Editorial page editor Floyd to retire; Caldwell named successor

SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2011

Doug Floyd, The Spokesman-Review’s longtime editorial page editor, will retire at the end of June, Publisher Stacey Cowles announced this week.

At the same time, Cowles announced that Bert Caldwell, a business columnist and reporter for the news organization, will become editorial page editor.

The position is responsible for overseeing The Spokesman-Review’s opinion pages and, in concert with Cowles and Associate Editor Gary Crooks, developing the news company’s editorial stance on community issues. The editorial page editor reports directly to Cowles.

Caldwell, 61, said that despite a digital transformation under way in the journalism industry, the role of the editorial page hasn’t diminished. “I think the community expects the newspaper to take a position on the issues, not necessarily as the only answer, but as a marker that stimulates more debate,” he said.

He joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984 from the Miles City (Mont.) Star, where he was managing editor and editorial writer. As a reporter and columnist in Spokane, Caldwell has focused on utilities, financial institutions and transportation, “all of which touch on significant public policy issues,” Cowles noted.

Floyd, 67, joined the Spokane Daily Chronicle in 1969 as a reporter and covered courts and politics. He was appointed editorial page editor in 1982, then spent time as both an interactive editor and ombudsman until resuming his role as editorial page editor in 2003.

In that role, Floyd has been an unwavering advocate for open government and human rights.

“One of the things I’m proudest of is we have really staked out an unequivocal position with respect to human rights,” he said. The newspaper editorialized in favor of a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, and then again urging citizens to vote against a ballot measure seeking to remove those protections.

“When we raise our collective voice at the polls, we should use it to proclaim justice, not to condone discrimination,” Floyd’s 1999 editorial said.

In retrospect, he said, he finds it “satisfying to be on what I think is the right side of a contentious issue that I think is still being battled.”

Lately, he said, it’s been disheartening to see efforts to find common ground belittled by people who hold extremist views.

“I remember a time when being mainstream was something you were proud to be called,” he said.

In retirement, Floyd plans to travel with his wife, Oweta, see more of his children and grandchildren, and work on family histories, he said.

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