Bits and bites that have come across my computer screen.
Dorian Geiger published his first column as the Lake Cowichan Gazette’s new editor. He’ll replace outgoing editor Tyler Clarke. Funnily enough, the two have switched papers. Clarke has gone to work at the Prince Albert Daily Herald, for which Geiger had been reporting. From Geiger’s column:
Before arriving in British Columbia, I had been working at a Saskatchewan daily newspaper just north of Saskatoon in the community, Prince Albert, where I worked as reporter for their newspaper, The Daily Herald. I enjoyed my time there but when opportunity came knocking and the Gazette job presented itself, I immediately decided to head west in search of greener pastures. Tyler had been searching for greener pastures, too, as I understand. With his girlfriend, Tabitha unable to find employment in the Lake Cowichan-area, Tyler found a job in Saskatchewan. That job just so happened to be at the Prince Albert Daily Herald. Both unaware of the coincidence until we were hired at our new publications, we unknowingly been apart of a “newspaper trade.” Although I have never met Tyler in person, we are Facebook friends and have been corresponding back and forth with tips for each other with how to absorb our new roles at our respective new newspapers.
I also recently stumbled across the site of The Squamish Reporter, a relatively new online news site edited by Gagandeep Ghuman.
Earlier this year, Ghuman was nominated for a Canadian Association of Journalists award for investigative journalism for a story on a fire audit that went unheeded by the District of Squamish. The audit had been leaked to Ghuman. The story prompted a threatening letter from the District soon after publication. Ellin Bessner has much more on the Reporter on her blog, including the following tidbit:
Because money is tight, and advertisers and the district give most of their dollars to the Chief, which has been around for two decades, Ghuman says he spends two days a week driving a cab to help defray expenses of putting out his weekly, and maintaining his online site. Come to think of it, driving a cab is probably a great way to get story ideas!
Ghuman probably isn’t all that popular these days in the newsroom of the district’s rival paper. In 2009, he worked as a reporter at the Squamish Chief, before going freelance. Now his own paper is coming out and competing with the Chief every Friday in the community of 15,000 people, an hour north of Vancouver on the Sea-to-Sky highway. He emails each new edition every Friday to 1,800 people.
Running your own newspaper or news site may be a dream for many, but the economics are obviously extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. The recent closure of Public Eye Online demonstrates that better than any other recent event.
If Sean Holman‘s popular and scoop-tastic news site can’t survive, it’s hard to figure how other online-only publications can survive without the personal financing of their publishers. On the other hand, and this is hard for me to write, but maybe such sites really need salespeople to sell ads. I’m not sure… but, even as one’s soul cringes, it’s worth considering.
Finally, some chain news.
Black Press has led a consortium to buy the San Francisco Examiner. It sounds like a big purchase, but the Examiner is just a shadow of its former self. The hundred-year-old-plus newspaper is now a free daily newspaper in the mold of 24 Hours or Metro.
Glacier Media, meanwhile, reported increased revenue in its third-quarter results. (The deal to buy Postmedia’s B.C. community papers is expected to be finalized around the end of November.)
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You know you have a good story when Hitler makes an appearance. Sean McIntyre of the Gulf Islands Driftwood reports on how a local organization’s Facebook site now bears a video of Hitler.
What’s generated so much discussion over the past few weeks, however, is that subtitles inserted by the video’s anonymous creator portray local Trust committee member George Ehring as Hitler.
While views about the clip’s propriety abound, a point that’s started to generate some debate is the role social media network administrators have when it comes to non-administrators posting material and links on sites like Facebook.
The video was taken down five days after it was posted. (Just to be clear. If someone posts a comment below that points to a video that portrays me as Hitler, it’s getting deleted REAL quick. Anyone have a problem with that? That’s what I thought.)
Anyways, the story is really interesting, beyond the appearance of Hitler. And it brings to mind some interesting questions. All the Black Press sites have a little widget on the right side that scans for any Twitter mention of, say, #Cranbrook. If something libellous is posted, it can make it to the Black Press site with ease where it’s possible for a lawyer to see it way before any editor notices. Maybe someone should address that.
Look at the Ladysmith Chronicle’s home page, then click on the main story. You’ll notice the awesome photo has been replaced by the dreary Island seascape that opens a short video. Where’s the photo?!?!
This lede by Tyler Clarke of the Lake Cowichan Gazette is awesome: “Fondly referred to as Pretty Boy, and not-so-fondly known as Stinky and a more expletive-filled nick-name, a well-known Youbou elk has been killed.” What was the expletive-filled nickname I want to know.
I don’t know the swear word, but you can guess with the following hint:
The not-so-good variety of nickname came from the fact that the elk enjoyed eating residents’ gardens.
“He was a connoisseur, and liked variety,” Smith said. “After a while of testing everything in the yard, he would lie down, chew his cud, ready to start munching in a short while.”
Nice feature by the North Island Gazette: it features its annual Christmas story and colouring contest for adults and kids. The web treatment is also good. This is how all features should be displayed on Black Press sites.
Vivian Moreau of the Oak Bay News takes attendance of local councillors. It’s a great way to wrap up the season by congratulating the best of the bunch and shaming the guy who missed 11 of 51 meetings. Every council reporter can probably write a story on the topic, but not all do.
Good court story by Campbell River Mirror reporter Paul Rudan on a drug deal gone bad. Some very nice quotes from the testimony of some guy who backed out of a deal to finance a large cocaine purchase. Note to self: never do that. Why? Because, if you’re lucky, you’ll stand in court and say the following:
“I stood there and bled over the sink,” said Warren as he recalled the beating he took.
Great hockey photo by Victoria News shooter Sharon Tiffin who catches a Vancouver player in the act of tripping his opponent.
Finally, on the Powell River Peak, a new dispatch from a local Sunshine Coast soldier serving in Afghanistan.
Pretty damn good lede for a non-reporter:
Afterburners light up the sky like two 20-foot blowtorches and the sound of a jet engine fills the air as another fighter takes off into the sky. It is Christmas Eve in Kandahar and I am sitting outside my quarters enjoying a very good cigar as the clock ticks past midnight.
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