By: Nu Yang
After signing rent checks for 19 years, Pacific Northwest Inlander publisher Ted McGregor decided it was time to build the free alternative weekly newspaper its own headquarters. Located in Spokane, Wash., the Inlander was founded in 1993 by McGregor and his family. The paper is published every Thursday and available in more than 1,000 locations and online at inlander.com.
McGregor said he started looking for a new home for the paper about three years ago. He checked out existing buildings but realized he would rather buy a piece of land and build on it. Construction on the 13,000-square-foot building in downtown Spokane has already begun, and McGregor said he hopes to move in by February 2013. The project will cost about $1.3 million.
The plans for the new building maintain the traditional “wall” between business and editorial departments. The first floor will house operations, circulation, and design, while the sales team will work on the second floor, and the third floor will hold the newsroom. About 1,800 square feet of the space will be leased.
McGregor said the paper’s new home shows the community that it is “an institution that’s not going anywhere.
“I also wanted to create an environment for the staff to succeed and that can attract good people to help us move forward,” he said.
Promoting Jacob Fries to editor was another step in that direction. McGregor previously held the title before handing over the reins to Fries in June. Fries joined the paper in 2008 and served as a news editor and managing editor. He is a Spokane native who has worked at The New York Times and the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times).
Despite his background in daily publications, Fries said working at a weekly in his hometown was a chance “to do good journalism from the place I came from.”
McGregor said he sees a bright future for the paper, and his goal is to continue to produce high-quality journalism and invest in small businesses, because “staying local has helped me thrive.”
Fries said the Inlander is no longer viewed as just a supplement for the daily paper. “We’re the scrappy paper that has surprised people.”