Mathia named Gazette Editor
Longtime Gazette Editor Jerry Jones retires
March 19, 2020
COLFAX — A veteran journalist and longtime area resident has been named editor of the Whitman County Gazette and Colfax Daily Bulletin.
Jana Mathia, 37 of Endicott, will replace former longtime managing editor Jerry Jones.
Jones has officially retired due to health issues. He had been with the Gazette since 1965, during which time he was a constant feature at the paper and raised two sons with wife Peggy who passed away last year. Jones, known locally as “Scoop,” was well-known for his coverage of local high school sports and producing the Colfax Daily Bulletin.
“It’s an unexpected honor,” Mathia said. “The Gazette is my family and I want to see it continue to do well. The service we provide is important.”
“Jana’s newspaper experience and knowledge of Whitman County makes her the ideal candidate to take the helm of the Gazette,” Publisher Roger Harnack said Tuesday. “She’ll continue the longtime tradition of outstanding local journalism in the state’s oldest, continually operating newspaper.”
Mathia has been a member of the newspaper staff since November 2006. During her 14-year tenure, she’s worn many hats from reporter to graphic designer to ad manager and even office manager. She’s been production manager for the last few years.
Mathia sees her new role at the Gazette, which launched in 1877, as a logical move for the community and the newspaper.
“Career wasn’t something I was thinking about for another five or seven years,” she said. “But this is something that needed to be done.”
She also sees it as an opportunity to continue to provide readers and advertisers top-notch news on multiple new platforms, while continuing the newspaper’s rich print tradition.
“I’m really excited to see the digital platforms expanding to provide better, and more, access to our local news in ways people are becoming accustomed to,” Mathia said. “Nobody else is doing what we’re doing for Whitman County. We care about Whitman County, and we’re doing what we can to make the news more accessible.”
Mathia will be part of the Free Press Publishing leadership team. Free Press is the parent company for The Whitman County Gazette, The Ritzville Adams County Journal, Davenport Times, Odessa Record, Cheney Free Press, Spokane Valley News Herald, the West Plains Extra and Fairchild Extra.
Combined, the company serves approximately 33,000 homes in Eastern Washington.
The company is headed by Harnack and partner Bill Ifft, who acquired the Gazette on March 1 from now-retired former owner Gordon Forgey.
Since acquisition, they’ve been integrating the newspaper into the company’s digital services, which should provide readers with improved online news and social media coverage. They have also launched a new Amazon Echo-based voice-activated news broadcast here.
Outside of the newspaper, Mathia loves her small family farm.
“I really enjoy raising our family on the farm and going on hikes in nature,” she said. “Me and my boys like to go geocaching. And I‘m a loud, proud, wrestling mom.”
Mathia is married to Chris Mathia, a self-employed contractor. Together they have five children, ranging from ages 2 weeks to 11 years.
“Hopefully, I can continue to serve our community and preserve our coverage and connections that people have come to rely on from the Gazette,” she said.