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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Spokesman-Review is hiring a racial equity reporter through donations from these organizations

Nicole Ellis, center, mother of Tyler Rambo who was shot by police 14 times in 2019 holds a
From staff reports

The Spokesman-Review will hire a race relations and racial equity reporter through donations from the Michael Conley Charitable Fund and the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund coordinated by the Innovia Foundation.

The position is meant to raise awareness on systemic racism in the community, and the person who fills it will provide coverage for both The Spokesman-Review and The Black Lens.

“This is a significant opportunity for our community, and I’m excited to partner with The Spokesman-Review to bring greater awareness to the long-standing issues that have faced the black community, and other communities of color,” Sandra Williams, founder and editor of the Black Lens, said in a statement.

The reporting position will be named in honor of Carl Maxey, an “influential civil rights leader and the first prominent Black attorney in Spokane,” a news release from the Innovia Foundation said.

The Michael Conley Charitable Fund started a $50,000 matching donation challenge for the position, and Smith-Barbieri exceeded the challenge by giving $60,000, the release said.

“We’re honored to answer Mr. Conley’s call for this important collaboration to add a reporter at the Spokesman-Review dedicated to the issues most affecting Black, Indigenous and People of Color in our region,” Sharon Smith, Co-Trustee of the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, said in a statement. “It’s a primary goal of the Progressive Fund to help tear down barriers of people and groups often left behind by the burdens of inequity so they can achieve the power necessary to thrive.”

The Spokesman-Review and Innovia Foundation are working to secure ongoing funding for the position.

The paper has already partnered with organizations and community donors to pay for a number of reporting jobs, including those with beats such as rural health, state and federal politics, business and finance, and literature and arts. In addition, the paper is hoping to fund other grant-based journalism positions in the new year.

Stories from the new reporter, as well as those from the existing community-funded positions, will not be owned by The Spokesman-Review, meaning the reporter’s stories won’t be behind a paywall and can be published by any organization.

To donate to the racial equity reporter position, go to or by sending contributions to 421 W. Riverside Ave. Suite 606, Spokane, WA 99201.

The Innovia Foundation says it invests nearly $7 million into the community each year through grants and scholarships “so that every person has the opportunity to thrive.”

Smith-Barbieri “focuses on building human potential, fostering nonprofit creativity and ingenuity, helping marginalized people build their power and other quality of life issues in the Inland Northwest,” the release said.