After nearly 30 years, The Spokane Daily Chronicle is making a comeback. The newspaper, which is the older sibling of The Spokesman-Review, initially launched in 1881 and ceased publishing in 1992. The Cowles family had owned both newspapers since 1897.
According to Rob Curley, editor of the Spokesman-Review, the first official edition of the new Chronicle was published on July 12. It runs every evening Monday through Friday as an e-edition available to Spokesman-Review subscribers. It is eight pages long and includes both local and national breaking news and wire stories that the Spokesman-Review typically does not have the space to publish in the print edition. The e-edition also consists of a history page that features an old front page from the original Chronicle and a photo page that showcases photos from the newspaper’s archive.
The Spokesman-Review hoped that by reviving the Chronicle, it would continue to retain subscribers that have supported them for years, Curley explained.
“(We wanted) to give our subscribers something extra that might mean something to them," he said. “The Chronicle has long been loved in Spokane. People remember and still talk about it, so why not give it back to them?”
Moreover, the newspaper used this initiative to show subscribers the value of e-editions since many of them have been reluctant to make the switch. Curley explained that the Spokesman-Review's highest costs are still very much tied to print and delivery.
“When a subscriber switches from the print edition to the e-edition, it makes it easier to overcome all of the different economic hurdles that local newspapers now face while making sure your community still gets the coverage that it deserves,” he said.
In the last year, there was a considerable push from the Spokesman-Review's owners to beef up the newspaper's e-edition with content that didn't appear in the print edition. This was when the idea of reviving the Chronicle for an evening edition came up.
Once the newspaper's management team approved the idea, the newsroom began working on launching the e-edition. This process included reaching out to former editors and reporters from the Chronicle to get their input. For example, the photo page was suggested by former staff because the Chronicle had embraced photography and had a large photo staff.
The Spokesman-Review saw an instant and considerable increase in their overall digital numbers with the launch of the Chronicle, Curley said. The evening usage of their e-edition increased nearly 600 percent over the typical audience. He said that the number of people now reading the e-edition at 7 p.m. "looks nearly identical" to those reading it at 7 a.m. Additionally, readers are sharing screenshots of the pages on social media.
“It’s just a reinterpretation of a fairly old-school, local evening newspaper, but built for a world filled with cable news networks, social media sites and personal echo chambers that often have a real problem with the truth. The Chronicle doesn’t,” Curley said. “And it makes sure that our readers know how much we appreciate and need their support, and that our newsroom will bust its backsides to keep our community informed.”