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Publisher appoints Graham as editor of The Spokesman-Review

Gary Graham S-R editor (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)
Gary Graham S-R editor (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Gary Graham was promoted Tuesday to editor of The Spokesman-Review, filling a position that opened last week after the resignation of a longtime friend and colleague.

Graham, 59, previously the newspaper’s managing editor, takes over a news operation that soon will lose about a fourth of its staff. He said he will work quickly with a management team to find ways to deal with those cuts while maintaining the newspaper’s initiatives, including its weekly entertainment section 7, recently added radio operations and the launch of a new Web site in early November.

“Plus we’ve got the biggest presidential and gubernatorial elections in decades in less than a month,” he said.

In announcing the appointment, Publisher W. Stacey Cowles told the staff that Graham, who has been at the paper since November 2003, could “hit the ground running” and handle the changes.

“He has demonstrated sound judgment, strong journalistic skill and adherence to ethical principles throughout his career and during his years in Spokane,” Cowles said

The Spokesman-Review remains the largest news-gathering operation in Eastern Washington and the Inland Northwest, the publisher said, and “our mission is going to stay the same.”

Graham has been a newspaper managing editor for about 11 years, first in Binghamton, N.Y., and then in Spokane, where the position is the second-highest management position for news operations. He said he is excited about the prospect of handling the top spot.

“Putting out a newspaper is a heck of a lot of fun,” he said. “I really look forward to working with talented journalists and moving us into the future.”

He takes over for Steven A. Smith, who resigned last week at the same time the newspaper’s management announced it would cut about 27 employees from its news operations, part of a reduction of about 60 workers companywide. The two had worked together in Wichita, Kan., and Smith hired Graham for The Spokesman-Review’s No. 2 slot.

Readers probably won’t notice many differences in the newspaper in terms of content or direction, Graham said Tuesday. Smith probably was better known in the community because he was out front on various initiatives to make the news-gathering operation more transparent, but the two were in sync on all major decisions, he said.

“In many ways, Steve and I share the same values,” Graham said. “He and I didn’t really differ philosophically.”