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News >  Spokane

Sandpoint weekly drops editor as virus takes toll on ad revenue

UPDATED: Mon., March 30, 2020

By D.F. Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

Zach Hagadone is one of the millions in this country who have lost a job to the dreadful C-virus.

Some of the brainwashed might think his job is nonessential. But Huckleberries knows better.

Until this month, Zach was the editor of the alternative weekly Sandpoint Reader, which he helped launch in 2004. Zach wasn’t sacked. He agreed with Publisher Ben Olson that it was best to let him go for the long-term financial health of the paper. As a result, the Sandpoint area lost an articulate, fearless journalist who kept politicians and other power brokers honest. Well, as honest as they can be.

Seems the C-virus torpedoed the Reader’s ad revenue and sidetracked Zach’s career. Zach is among some 100 or more journalists laid off in the last two weeks.

“This is a really scary development in terms of the public’s ability to get accurate, sourced, locally relevant news and information from community media outlets,” Zach wrote in a Facebook post.

Some have been programmed to cheer hard times for local journalists. But Zach explains that our communities need local journos more than the national outlets “to keep them informed of what’s actually happening around here.” The hole, he said, without newspapers and reporters is being filled with “community forums” and “locals” Facebook pages, “which are dumping grounds for bogus information, rumor and speculation, and politicized nonsense.”

Contrary to what you may believe, reporters are public servants, not enemies of the people. No matter who tells you so. And how many times he repeats it.

Flash back

Coeur d’Alene banker Jimmy McAndrews remembers where he was nine years ago on the Friday before last. At 4 p.m. on March 20, 2011, wife, Julie, began a labor that would stretch to 24 hours. Jimmy and Julie had prayed for years for this child, who would become Grace Belle. On TV, North Carolina was playing for the ACC championship when Julie’s water broke. At the time, the world was crawling out of the Great Recession with the Dow Jones average just over 12,000 points. Later, at Kootenai Medical Center (the Hospital Now Known As Kootenai Health), the couple were settling in for a long labor as Jimmy prepared to watch a popular game show with a large-and-in-charge host. The program? “The Apprentice.” It starred real estate magnate Donald Trump. Whatever became of him?


Poet’s Corner: One hundred thousand in a blink,/are gone before the mind can think;/a distant land and foreign clime,/but we live too on borrowed time – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Tsunami”) … David Townsend of Coeur d’Alene was pleased when he read that special shopping hours were available for seniors. What a nice thing to do, thought he. And then realized that he was eligible … Brenda Orrmins of Coeur d’Alene had struggled for four months to obtain a passport to travel with her daughter on a long-anticipated trip to Italy. The delay fortuitously caused the mother and daughter to push their plans back to fall. So the irony wasn’t lost on Brenda when she opened a fortune cookie from Coeur d’Alene’s Panda Express on Tuesday and read: “Now is the time to fulfill your dream of traveling abroad” … Laments John Austin of Rose Lake: “Well, that figures! Gas drops below two bucks a gallon, and now we have no place to go.”

Parting shot

Chris Guggemos of Handshake Productions was on foot, waiting for a light to change, when he heard a familiar tune emerging from a teen bicyclist’s earbuds nearby: Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” The Coeur d’Alene summer concert promoter told the kid that “Rocket Man” was a hit when he was growing up in the ’70s. Replied the youth: “I love Elton John. I love this OLD music.” Chris was left with unhappy thoughts as the kid rode off. “Old,” to Generation Z, is “vintage” to those of us who are long in tooth.

You can contact D.F. “Dave” Oliveria at

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