Editor’s Notebook: Reflections of a thankful observer
-August 31st, 2017
Being born into a newspaper family, and working at weekly newspapers from the time I could handle a broom and dust pan or carry out other printer’s devil duties, I knew before I’d finished elementary school what I wanted to do when I grew up.
Many young people decide early on that they have no interest in following in their parents’ career footsteps. Blessed with decent language skills, thanks to a mother who was an educator, reading enthusiast, and merciless good-grammar enforcer, I felt no such aversion.
I was struck by the power of the printed word at a young age when someone unhappy with something my father had published left a stack of burned tires, along with a nasty anonymous note, in the front yard of our home in the quiet southeastern Idaho farm town where I grew up.
Also, I was drawn to the oddly comforting ink-and-hot-lead aroma and clickety-clack sounds of Linotype machines that emanated from the back shop of the small newspaper my parents owned there. The Linotypes were among a number of Rube Goldberg-like contraptions used at the paper that a boy of my age then couldn’t help but find fascinating, and I learned to operate most of them. The largest of those was a monstrous flatbed press that, when churning out the printed sheets, made the building’s old wooden floor shake.
Some of those early impressions from a lifetime in newspapering and journalism have come rushing back as I prepare to retire from the Journal at the end of this week, relinquishing the editor’s duties to Linn Parish.
Fresher, equally gratifying memories involve the events I’ve covered, the talented colleagues I’ve been blessed to work with, and the people and businesses I’ve written about during 10 years at the Spokane Daily Chronicle and Spokesman-Review and the 28 here at the Journal.
It’s been fascinating as an objective observer, and uplifting as someone who lives here, to see the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area transform for the better over those nearly four decades, and rewarding to be able to help keep readers informed about those changes.
Major changes that come immediately to mind include the development of the River Park Square shopping mall and the reenergizing impact that had on downtown Spokane, creation of the now-bustling health care campus and University District near the east end of downtown, and the emergence of Kendall Yards to the west. Wrapping up well after I’ve left my position here will be the also hugely important redevelopment of Riverfront Park.
At the Journal, I’m grateful for the business owners, professionals, and others who have granted members of our news team access over the years to report on the smaller
successes—the “bread and butter” of our coverage—that are truly what keep the economy here percolating.
Even at a time when printed newspapers are in decline, and the wondrous, booming “hot lead” days of newspapering seem so very long ago, I’m confident the Journal will be fulfilling that mission for a long time to come.