The Last Straw

Friday, October 10, 2008


Since being named editor of the Spokane Spokesman-Review in 2002, Steve Smith led major innovative efforts at the paper while dealing with cutbacks and layoffs. But last week, faced with yet another round of job cuts, he resigned. Smith talks about his decision.
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Comments [3]

Seymour Poon from Los Angeles

Steve Smith is out. Former Spokane mayor Jim West is dead. The circle is nearly complete.

Now, news vans and radio remotes should encamp outside Steve Smith's home and uplink a 24x7 audio and video record of what it means for a self-righteous individual to suddenly be a nothing. This would allow the new generation of journalists to learn the vivid lesson of "so shall ye reap." The PBS FRONTLINE episode on Steve Smith's travesty [if we can't find news, we'll create it] in Spokane should be required viewing.

Oct. 16 2008 01:13 PM

Your story contains a prominent error: Smith did not refuse to make the cuts. In fact, he announced them to the newsroom - as he had done in round after round of layoffs in Spokane.

And while I admire innovation, it must work. As a longtime reader of the Spokane paper - well before Smith's arrival - I see no evidence that ANY of Smith's initiatives worked, including his ill-conceived radio experiment. The paper's website remains ridiculously outdated, and its traffic trails much smaller media groups in the Spokane market.

Indeed, even Smith's blog at the paper was pulled; that's why he established a private blog. If its editor can't even manage a simple blog properly, a newspaper must seriously reconsider the direction it's headed.

And if Steve Smith truly wanted to be a martyr, he should have resigned years ago -- before he forced on the paper devastating cuts, self-righteous public lecturing and ill-fated "innovations."

Leadership by guesswork isn't innovation; it's desperation.

Oct. 15 2008 03:37 PM
Robert Knilands

Steve Smith no longer had any ideas to offer. It was time for him to go.

Also, the comment about "giving up" being "vaguely un-American" is puzzling and rather obtuse. During the last eight years, Americans have given up quite a bit, and yet people are still willing to buy into the idea that solutions originate not from intelligent thinkers but from the dullards around the water cooler whose first priority is not to challenge or to offend.

Until Americans are willing to give up on the failing patterns and approaches of the last decade and a half, the problems will continue. None of them will be resolved by Steve Smith.

Oct. 14 2008 04:29 PM

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