Home > Industry stuff > Columbia Valley Pioneer, Invermere Valley Echo sign co-operation agreement

Columbia Valley Pioneer, Invermere Valley Echo sign co-operation agreement

October 5, 2012

The owners of the Columbia Valley Pioneer and the Invermere Valley Echo have signed a joint operating agreement that will preserve the existing newsrooms but consolidate administration and accounting duties.

The Pioneer will remain free, while Invermere Valley Echo will remain a paid-subscription paper with a paywalled website. The papers will remain owned by different entities, but Rose-Marie Regitnig will serve as publisher of both papers.

The Pioneer reports:

This means both businesses can work together, instead of fighting for survival in the face of decreasing profit margins.

Each newspaper will maintain its owner. Black Press still owns The Echo, and Misko Publishing still owns The Pioneer. And both will maintain their distinctive editorial voices, Ms. Regitnig explained.

“To serve the community best we feel that each paper should maintain its personality and thus both will have varied content, just as they do now,” she said. “Significant stories may run in both, but as we have two separate editorial teams, the coverage of the same event will differ.”

“This agreement is set in place to make each newspaper better, in every way.”

….

“I believe that this joint operating agreement will allow us to get so much further by letting us shift our mindsets and work together, rather than against each other,” Ms. Regitnig added. “That can be an uncomfortable and intimidating concept to most of us when we think of our business competitors, but we are taking this approach because we believe in it.”

“Our competitive editorial spirit at both newspapers will still be there, and that is good and healthy. It creates better newspapers.”

The Pioneer has a poll on their website asking what their readers think. So far, of 22 votes, half think it’s the wrong move, while six people approve.

If somebody could explain to me who, exactly, the publisher will report to (e.g., who’s her boss?), it would be much appreciated, because I sure as hell can’t figure it out.

Also, please feel free to explain how newspapers can retain a “competitive editorial spirit” while running some of the same stories?

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  1. Mighty pen and pad
    October 12, 2012 at 11:09 am

    We’ll see how this works out but I’m skeptical.

    The agreement reminds me of the Salt Two Treaty between the US and USSR during cold war period. Preventing nuclear launches and protecting each state’s interests is no different than averting an ad rate war. This actually makes sense heading into another recession.

    I’m skeptical for no other reason than this is a business, and business is business. It’s a competitive business, particularly on the advertising side; in the newspaper world it’s eat or be eaten.

    Agreement or not these are the two tough kids on the block: they’re going to fight sometime.

  2. Anonymous
    October 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

    The Pioneer is a very well designed paper that manages to employ two reporters and an editor, so they must be doing something right.

    I’m surprised you haven’t blogged about the fact David Black had his employees conduct a survey about the Kitimat refinery project. The office manager at my paper had to call 20 people for his poll.

  3. Cameron Orr
    October 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Really can’t answer who the publisher will report to, but just had to comment that the Pioneer has a very nice website. I had not seen it before.

    I wonder if we’ll see more “operating agreements” like this one in the future.

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