I’ve probably missed a lot of these types of announcements in recent months, but I’ll at least take a swing at acknowledging a few recent comings and goings, including two biggies.
First, today is Mel Rothenburger‘s last day as editor of the Kamloops Daily News. He’s retiring and associate editor Robert Koopmans will take the reigns after a long apprenticeship in the newsroom (and six Webster nominations). I’ll try to link to Mel’s goodbye column when it’s posted.
Meanwhile, on Vancouver Island, Cale Cowan is no longer the editor of the Nanaimo Daily News. He’s heading down the road to be the news editor at the Victoria Times-Colonist. (Dave Obee is the new head honcho there). Meanwhile, NDN deputy editor Philip Wolf has been named interim editor. Details on how to get Cale’s old job here. Also, here’s Cale’s goodbye column, in which he recounts a letter from a reader “who, on one short hand-scrawled note, questioned my intelligence, commented disparagingly on my physique and likened my character to a very specific part of the human anatomy.”
The other paper in town, the Nanaimo News Bulletin, already has a new editor, with the promotion in August of former arts editor Melissa Fryer. Read her first column as editor here. Here’s the goodbye column by outgoing editor Mitch Wright, who has taken a communications gig with the University of Victoria.
Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor Steve Heywood will become the Peninsula News Review third editor in less than a year. He takes over for Erin Cardone, who is moving overseas.
And the Fernie Free Press‘s newest reporter Nicole Liebermann introduces herself to readers.
If you need a job, today’s the last day to apply to be the Nanaimo News Bulletin‘s newest reporter or the Goldstream News Gazette‘s new editor.
Finally, North Shore News sales and marketing director Dee Dhaliwal has been named the new publisher of the Vancouver Courier. Reading the story announcing her appointment was the first time, really, that I noticed just how few non-white publishers, editors and reporters there are at community papers in B.C. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s a little disturbing, now that I’m aware of it.
In a column in today’s paper, longtime Kamloops Daily News editor Mel Rothenburger announced that he plans to retire this fall.
I’ve been thinking about it awhile, but when I hit 68 this spring I started thinking about it more. So, on Friday afternoon, Sept. 14, in the 42nd year since I began working here, I will stop beating up on keyboards at The Daily News, and move out of the way for someone who will treat them better.
Last year, Mel received the 2011 Bruce Hutchinson Lifetime Achievement Award at the Jack Webster Awards. He’s also won some awards over the years, maybe for lines like these, from today’s column:
I’ve noticed a few things about being in my 60s, too. I’ve noticed, for example, that I’m the only one left in the office who pounds on a computer keyboard as if it was a typewriter. I’ve gone through three of them this month.
I’ve noticed there’s a note taped to my monitor that says, “Have you tweeted today?” and that I just ignore it.
As previously recommended. Follow this link to view Kamloops Daily News editor Mel Rothenburger’s acceptance speech upon being awarded the 2011 Bruce Hutchinson Lifetime Achievement Award.
Just as good is the seven-minute video shown prior to the presentation of Rothenburger’s award. Click here.
One more journalist trade and we can call it a trend. The Peninsula News Review has a new editor: Erin Cardone joins the paper from the Victoria News, where she was a reporter. She’ll replace Laura Lavin who has gone to, you guessed it (hopefully because of the lede sentence), the Victoria News, where she is now an associate editor.
Lindsay Chung is leaving the Comox Valley Record to become editor of the Ladysmith Chronicle.
From the Record:
With the Record since 2007, she has reported mainly about education, health, Courtenay and CFB Comox.
She just finished covering the Courtenay mayoralty and council elections.
From earlier this month:
Timothy Schafer, is the Trail Daily Times newest reporter. Schafer, is still young enough to rock a pony tail but is already building a reputation as the Mike Sillinger of the Canadian newspaper world:
At 27, he became the youngest daily newspaper managing editor at the time in Canada. Print got into his blood, as did the need to be plugged into the heart of a community, and that new passion took him across Western Canada.
Prior to coming to the West Kootenay, Schafer has been a managing editor (Lloydminster Daily Times, Prince Rupert Daily News, Parksville Morning Sun), photographer (Prince Albert Daily Herald), desk editor (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Fort MacMurray Today) and reporter (Nanaimo Daily News, Yorkton This Week and Enterprise, Wynyard Advance, Interior News (Smithers) and Comox Valley Echo).
Susanne Martin is the new editor of the Bowen Island Undercurrent. Longtime editor Martha Perkins will provide “guidance” as managing editor.
From the paper:
The publisher of two travel books – on Prague and Nepal – [Martin] is also a freelance writer whose fiction and personal essays have been published in magazines and anthologies.
Over the years, she’s held various roles in all aspects of the Undercurrent and is very much aware of the important role the newspaper fills in the community. She’s provided the newspaper with continuity and is a respected feature writer and reporter both in the community and beyond.
Rothenburger spent two years as mayor of Kamloops and he talked about how it was important for journalists to actively involve themselves in their community, when they feel the need. Unfortunately, they’re not up on the Jack Webster website. I hear there was a cracking speech and a great video. But when they are, I’ll post a link.
In the meantime, here’s a Webster write-up on Rorthenburger:
Mel Rothenburger was fired from his job as Editor at a Prince George newspaper. That was more than 40 years ago. And it was a good thing.
A good thing for Kamloops because that city became home to a young journalist who believed above all else that integrity mattered. A good thing for journalism in British Columbia because it gained a champion who still believes passionately in his community and the audience he serves. Reporter, editor, columnist, historian and more recently webmaster and blogger, Mel Rothenburger defines the importance of local news.
Also at the event, Chilliwack Times reporter Tyler Olsen won the Webster for Community Reporting for his four-part series on marijuana grow operations. Pique Newsmagazine reporter Jesse Ferreras was nominated in the same category for his stories on the initial public offering of Whistler Blackcomb. Vancouver Courier reporter Sandra Thomas received a nomination in the News Reporting category for her expose on a Vancouver nursing home. And the Nanaimo Daily News was nominated for excellence in multimedia journalism for its extensive coverage of the 2010 election, which included hosting online debates.
Last post on this until something new and exciting happens.
Marty Hastings of Kamloops This Week has the most up-to-date and comprehensive story on the evolving controversy surrounding the Kamloops Blazers and Daily News. In his story, he writes that the Blazers (via NHLer Mark Recchi) claim to have OKed the ban with the league, but says they weren’t aware of it until the Dec. 22 letter was sent.
However, Mark Recchi, the Boston Bruins forward who is also co-owner of the major junior club, told KTW the Blazers’ actions were consented to by the league before the Daily News was notified.
“They knew. They knew everything,” Recchi said, noting the club’s ownership group supported general manager Craig Bonner’s decision. “The WHL knew everything before we did anything.”
UPDATED: Now it turns out the dub was pulling Marty’s chain. A league spokesperson took back his old comments and said WHL brass DID know that the Blazers had decided to ban Drinnan. (Thanks for the heads up in the comments section).
“Yes, the Western Hockey League was made aware by the Kamloops Blazers that they’re going to move forward with this decision to ban Gregg Drinnan and they’re taking a letter to the paper,” Flett told KTW on Thursday (Jan. 6) afternoon.
What a giant clusterfuck.
Anyways, back to the first story: Rothenburger read part of the letter to Marty The Reporter and said the rest lacked details as to why Drinnan was banned. He and Recchi both said the Jan. 11 meeting will aim to define what is “fair and balanced reporting.” Rothenburger thinks Drinnan’s work matches the standard. Recchi won’t. Maybe once they decide and finally settle the age-old question they’ll write a textbook on the issue to be used in journalism schools everywhere. Or not.
I’ve since posted an update on Gregggate. Find it here.
Kamloops Daily News sports editor Gregg Drinnan, (spelling error fixed, sorry) who I read somewhere is considered the dean of the WHL gallery and whose widely read blog is the best source out their for WHL news, has been banned from speaking with the Kamloops Blazers until he writes nicer things. (Thanks to Kamloops This Week reporter Dale Bass on Jsource for the heads up.)
The Blazers may have been provoked by a recent column that closes:
In the meantime, Blazers fans are left to wonder just what has happened to this once-proud franchise and why it is unable to fix the things that are holding it back.
As one member of the organization was heard to say the other day: “You’d think there was a curse over us, or something.”
Kamloops Daily News editor Mel Rothenburger responded to the banning today with a column that you can find in full here. Here’s the gist:
This is unacceptable to us as a newspaper. It’s also unacceptable to the Western Hockey League, or should be, since it clearly violates league policy.
Unfortunately, the league has so far declined to lift the ban on Drinnan, and so has the team. We’re attempting to work with the team and league to resolve what is, to our knowledge, an unprecedented infringement of transparency and free speech in the reporting and analysing of hockey not only in this league, but across the country.
We don’t believe Craig Bonner and Tom Gaglardi, nor the rest of the team’s partners and managers, are unreasonable people. However, this ban betrays a certain desperation about the fact the team’s mojo remains missing in action. It won’t get the community the kind of team it deserves.
Mel makes clear that Gregg “doesn’t get mean about the players.” That’s important, these are 18-year-old kids who shouldn’t have to take unnecessary pot shots from reporters. Their coaches and general managers, on the other hand, are more than fair game, especially in a community like Kamloops where the local junior team is so revered.
In the meantime, Gregg has been writing about the Blazers by speaking to opposing players and coaches and quoting visiting media who are allowed to speak to Kamloops players.
I’ll point out that mentioning the banning would make great fodder for sports reporters looking for a new way to write “Blazers suck” in their columns.
I would also like to see someone craft an open letter, to be signed by local sports reporters, that can be forwarded to the league.
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We’re making inroads into our census of B.C. community newspapers, but there are still a lot of blanks in the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. How many journalists work at your paper? How often do you come out? Who’s your publisher? Participation is free! The benefits unlimited! The exclamation points boundless!