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Rob Curley: As The Spokesman-Review’s new editor, I can’t wait to be this newspaper’s old editor

It’s amazing to get to work in one of the most iconic buildings in the Inland Northwest. But it’s even more amazing to be a part of one of the last great local newspapers in this nation.

That might sound like hyperbole. It’s not.

It’s no secret newspapers are in transition. Many of this country’s daily newspapers have survived largely through consolidation and deep cuts.

Hedge funds now own many newspapers. Huge media conglomerates – not based anywhere near here – own most of the others. And those hedge funds and corporations don’t care about communities. They only care about their bottom lines and stock prices.

That’s why working at The Spokesman-Review is so different. It’s why I moved my family across the country to be here. The family that owns this company actually lives in this community. Spokane is their hometown and has been for generations. And, even after more than 100 years, they still care deeply about this newspaper and the vital role it plays in this area.

Knowing this, we all wondered what might happen if we built a plan around not only surviving, but thriving. What if we wanted to be better and actually meant it? Newspapers around the country make all sorts of changes every year and try to tell their readers that it’s going to be better – that they’re doing more with less.

That’s not true and we all know it.

Well, we have a different strategy. We’re going to do more with more.

Over the past few months, we’ve added many more pages to our newspaper. Several days each week, the largest daily newspaper by page count in both Washington and Idaho is The Spokesman-Review.

We’ve expanded the space we devote to national and international news, and we plan to add even more. Our subscribers deserve not just the most in-depth local coverage, but the best from across the planet – written by some of the most talented journalists in the world.

Historically, The Spokesman-Review has always had an impressive photography staff. We believe in our heart it’s one of the best photo staffs of any newspaper in America.

We’re not alone in that belief. In November, our photo staff was awarded the top photographic honors from the Associated Press, competing against newspapers across several states in the Pacific Northwest.

We’ve massively increased the number of photos we run every day, both in our newspaper and on our website. When you live in a place as beautiful as the Inland Northwest, you have to tell stories with fantastic photography.

Over the past month, we’ve added more local reporters to our newsroom. And there are plans to add even more in 2017. We want to give you more local business, real estate and economic coverage, many more health stories and much more from our neighborhoods and schools.

This newspaper has always covered Gonzaga hoops as one of the premier collegiate basketball programs in the nation. But we knew we should do even more. We’ve assembled a group of talented sports journalists to cover the Zags in a way that will more than rival those who cover powerhouses like Kentucky and North Carolina.

There isn’t a college basketball program in the country that is covered the way The Spokesman-Review now covers the Zags.

Documenting the living history of this community is such a great honor for us. We live here. We love this place, too. We want our finest days to be in front of us, not behind us.

My hero is an incredibly influential small-town newspaper editor – an editor from another generation whose wisdom and beliefs feel as relevant now as when he was alive. William Allen White spent almost his entire adult life as the editor of The Emporia Gazette in Kansas. In his first note to readers in 1895, he wrote: “In the first place, the new editor hopes to live here until he is the old editor …”

Those words may be more than 100 years old, but they ring true for me today.

The big difference is, I get to do it in that beautiful building on the corner of Riverside. You should come visit us someday. I’d love to show you around and introduce you to some of the finest journalists in Washington.

Rob Curley became the editor of The Spokesman-Review in September. He has previously held leadership positions at The Orange County Register, Las Vegas Sun, Washington Post and Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World.

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