E. Curtiss Pierson, who died April 2 in Warren, Vt., deserves recognition.
Curt, 79, edited the Spokane Daily Chronicle from 1981-83, and from 1983 to 1986 was the first editor of the combined Chronicle and Spokesman-Review.
Curt came to the Chronicle from the Bremerton Sun with a mandate to mend the messes caused by the paper’s previous managing editor, his wife, and Spokane’s infamous South Hill rapist, Kevin Coe. Curt was managing editor when Ruth Coe, the mom/wife, was arrested for trying to hire a hit man to kill her son’s prosecutor and judge.
Curt’s tenure preceded the transformation in news gathering wrought by the Web and social media, which bring to mind Canadian scholar Marshall McLuhan’s observation 50 years ago that “the medium is the message.” But Curt cared more about quality and content than news packaging. He encouraged strong daily reports, but also thorough analysis of area college turf wars, and the ill-fated Washington Public Power Supply System.
Curt subsequently edited papers in Middletown, N.Y., and Gainesville, Fla., before retirement. Often, Curt toasted colleagues and closed notes with his trademark “Cheers.” Those who remember his wit and penchant for quality journalism say, “Cheers, Curt. We won’t forget you.”