Spokane Is Bringing Back Its Evening Newspaper With Lots of Breaking Local News

From a post on spokesman.com by Rob Curley headlined “After almost 30 years, we’re bringing back Spokane’s evening newspaper, The Chronicle”:

As you drive across Eastern Washington, every once in a while, you’ll still capture a glimpse of a newspaper delivery tube at the end of a driveway that says “The Chronicle.” If you happen to be the editor of The Spokesman-Review, speaking at events across the area, you’ll still have people tell you, “The Review is fine, but we were always more of a Chronicle family.”

You wouldn’t even believe how many people tell you they delivered The Chronicle when they were kids. The one thing they all have in common is the fondness in their voice as they speak about Spokane’s long-gone afternoon newspaper.

The Spokane Daily Chronicle ceased publishing in the summer of 1992, but it was a shadow of its former self by that time – being produced by a combined newsroom with its younger sibling, The Spokesman-Review. That would have been unthinkable just a few decades earlier. Though the two newspapers were both owned by the Cowles family dating back to 1897, they couldn’t have been more different. Or more competitive.

It wasn’t just that one was delivered in the morning and the other hit your porch just before you got home from work. The differences were deeper than that. The Chronicle ran more local photos, was great at breaking news while not being afraid of longer reads, and was decidedly more liberal than The Spokesman-Review.

About five years ago, as The Spokesman-Review’s newsroom was being renovated, a new conference room was created specifically for the daily news meetings, a place where the newspaper’s editors could gather to discuss how stories might be told and decide which ones would make the next day’s front page. That room is called The Chronicle Room. It’s filled with memorabilia from that paper, a plate from the newspaper’s final press run, as well as photos of The Chronicle’s newsroom through several eras….

It all makes you wonder what it might be like if the Spokane Daily Chronicle could return today.

In about a month, we won’t need to wonder. Sometime during the late afternoon of July 12, Spokesman-Review subscribers who have activated their e-edition accounts will notice that a new newspaper has been delivered to them digitally, the first new edition of The Chronicle in almost 30 years.

You might be wondering why do this now? And why only publish it digitally? Well, a couple of major things are at play here.

As advertising has diminished in newspapers across the nation…the cost of producing a daily paper has largely shifted to subscribers. Over the last few years, including here in Spokane and in Tacoma, many newspapers stopped printing seven days a week. The Tampa Bay Times and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette only print newspapers twice a week, while the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette only prints once weekly….

With this came a focus on newspaper’s e-editions, which are digital replicas of newspapers that can be accessed on phones and tablets via special apps or on desktop computers and laptops….

Most chains that do this include the exact same pages in their e-editions in every city that they publish a newspaper. Nothing is changed.

We have wanted to try to add extra pages to our e-editions, as well, for all of the same reasons. It’s just that we really didn’t want to do it the same way the others were doing it. We wanted to do it in a way that would be more meaningful here in Spokane. And maybe do different things than those other newspapers were doing.

That’s when it hit us: We should bring back the Spokane Daily Chronicle.

Instead of adding just a bunch of largely irrelevant wire stories…to our morning newspaper’s digital edition, we should do it in the afternoon and fill it with lots of local breaking news, interesting stories from across Washington and Idaho, a full page of comics that are completely different than what appear in The Spokesman-Review – including many of our readers’ old favorites as well as special puzzles that you can work directly on your phone, tablet or computer.

It’s because of those new puzzles that will soon run in the resurrected Chronicle that we’re announcing all of this right now. In today’s edition of The Spokesman-Review is a special section filled with puzzles. Included in that section is a sneak peek of the puzzles that will soon hit your email box each weekday via The Chronicle e-Edition.

We’re going to be talking a whole lot more about The Chronicle over the next few weeks. We have stories coming that dig into the beloved afternoon newspaper’s past and its role in our community’s history. We have lots of little surprises planned that will lead to the return of The Chronicle during the second week of July.

As we have worked on this, we have met with numerous former editors and reporters from the Spokane Daily Chronicle. We kept tweaking and adding to it until we had something that the paper’s original journalists said invoked the spirit of what the newspaper might be like if it were around today.

So, if you were one of those “Chronicle families,” your favorite newspaper is coming back to Spokane. Even if only digitally. However, the best part might be that those of us who have never experienced the joy of reading a local evening paper after the day has settled will finally get that chance.

Long live The Chronicle.

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