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Monday, September 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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High Noon: To Report Or Not To Report

Addy Hatch, city editor of The Spokesman-Review, writes in response to a question from Duffer re: whether this newspaper will cover the Westboro Baptist Church protests: "My personal opinion is that — because we have the additional news hook of the Supreme Court arguments today — we should do a short companion piece saying they've announced they're coming later this month, that they have this track record of not showing up, but that local organizations and citizens are planning counter-demonstrations. As I said, that's my opinion - we'll hash it out as the day goes on and Editor Gary Graham will have the final say. If they do show up, it sounds to me like there could be some pretty big demonstrations against them at various locations so we'd cover those." Full comment by Addy Hatch below.

Question: You be the editor. Would you cover the Westboro Baptist Church protests?

I've had several discussions with people this morning about our response.

First, it's by no means certain they'll actually show up. They sent us info in 2007 saying they planned to picket the funeral of Marine Cpl. Darrel Morris here in Spokane and another service member's funeral in Yakima, and didn't show. If you Google Westboro, you'll find similar stories across the country. By getting lots of media coverage in advance of the event, they accomplish their publicity-seeking aim without spending money on airfare. Because they appear to have a very detailed itinerary in Spokane and Kootenai counties, this could be different, but we won't know until the day arrives.

My personal opinion is that — because we have the additional news hook of the Supreme Court arguments today — we should do a short companion piece saying they've announced they're coming later this month, that they have this track record of not showing up, but that local organizations and citizens are planning counter-demonstrations. As I said, that's my opinion - we'll hash it out as the day goes on and Editor Gary Graham will have the final say.

If they do show up, it sounds to me like there could be some pretty big demonstrations against them at various locations so we'd cover those.




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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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