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Editor's notes

Huge story in 1976: The U.S. Bicentennial

  Thirty-eight years ago, the United States experienced a wave of patriotism as it celebrated the nation's bicentennial. There were countless events and special observances throughout the year of 1976, focusing on our history, momentous events and the iconic individuals involved.

   Today, in looking at the Spokesman-Review's front page of July 4, 1976, I was caught off guard by another story that happened to gain worldwide attention at the same time of the U.S. celebration: the famous Raid on Entebbe. I had forgotten that important event occurred on July 3-4 on the other side of the globe.

   In June 1976, terrorists hijacked an Air France plane with 248 passengers and eventually forced the pilot to land at Entebbe in Uganda, where dictator and madman Idi Amin supported their cause. Many of the hostages were released unharmed, but not the 102 Israelis and Jews. The terrorists threatened to kill them unless 40 Palestinians were released in Israel. The Israelis engineered a successful and dramatic commando raid in which the hostages were safely released. The unit commander, Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, older brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was the lone commando killed in the raid.


A historic front page of the Spokane Daily Chronicle

       Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated by a Serb nationalist on June 28, 1914. The Chronicle's front page illustrates the attention paid to the events which prompted World War I.
      Today, Associated Press filed the following story of how the momentous event is being noted in Europe.
       SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Marking the centennial of the beginning of World War I in their own way, Bosnian Serbs have unveiled a monument in their part of Sarajevo to the man who ignited the war by assassinating the Austro-Hungarian crown prince on June 28, 1914. 
      At the other end of the city, the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra was rehearsing Friday for Saturday’s grand EU-sponsored performance planned as a symbolic start to a new century of peace at the place where the century of wars started 100 years ago.
      The two evidence testify to the depth of lingering divisions, with one side promoting peace to the tunes of Joseph Haydn’s “God save the Emperor” while the other erects a monument to the assassin of the emperor’s heir.

Sports Illustrated previews Hoopfest

    SI's online site served up a glowing piece on the wonders of Hoopfest. You can check it out here.

City Editor Addy Hatch in India

   Addy Hatch has had a lifetime interest in all things India, where she now is and will be for the next two weeks. Addy's traveling with one of her sisters and plans to post on Facebook. I told her I would share her travelogue-in-brief on my blog because international travel is always fascinating to read about. Here's her very first post upon arrival:

   “Not sure what I expected on my arrival in India but it sure wasn't a Muzak version of 'Total eclipse of the Heart.' At 3 a.m.”

    You can find her on Facebook at Addy Hatch Hanley. One of many things she'll be doing is meeting up with former Spokesman-Review reporter Jim Hagengruber, who works and lives with his family in India.


Readers criticize our veterans coverage

   Many of us in the Spokesman-Review newsroom receive daily telephone calls and emails from readers about a variety of issues, ranging from late or missed delivery of the morning edition and complaints about specific stories, columns or overall coverage to suggestions for stories and requests for coverage. We value the feedback and story tips and we know it is important to keep open the lines of communication with our readers.

   A couple of phone calls I received this week have remained in my thoughts because of the nature of the reader complaints. On Memorial Day, we published photographs of every Spokane-area military personnel who died while serving either in Afghanistan and Iraq. We may be the only newspaper in the country who has done this consistently each Memorial Day for the past several years. A 92-year-old veteran called me on Tuesday to tell me he and his friends were highly insulted because we didn't include any photographs of World War II servicemen who died in that epic struggle. The reader did not hold back in his criticism of us and accused us of ignoring that generation of Americans and Canadians who gave their lives in the fight to preserve our freedom.

   A couple days later, I received a second call about our coverage of WWII veterans, this time from a retired politician. He blasted us for ignoring the arrival of 89 veterans on one of the Honor Flights when they returned to Spokane International Airport the other evening. The reader said it's another example of why we are the “most liberal newspaper” in the country. “Even Harry Truman said that.” Actually, Truman called us one of the worst papers in the country at that time, not the most liberal, but that's another story. I explained to the caller that there are several Honor Flights each year taking WWII veterans on a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the war monuments and other sights and that we simply don't have the resources to cover every one of them.

  I pointed out to both of our critics that we actually focus on more substantial stories about war veterans throughout the course of a normal year. I also pointed out that last Nov. 11, we published a special 72-page section devoted to in-depth stories about many veterans, including quite a number of WWII survivors. I also explained that we routinely do stories on key anniversary dates such as Pearl Harbor Day, D-Day and Veterans Day. It often seems that no matter how much we write about WWII, it never seems to be enough.

  We mean no disrespect to those who served in the miltary or who are currently doing so. We certainly recognize our society's eternal debt to those who have and continue to defend us on several fronts. Despite the criticism we receive from time to time about our military coverage in general, I remain immensely proud of the good work that my colleagues produce.

  I am frequently reminded by readers that those who serve in the military are the ones who guarantee us a free press and the right to report as we see fit. While that is certainly true, it's also a bit more complex than that, in my view, if for no other reason than a different kind of fight for press freedom continues every day in this country in the courts and halls of government. We take none of our freedom for granted.

  Not all of our readers this week complained, of course. One wrote me an email to inform me that she spent three hours on Sunday reading the paper because there was so much good content in it.

  Finally, a nice gentlemen passed me on the street on Thursday and said, “Love your red socks, man.” So there's that.



Idaho’s School of Journalism earns first-time accreditation

  The School of Journalism and Mass Media at the University of Idaho is now the first fully-accredited journalism program in Idaho.

  The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications voted earlier this month to accredit the university's program. It is the first time such a program has been accredited in Idaho by the accrediting council and represents a significant upgrade in the school's status among U.S. journalism programs.UI is now one of 116 accredited programs

   Other accredited journalism programs in the Northwest are at the University of Washington, University of Oregon and University of Montana.

   Dr. Kenton Bird has been director of the UI program since 2003. He earned a Ph.D. in American Studies at Washington State University.


BSU journalists close out the year


  My heart is in Muncie, Indiana, tonight, where my colleagues from the BSU at the Games team that covered the Sochi Olympics are gathered for a farewell party. I miss the gang but I want to send a special shout-out to the seniors who will be graduating in a few days.

   Faculty leader Ryan Sparrow is the uncommonly serious one on the right. Students who I can identify here include Kourtney Cooper, Kathie Green, Allyson Burger, Kyla Eiler, Matt Amaro, Ryan Howe, Zach Huffman, Jeremy Ervin, Dominque Stewart and Holly Demaree. The future of journalism is in good hands.

   I offered a vodka toast to the group our last night in Moscow. They owe it to themselves to mark the occasion tonight with a final toast. Vodka optional.

Bruce Reed: a rare breed in Idaho


   Idaho native Bruce Reed, a former aide to two U.S. presidents and a vice-president, was the keynote speaker Monday night for the 17th annual awards banquet sponsored by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Rights.

   Reed recalled being in a planning meeting with President Bill Clinton. Clinton told him he should “pickled and put in the Smithsonian” because he was such a rare breed: an Idaho Democrat.

   Reed, a native of Coeur d’Alene, now serves as the president of the Broad Education Foundation located in California. He co-authored with Rahm Emanuel, currently the Mayor of Chicago, the book The Plan: Big Ideas for America.


Former S-R reporter reviews book for New York Times

  Kim Barker, a reporter for the Spokesman-Review in 1995 to 1998, reviewed a book on Afghanistan for the New York Times Book Review that will be published Sunday. The book, titled No Good Men Among the Living, was written by Anand Gopal.

  Barker is a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and wrote about her experiences as a journalist in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her book, Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan, was critically well-received. She read from her book in May 2011 at Auntie's Books.

  Barker is now a reporter for ProPublica.

  Here's a link to her review.






Maker of scarf for runner comes forward

  An unusual appeal by a Boston marathon runner worked.

  Runner Ruth  Beberman sent me an email the day before Monday's race and asked if the newspaper could help her find a woman from Spokane named Katie, who she believed created the handmade scarf that Beberman had received as part of a project launched by the Old South Knitters Club of the Old South Church in Boston. ESPN's report on the scarf project said the thought was to wrap runners in marathon blue and yellow scarves knitted with love and courage.

 Spokane resident Lorna Doone Brewer saw a Facebook post by a Spokesman-Review reporter about Beberman's plea and sent me an email in which she said she believed it was a scarf she had made.

  Beberman emailed a photo of the scarf to me and when I shared it, Brewer, recognized it as one she made for the project. “Yep!  That's it!,” Brewer wrote in an email.

  But what about Katie, right? She's Katie Louden, a longtime friend of Brewer and fellow Gonzaga University grad. Brewer had asked Louden if she wanted to help on the scarf project. Louden created a purple scarf with silver trim and gave it to Brewer to include in a box of eight or nine scarves destined for Boston. Brewer included a card that said the scarves were made by both her and Louden. Brewer surmised that the church organizers simply used a preprinted card that said, “This scarf is interwoven with love and courage” and signed it,” Katie, Spokane, WA.”

 ESPN reported the Boston church group’s goal was to knit a few hundred, but the project went viral, and by race weekend they had more than 7,000 scarves from knitters across the country and around the world.

 I provided contact information on Brewer and Louden for Beberman, who intends to thank them for the scarf.

  Oh, about the name Lorna Doone? I had to know if she was named after the cookies. When she was a teenager, her mother read Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor, published by an English author in 1869. Her mother decided she would use that name if she ever had a daughter. She's frequently asked about the possible cookie connection.

NPR reporter named dean of Montana J-School

  The University of Montana has chosen an NPR reporter as the new dean of journalism. Larry Abramson will replace former Spokesman-Review newsroom exec Peggy Kuhr, who was promoted earlier to a vice president's role at the school.

What you need to earn for a one-bedroom apartment

   The Washington Post published a story today about a report the National Low Income Housing Coalition compiled to show what the hourly wage is needed to afford a one-bedroom apartment. The story includes a U.S. map that readers can use to drill down to the county they live in.

   I checked several counties of interest:

   Spokane County: $10.50

   Stevens County: $9.06

   Whitman County: $10.37

   King County: $17.56

   Kootenai County: $11.44

   Bonner County: $11.17

Marathon runner looking for scarf maker

Ruth Beberman sports her yellow scarf made by a Spokane woman named Katie. Photo courtesy of Old South Boston Facebook page.

  Ruth Beberman, 57, is a runner who finished the Boston Marathon on Monday in 4 hours, 36 minutes. She sent me an email on Sunday, asking if we could help her find a woman from Spokane named Katie, who made her a yellow remembrance scarf. Berberman would like to thank Katie. If you happen to know Katie or have suggestions on how we might find her, please send me an email at or post a comment below this blog.

NPR correspondent’s personal look at Ukraine

NPR's Ari Shapiro shares some interesting insights from his reporting in Ukraine. The anecdotes he describes are a good reminder of how complicated it has become in Ukraine. One of the few humorous passages is about one of the happiest women he's ever met.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez loved journalism

Gabriel García Marquez was a literary giant known around the world, but in his early days he was a journalist.

The University of Texas' Journalism in the Americas blog has this interesting take on the author's regard for journalism:

 Garcia Marquez began law school in the 1950s but dropped out to become a journalist. He lived humbly in the Colombian cities of Cartagena and Barranquilla working as a reporter in local newspapers.

“It was a bohemian life: finish at the paper at one in the morning, then write a poem or a short story until about three, then go out to play skittles or have a beer,” he said in a 1996 interview with The UNESCO Courier.

He didn't stop producing journalism even after he had earned literary fame, the BBC said.

In a 1996 speech read before the 52nd General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), García Márquez called journalism “the best job in the world“:

Journalism is an insatiable passion that can only be digested and humanized by its brutal confrontation with reality. No one who hasn't suffered it can imagine that servitude that feeds on the unexpected occurrences in life. No one who hasn't lived it can even conceive the supernatural heartbeat produced by news, the orgasm of having an exclusive, the moral demolition of failure. No one who wasn't born for this and is willing to live only for this could persist on an occupation that is so incomprehensible and voracious, with an ouvre that is over after every news item, as if it were going to last forever, but that doesn't allow for a moment of peace while it starts all over again, with more ardor than ever in the next minute.

A Washington skier’s Afghan adventure

Nick Pontarolo, left, and longtime friend Casey Johnson, who works in Afghanistan, reunited for a unique skiing adventure. Photo provided by Pontarolo.

Reporter Jody Lawrence Turner interviewed Nick Pontarolo, a 33-year-old Cheney resident, who spent about $3,000 on travel, visa and accommodations to snow ski in Afghanistan. Pontarolo described his Afghanistan trip as the ultimate buddy adventure, probably the best time in his whole life.

 Pontarolo said that after trekking up to about 15,000-feet elevation on one of the mountains, he really wanted to “crack a beer” to celebrate, but couldn't since alcohol is illegal. You can read Pontarolo's own account of his trip on his blog

 For Lawrence-Turner's full story, you'll find it here, along with a photo of Pontarolo by Spokesman-Review photographer Colin Mulvany.

The list of 2014 Pulitzer winners

By The Associated Press
The 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners: 
Public Service: The Guardian US and The Washington Post 
Breaking News Reporting: The Boston Globe staff 
Investigative Reporting: Chris Hamby of The Center for Public Integrity, Washington, D.C. 
Explanatory Reporting: Eli Saslow of The Washington Post 
Local Reporting: Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times 
National Reporting: David Philipps of The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo. 
International Reporting: Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters 
Feature Writing: No award 
Commentary: Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press 
Criticism: Inga Saffron of The Philadelphia Inquirer 
Editorial Writing: Editorial staff of The Oregonian, Portland 
Editorial Cartooning: Kevin Siers of The Charlotte Observer 
Breaking News Photography: Tyler Hicks of The New York Times 
Feature Photography: Josh Haner of The New York Times 
Fiction: “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt (Little, Brown) 
Drama: “The Flick” by Annie Baker 
History: “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” by Alan Taylor (W.W. Norton) 
Biography: “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life” by Megan Marshall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 
Poetry: “3 Sections” by Vijay Seshadri (Graywolf Press) 
General Nonfiction: “Toms River”: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin (Bantam Books) 
“Become Ocean” by John Luther Adams, premiered on June 20, 2013, by the Seattle Symphony (Taiga Press/Theodore Front Musical Literature)  


AP photographer killed in Afghanistan


   Associated Press is reporting today that an Afghan police commander opened fire  on two AP journalists inside a security forces base in eastern Afghanistan, killing prize-winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran correspondent Kathy Gannon.

   Niedringhaus, 48, who had covered conflict zones from the Balkans in the 1990s to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and was part of a team of AP photographers who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, died instantly of her wounds, according to AP.

    The Washington Post story here also includes a link to a collection of the photographer's amazing work.





Human trafficking conference at Montana

  The University of Montana is bringing in leading experts, government officials and civic leaders from around the world April 15-17 to discuss the prevalence and challenges of human trafficking during the 2014 Mansfield Conference in Missoula.

  The topic is one that I became interested in last fall and just this week I attended a special presentation by expert and author Siddarth Kara, who spoke before a large crowd on the subject at Gonzaga University. I interviewed Kara for a story previewing his visit.

   The conference, “Fight for Hope and Freedom: Human Trafficking, Montana & the World,” will address how people can get involved in the fight against this international crisis.

  Sessions and workshops are free and open to the public, but space is limited. Visit for more information and to register.



Reporters specialize in Ukraine coverage

  As the world follows the daily developments in Ukraine and Crimea, scores of international journalists continue to track the breaking news. The Poynter Institute, a respected journalism think tank and training hub, put together a list of reporters you can follow via Twitter. In many instances, the reporters are providing links to their full stories via their Tweets. Most of the reporters listed aren't exactly household names, but they work for such news organizations as the BBC, ABC, Associated Press, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and the Globe and Mail in Toronto.

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Gary Graham offers newsroom insights and interviews with people of local interest.

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