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New Nanaimo Daily editor preaches balance, urges journos to avoid socialist urges

December 11, 2012 18 comments

Mark MacDonald, the new managing editor of the Nanaimo Daily News, has some interesting ideas about how to fix the daily news business.

Find below a three page document titled “Restoring Daily Newspapers to Prominence” in which MacDonald advocates his strategies for helping daily papers survive.

Please read the whole thing. I’ve pulled out some snippets of particular interest.

“The three most important words in the newspaper business are: Local, local, local.”

“There are many ways our papers can obtain news without increasing costs. As you can see by this list, these are not necessarily new ideas:””Use advertising staff to bring in editorial leads. What better way to put their clients and prospective clients in the news and give them a reason to read? Simply pass on news to an editorial person who would compile a “People” column that ran regularly. People LOVE gossip – the daily needs that to some degree to make it a must read.”

“Community/neighbourhood columnists.”

“Sports organization leaders who want to share.”

“Increased yield from existing news staffers. If a lengthy interview takes an hour and it takes an hour to write, that’s four substantial length stories in a typical working day. And it’s a reasonable work place.”
“Having sat in a newsroom for many years, I know the culture well. More than once, we watched the next days’ [sic] front page story walk past our desks. I understand how a veteran news writer, faced with bundling up and going out to fight the elements i search of a meaty, story, could see the “relevance” of the one that just walked by his or her desk in a warm, dry office.”

…..

“Either balance out all stories, or don’t balance them out at all and let the topic have its say. If you can’t have both side of an issue covered and represented respectfully, don’t have either.

“For example, if there is a new mine being considered for an area, the writers cover the topic, then contact someone opposed to ‘bring balance’ to the story. When an opponent is contacted, a proponent should be also, to give balance.”

“Existing union contracts can be onerous and unworkable and even though workers believe this gives them job security, it is in fact crippling the industry and making it unprofitable. The union needs to realize this and be willing to make alterations for their long-term profit.”

……

“Most papers lean to the left editorially, or at least are lukewarm to business interests. Typical journalists don’t understand business, how business operates successfully, or how their owners think. Newspaper owners must share part of the blame for the left leaning tendencies of typical media, in that they’ve abrogated responsibility for hiring news staff to editors, many of whom are sympathetic to the socialist cause. Of course there are some positive aspects of socialism, but they shouldn’t dominate the editorial flavor [sic] of the paper.

“Newspapers need not become “right wing rags”. That is counter-productive, and not indicative of a community building meeting place for citizens. It is not a fair representation of the community at large. But they do need ballance.”

……

While I will refrain from commenting, please feel free to weigh in below…

Note: If you’re having trouble viewing them, click on these three links and zoom in. You can do this on most browsers by pressing the CTRL and + buttons at the same time. I think on Macs it’s the apple button instead of the CTRL.

Page 1; page 2; page 3

NDNpage1 NDNpage2NDNPage3

Walter Cordery update

October 7, 2012 Comments off

The Nanaimo Daily News’ Paul Walton wrote me over the weekend about Walter Cordery‘s recent and unexpexted death:

Thanks for your posting about Walter Cordery.

I just want to make sure the record is clear about his passing to remove any conjecture.

While his death was indeed unexpected and upsetting for all who knew him, information provided to me by the police and coroner indicate that Walter died of natural causes.

Beyond that, I can offer no further information.

Nanaimo Daily News reporter Walter Cordery dies at age 54 [UPDATED]

October 2, 2012 Comments off

Nanaimo Daily News reporter Walter Cordery has died at the age of 54. Neither the news story or two columns in the paper about Cordery includes his cause of death, but while it was “unexpected,” Paul Walton wrote that the 23-year veteran of the paper had long battled health issues.

UPDATE: Walton wrote me over Thanksgiving weekend:

Thanks for your posting about Walter Cordery.

I just want to make sure the record is clear about his passing to remove any conjecture.

While his death was indeed unexpected and upsetting for all who knew him, information provided to me by the police and coroner indicate that Walter died of natural causes.

Beyond that, I can offer no further information.

Here’s the news story:

Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the unexpected death of longtime Daily News reporter and columnist Walter Cordery.

Cordery has been with the newspaper since he graduated from the journalism program at Vancouver’s Langara College in 1989. A back injury ended his previous career as a butcher.

He covered a wide range of issues in his 23 years with the paper, but his favourite topics revolved around politics and crime in Nanaimo. Cordery gave his own impressions of daily events in the city in his well-read column Wonderland.

Cordery’s ex-wife Heather, mother of his two daughters Elyse and Nadine, said his two passions in life were his children and journalism.

“Walter was a great dad who really loved his girls, and that was evident every time he was with them,” Heather said. “His other great love was journalism and he worked hard at his job.”

more…

Interim editor Philip Wolf’s column:

I knew he was as sharp as a tack the minute I met him.

I Back in 1991, a baby-faced young lad (that would be me) showed up for his first official shift at the (then) Nanaimo Daily Free Press, sporting a rather impressive black eye.

I mumbled something about a stray elbow in a weekend football game, which seemed to placate my new colleagues.

Not Walter Cordery.

After everyone dispersed, he sidled up to me quietly and said: “OK, so what really happened?”

You could never put anything past Walter.

Today, I look around the newsroom and it just doesn’t feel right.

Directly behind me is the spot where Michael Rhode is supposed to be.

He’s not there.

One quadrant over is where Walter is supposed to be.

He’s not there either.

Walter passed away over the weekend.

He was just 54 years old.

My sense of sadness today is overwhelming.

more…

And Paul Walton’s aforementioned column:

Nanaimo is for the worse today with the loss of our Daily News colleague Walter Cordery.

For some time Walter had been struggling with health issues that would test the bravest of us. And amidst the various tests, medications and consults, his commitment to the readers of this newspaper never wavered.

Walter was a newshound and a political junkie. He got into journalism in the 1980s after studying journalism at Langara College. We used to tease him that he started at the Daily Free Press when the earth was cooling and that he reported on the Crimean War for the Free Press.

Almost, but not quite. It was the depth of Walter’s knowledge that made him appear so long-lasting. If I had a question about provincial or municipal politics, Walter would usually know.

“Hey Walter,” was usually met with “Hey Paul.”

“When was the ALR created in B.C.?”

“Under the NDP and Dave Barrett in the early ’70s.”

“Who was mayor before Gary Korpan?”

“Joy Leach.”

“Before that?”

“Graeme Roberts.”

more…

Kamloops daily gets new editor; Nanaimo gets two

September 14, 2012 1 comment

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.

Trio of B.C. reporters up for CAJ award; job openings

April 26, 2012 Comments off

Items of note, including three jobs not posted on Gaulin:

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Kamloops This Week reporter Tim Petruk, Vancouver Courier reporter Cheryl Rossi, and XTra! correspondent David P. Ball have all been named finalists in the Canadian Association of Journalists awards for community journalism. A pair of reporters in Ontario are also up for the award. Tim is nominated for his 28 Seconds series about the police shooting of a Kamloops man. Cheryl is up her her profile of an outdoor non-profit that works with high school students facing problems in class. And David was nominated for his article on the uneasy relationship between the police and the gay community.

The awards will be handed out at a gala April 28 in Toronto.

Also, the Courier‘s Barry Link, along with Nanaimo Daily News editor Cale Cowan, each won Jack Webster Foundation fellowships to attend a week-long seminar at the Poynter Institute.

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Speaking of Cale, he wrote a sweet little vignette about why the job of a newspaper reporter isn’t the fifth-worst job on the face of the planet.

Newspapering has meant that the past 23 years have been filled with days that are never the same; interesting people coming in and out of my life; the chance to travel; to live in four different provinces; and to write for a living.

Who gets to do that?

more…

If you were one of the few reporters to come across the survey, read and scoff about it here. (Our profession’s poor rating has more to do with job prospects than the actual job.)

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Staying in Nanaimo for a second, here’s a News Bulletin story on Merv Unger, who won the Eric Dunning Integrity Award at the Ma Murray Awards. Merv was the News Bulletin‘s first editor and also served as a city councillor.

“I’ve seen changes from very strict rules in journalism where news reporting and commentary were separated stringently. If you were a reporter, you had no opinion,” he said. “That has evolved all the way to today where I think one of the biggest dangers is advocacy journalism, where people take on causes and do not present an unbiased picture.”

more…

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The Vanderhoof Omineca Express is looking for a new editor. Former editor Hannah Wright, who did a fantastic job on the Cody Alan Legebokoff case, returned to the UK over the winter due to visa issues. She hopes to return, according to a January Twitter post.

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The Oceanside Star is looking for a reporter. Two-person newsroom. Small town (Parksville). Pretty nice location.

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And this is a pretty premiere gig, as far as mid-sized community papers go: the many-award-winning Whistler Question needs a new editor. Pretty decent gig. Also, this is a pretty spectacular headline: Nipples aren’t for chewing.

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Kristian Rasmussen is the Columbia Valley Pioneer’s newest reporter. Read his introductory column here. P.S. What’s the consensus on the website’s background, particularly behind the text?

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Finally, the 2012 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards will be announced today at a gala in T.O. Winners will be posted online afterwards. See the full list of finalists here. And if anyone is in Toronto and can send me anything of note, please do so by emailing bclocalreporter@gmail.com.

Thanks.

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Finally, stay tuned for a major-ish announcement about this blog. Post should be up around 11 a.m.

 

Prince George Citizen staffer & family killed in crash

February 10, 2012 Comments off

This is really sad:

Prince George Citizen systems manager Matt Altizer, his wife, Leah,  and their two children Jonathan and Emily, were killed Wednesday in a head-on collision south of P.G. Thursday morning. Altizer was 40. His children, were in Grade 8 (Jonathan) and Grade 6 (Emily)

From the paper:

The family members were on their way to Vancouver to fulfill a lifelong dream of Altizer, a huge tennis enthusiast: attending a Davis Cup international match. Canada plays France in Vancouver this weekend.

At about 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, a few minutes north of McLeese Lake, the family’s SUV and a semi truck collided head on. The truck driver survived.

more…

Kinda puts all this Osoyoos Times stuff into perspective.

Interim publisher Colleen Sparrow, who worked with Altizer for more than a decade, said the entire community has suffered a great loss.

“I know that I speak for everyone here at The Citizen, and across Glacier Media, when I say that we have not only lost a colleague but a great friend today,” she said. “He is someone who was dear to all of us. Matt was a kind and gentle man who would go out of his way to help anyone, and patience was his hallmark.

“We grieve over the loss of Matt and his family in this difficult time.”

Police say five people died, but it’s unclear who the fifth victim is.

Mel Rothenburger’s Webster speech and another journo trade

December 1, 2011 Comments off

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

more…

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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.

more…