productions and was instrumental in creating Oregon Experience, a series on Oregon history produced in partnership with the Oregon Historical Society.
In retirement, Jeff plans to travel (he visited Botswana last fall) and continues to enjoy the Oregon outdoors on foot and by canoe. He also plans to get his golf handicap to single digits. He is a resident of Tigard and a new member of the board of directors of the Tualatin Riverkeepers, dedicated to protecting and restoring the Tualatin River and its watershed.