The Spokesman-Review
TypeDaily newspaper
Owner(s)Cowles Company
PublisherWilliam Stacey Cowles
EditorRob Curley[1]
FoundedJune 29, 1894; 129 years ago (1894-06-29) in Spokane, Washington, U.S. (merger)
Headquarters999 W. Riverside Ave.
Spokane, Washington
CountryUnited States
Circulation56,629 (as of 2022)[2]
OCLC number11102529

The Spokesman-Review is a daily broadsheet newspaper based in Spokane, Washington, the city's sole remaining daily publication. It has the third-highest readership among daily newspapers in the state, with most of its readership base in eastern Washington and northern Idaho.


The Review Building and tower was designed by Chauncey B. Seaton to make use of the unusually shaped plot and make it prominent in the center of Riverside Avenue. Seen here in 1907 and 2012.

The Spokesman-Review was formed from the merger of the Spokane Falls Review (1883–1894) and the Spokesman (1890–1893) in 1893 and first published under the present name on June 29, 1894.[3][4] The Spokane Falls Review was a joint venture between local businessman, A.M. Cannon and Henry Pittock and Harvey W. Scott of The Oregonian.[5][6] The Spokesman-Review later absorbed its competing sister publication, the afternoon Spokane Daily Chronicle.[7][8] Long co-owned, the two combined their sports departments in late 1981 and news staffs in early 1983.[9] The middle name "Daily" was dropped in January 1982,[10][11] and its final edition was printed 32 years ago on Friday, July 31, 1992.[7][8]

The newspaper formerly published three editions, a metro edition covering Spokane and the outlying areas, a Spokane Valley edition and an Idaho edition covering northern Idaho. After a large downsizing of the newsroom staff in November 2007, the paper moved to a single zoned edition emphasizing localized "Voices" sections staffed primarily by non-union employees. The "Voices" section still caters to the three original editions, publishing a Valley "Voices," a North Spokane "Voices" and a South Spokane "Voices."

Owner of both papers since 1897,[9] W.H. Cowles set the Chronicle on a course to be independent and The Spokesman-Review to support Republican Party causes. Time magazine related the papers' success gaining lowered rates for freight carried to the Northwest and an improved park system and that helped the region. Increasing its reputation for comprehensive local news and by opposing "gambling, liquor and prostitution," The Spokesman-Review gained popularity. The paper's opposition to building the Grand Coulee Dam was not quite so universally applauded, and when it opposed the New Deal and the Fair Deal, it so disturbed President Harry Truman that during a visit in 1948 he declared The Spokesman-Review to be one of the "two worst" newspapers in the nation (Chicago Tribune, the other).[12][13][14] The Scripps League's Press closed in 1939, making Cowles the only newspaper publisher in Spokane. Cowles created four weeklies, the Idaho Farmer, Washington Farmer, Oregon Farmer, and Utah Farmer.[15] Cowles died in 1946. When William H. Cowles Jr. succeeded his father as publisher, James Bracken received much more news and editorial control as managing editor.[15]

The Spokesman-Review has been described as moderate-to-liberal, especially in issues around hate groups in the region. In 1997, three extreme-right militants were tried and eventually convicted of bombing the Spokane Valley office of The Spokesman-Review as well as an abortion clinic (see Citizens Rule Book).[16]

The Spokesman-Review is also one of the few remaining family-owned newspapers in the United States. It is owned by Cowles Company, which also owns KHQ-TV/Spokane and The KHQ Television Group. While the newspaper wins awards, it also draws opposition from local critics and activists who suspect the Cowles family of using its alleged vast local media influence to sway public opinion. In particular, a (1997–2004) issue regarding a public-private partnership wherein the Cowles family may have profited, some claim, up to $20 million. This is referred to as the "River Park Square Parking Garage" issue. The newspaper underwent an independent review by the Washington News Council regarding its River Park Square coverage and was found to be at fault for its news bias.[17][18]

In 2004, Spokane mayor James E. West became the target of a sting operation conducted by The Spokesman-Review.[19][20] Some journalists and academics criticized the paper for what they saw as a form of entrapment.[21] West was later cleared of criminal charges by the FBI but not before the mayor lost a recall vote by the citizens of Spokane in December 2005;[22][23] the following summer, West died of cancer.[24][25][26]

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, as reported in the Puget Sound Business Journal on April 29, 2010, the newspaper's average Sunday circulation totaled 95,939 and weekly circulation averaged 76,291. That represented a year-over-year decrease of about 10.5 percent; a trend widely reflected during the same year in newspapers throughout Washington state. With the demise of the print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Spokesman-Review is the state's third-largest paper, after the Seattle Times and The News-Tribune of Tacoma.

A 2017 Rotary Club article stated that under editor Rob Curley, hired in 2016, circulation increased from 68,000 to 82,000 in one year.[27]

In April 2020, the paper ceased printing its Saturday edition.[28]


  1. ^ "Masthead". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
  2. ^ "The Decline of Local News and Its Impact on Democracy" (PDF). League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund. November 14, 2022.
  3. ^ Dyar, Ralph E. (1952). News for an Empire: The Story of the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington, and of the Field It Serves. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton.
  4. ^ Kershner, Jim (May 19, 2007). "Bumpy beginning, but quite a ride". Spokesman-Review. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  5. ^ Reeves, Ian. "Review Tower". Eastern Washington University. Spokane Historical. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  6. ^ "Then and Now: The Spokane Falls Review tower | the Spokesman-Review".
  7. ^ a b "It's been great..." Spokane Chronicle. July 31, 1992. p. A1.
  8. ^ a b Bonino, Rick (August 1, 1992). "Chronicle gives way to new era". Spokesman-Review. p. B1.
  9. ^ a b "Paper was part of history it covered". Spokane Chronicle. July 31, 1992. p. H8.
  10. ^ "Final fireside edition". Spokane Daily Chronicle. January 9, 1982. p. 1.
  11. ^ "Final edition". Spokane Chronicle. January 11, 1982. p. 1.
  12. ^ "This Congress history's worst says Truman". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. June 9, 1948. p. 1.
  13. ^ Felknor, Rhea (June 9, 1948). "Truman blames 2 newspapers for "worst U.S. Congress"". Spokesman-Review. p. 1.
  14. ^ "When Harry Gave Us Hell". Spokesman-Review. Cowles Publishing Company. September 9, 2007. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  15. ^ a b "The Inland Empire's Voice". TIME. January 7, 1952. Archived from the original on January 8, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2007.
  16. ^ Morlin, Bill (November 5, 1997). "Spokane Bombers Get Life Terms Barbee, Berry Still Reject Court's Dominion Over Them". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved October 7, 2020.
  17. ^ Pryne, Eric (May 11, 2007). "Report faults Spokane paper for news bias". Seattle Times.
  18. ^ Richards, Bill; Rowe, Clifford G. (May 2007). "Reporting On Yourself — An Independent Analysis of The Spokesman-Review's Coverage of and Role in the Spokane River Park Square Redevelopment Project". Washington News Council. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2008.
  19. ^ Smith, Steven A. (May 5, 2005). "Stories result of a 3-year investigation". Spokesman-Review. p. A1.
  20. ^ "West tied to sex abuse in '70s, using office to lure young men". Spokesman-Review. May 5, 2005. p. A1.
  21. ^ Postman, David (December 2, 2005). "Even the mayor wonders: Who is the real Jim West?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
  22. ^ Camden, Jim (December 7, 2005). "Voters recall West". Spokesman-Review. p. A1.
  23. ^ Wiley, John K. (December 7, 2006). "Spokane Mayor Jim West says he is at peace after recall". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). Associated Press. p. 4A.
  24. ^ "A Hidden Life". Frontline. November 14, 2006. PBS.
  25. ^ Wiley, John K. (July 24, 2006). "Former Spokane mayor James E. West dies". Moscow-Pullman Daily News. (Idaho-Washington). Associated Press. p. 4A.
  26. ^ "West, James E." Spokesman-Review. (obituary). July 25, 2006. p. C6.
  27. ^ Rehberg, Charles (December 18, 2017). "Spokesman Review -- Rob Curley". The Rotary Club. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
  28. ^ "Content will shift after S-R's final day of Saturday home delivery". The Spokesman-Review. April 18, 2020. Retrieved November 7, 2020.

Further reading

47°39′28″N 117°25′34″W / 47.6578°N 117.4262°W / 47.6578; -117.4262