Farewell from departing Inlander editor Jacob Fries

The Inlander has been my family. I came to work here, in a roundabout way, because of my mother. I moved home in 2003 because she was dying, and I met Ted McGregor, the paper’s founder and publisher, because I needed part-time work. Later, after Mom was gone and I was writing for Florida’s biggest paper, Ted called and asked if I wanted to manage the Inlander’s news coverage.

I arrived in January 2008 and since then have edited 713 editions of the paper, just shy of half the issues the Inlander has published to date.

At home, my family grew and shrank. I ended an eight-year-long relationship. Got married to the love of my life. Buried my two sisters. Witnessed the birth of my two perfect daughters.

At work, I have had a second family composed of the hardest-working, most passionate journalists you’re likely to meet. Together, this small staff does big things. Their work has sparked civil rights lawsuits and reforms, helped to free wrongly convicted men and annoyed thin-skinned politicians scared of simple questions. These reporters keep a close eye on powerful interests, schools, police, our kids, the river, society’s safety nets and those falling through them. It isn’t all doom and gloom: Inlander reporters delight in finding the best things our region has to offer and sharing that treasure with readers, too.

And now, yes, as journalists say, I buried the lead. Next week, the Inlander will have a new editor, the whip-smart veteran Dan Nailen, who’s stepping up from the No. 2 job at the Inlander. After nearly 14 years — after all that time and heartache I put into the paper — I wouldn’t leave this place I love if I didn’t have complete confidence it was in good hands. Dan is a pro, and the paper’s owners, Ted and his brother Jer, remain committed to the mission, to local journalism in the public’s interest.

As for me, I’m leaving for a new challenge at a similarly minded organization, InvestigateWest, a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to high-impact investigative journalism for the Pacific Northwest. You can find those stories at invw.org and me at jacob@invw.org.

I plan to stay in Spokane and remain a faithful reader of this uncommonly good publication. The Inland Northwest is lucky to have the Inlander. And I was lucky to be a part of the family.

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About The Author

Jacob H. Fries

Jacob H. Fries is the editor of the Inlander. In that position, he oversees editorial coverage of the paper and occasionally contributes his own writing. Before joining the paper, he wrote for numerous publications, including the Tampa Bay Times, the Boston Globe and the New York Times. He grew up in Spokane Valley...