Small Town News


Big changes are afoot at the Cheney Free Press

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

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Some of you may have noticed a slight difference in the Cheney Free Press's coverage lately. If you haven't, it will become more apparent over time.

In the past, areas of news coverage here at the paper have typically been divvied up geographically, meaning someone will be covering government, community and education news by city. For instance, I have covered Cheney government and education while staff reporter Al Stover has been covering the same in Medical Lake, as well as government and community news in Airway Heights.

That has changed. Instead of geographical coverage, we are now moving to topical coverage. This means that Al is now the contact person for all things education in Cheney, Medical Lake and at Eastern Washington University while I'm your man when it comes to governmental news for all three cities on the West Plains and points in between.

To this, we've added a new area of coverage — Business. Actually, it's not that new. When I first began here at the Free Press in August 2000, one of the reporters, Ruami Dyck, was assigned to cover area businesses and their issues for a Business page.

That lasted just over a year as Ruami eventually found it difficult to generate stories, not for lack of effort, but for lack of volume. Since then, business on the West Plains has taken off.

There is now a much larger and more involved chamber of commerce working for all three cities, four if you count Spokane, which annexed the Spokane International Airport and areas around it in 2012 and in essence became somewhat of a West Plains city. The Cheney Merchants Association also came into being a few years ago and has been very active, as has Greater Spokane Incorporated, but more on a regional level, helping to bring in large businesses such as Caterpillar.

All the activity brings along a number of issues and challenges, and we felt it was time to address these along with new and existing businesses in a more thorough manner through a Business page. Your contact for all things business is veteran staff reporter and journalist Paul Delaney.

You've also likely noticed changes to our layout format. Those will continue, as we get more situated and comfortable in our new areas of coverage. As for Sports, with the exception of some realigning of teams, we are still the same, at least for now.

Another area we intend to expand is the use of our website and Face-book page. While our main product. the hard copy newspaper, still comes out once a week, we intend to utilize our website,, and our Facebook page as means of getting out breaking news, or hews of a timely nature that waiting to publish in the Thursday edition just wouldn't be practical, nor useable by you, our readers.

That said, if you are a frequent guest at either or both of our online features, don't be surprised if you don't find a story you read online Friday in next Thursday's Cheney Free Press. Or, what you read on Thursday is different from what you read Monday.

And, as a little teaser, look for some more enhancements to come at a later date. It's all part of what we feel is our contribution to our communities — which is providing news about events and issues in the community you won't find anyplace else, or won't find in as much depth.

In this era of instantaneous communication, we know there are many sources for news. We hope you will find us the one and only source of local information you can trust to be upfront, thorough and without bias.

It's what we strive to be. John McCallum can be reached at

Copyright 2015 Cheney Free Press, Cheney, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: September 17, 2015

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