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The Spokesman-Review hires James Hanlon to cover rural counties through Report for America program

UPDATED: Tue., May 10, 2022

James Hanlon has been named The Spokesman-Review's latest Report for America corps member. Hanlon will report on rural issues in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.  (Courtesy)
James Hanlon has been named The Spokesman-Review's latest Report for America corps member. Hanlon will report on rural issues in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. (Courtesy)

The Spokesman-Review is proud to introduce James Hanlon as our new Report for America corps member.

Beginning next month, Hanlon will join the news team to report on issues of importance to rural Eastern Washington and North Idaho. Hanlon previously reported for the Oxford Leader in Oxford, Michigan, and his work has appeared in the Kyoto Journal; Tokyo Cheapo, a traveler’s guide to Tokyo; and the East-West Center’s Asia Matters for America.

“Telling the stories that need to be told that aren’t being told is one of the best traits of a good local newspaper. With each newsroom position we’ve received through Report For America, that is exactly what we have been able to do: tell the untold stories,” Spokesman-Review Editor Rob Curley said. “What makes this new position so exciting for us is that now we can focus more on finding stories in the counties around us that need to be found.”

Hanlon’s beat will be geographically large and topically deep. He will cover breaking news and features and investigative stories in counties such as Stevens, Pend Oreille, Ferry, Whitman, Bonner and Boundary.

Hanlon is The Spokesman-Review’s fourth Report for America corps member, and will join third-year government reporters Laurel Demkovich, based in Olympia, and Orion Donovan-Smith, our Washington, D.C., correspondent.

“When you look at James’ background and the kinds of stories he’s been able to tell, you know he’s going to be a great fit in this new role,” Curley said. “He will be there for the big breaking stories and the important looks at local government, but it’s all of the other interesting things and people in these areas that really make this role such a great fit with our newspaper and its mission.”

This year, the Report for America reporting corps will number 300 journalists, which includes those returning for their second and third years. They join more than 200 local news operations in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam.

“Report for America provides a unique opportunity for journalists to pursue meaningful, local beat reporting that sadly is missing from many of today’s newsrooms,” said Earl Johnson, director of admissions at Report for America, in a news release. “Together, our emerging and experienced corps members will produce tens of thousands of articles on critically undercovered topics – schools, government, healthcare, the environment, communities of color and more.”

Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues and communities. It is an initiative of the GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit journalism organization.

Rural coverage is a particular area of emphasis for Report for America this year. Kim Kleman, senior vice president of Report for America, told The Spokesman-Review in December that a quarter of newsrooms supported by the organization in 2022-23 will be in rural areas or will have rural beats.

Report for America pays for half of a reporter’s salary the first year and a smaller percentage in the second year. The program sometimes provides funding in a third year. The goal is for a news organization to fund the position on its own after Report for America’s financial support ends.

The reporting of Hanlon, Demkovich and Donovan-Smith is made possible by generous donations from community members. You can support their reporting by visiting to subscribe or make a donation.

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