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Prince George Free Press adds digital offering

December 4, 2012 1 comment

The Prince George Free Press, a twice-weekly community paper in B.C.’s northern capital, has embarked on a new experiment: a daily, digital edition.

As reported here, the paper says it has launched a new, non-traditional daily product. Indeed, separate from its own website, which uses Black Press’ standard template (it’s no longer under Black Press ownership, although they do remain affiliated in some ways), this product is delivered right to your e-mail and readers scroll through it like an actual paper.

From the announcement:

“The Free Press Daily is markedly different than a website in a couple of ways,” said Bill Phillips, Free Press managing editor. “We haven’t loaded it up with web enhancements that have nothing to do with delivering the news of the day, and we actually deliver it to you. Rather than having to go a website to get your news, it comes to you … just like the paper version does.”

I also couldn’t help but notice a slight, light-hearted jab to their main competitor, the Prince George Citizen, a subscription-based daily paper. That came from a comment from the Free Press’ sales director:

“Why should you pay to get your daily news?” said Roy Spooner, Free Press sales and marketing director.

It’s definitely a neat idea. I’ll be curious to see if it sparks any other projects like that from other papers in the area.

– Northern Reporter

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Northern Reporter: How a bout that

August 2, 2012 Comments off

Well I did say I had no free time, didn’t I?

A single post about time management early in the summer and I disappear like, uh, like a shadow from a light bulb. Is that clever? Who knows, I’m tired.

Anyway, as I wrestled with someting to write about during a sudden moment of freedom, I recalled an early career story that I can’t believe I haven’t told yet.

So the year was 2007. Fresh at my first paper, I was assigned to report on the local boxing club which was hosting a competition over the weekend.

My extensive knowledge of boxing at that moment in time was as follows:

 

Yes, that much. However I watched the matches with enthusiasm, taking as many non-flash photos as I could, after the referee stopped a match and asked that I not use the flash after I made the flub. In a dark boxing arena that was terrible news for a reporter.

I carried on, however, and did what I could.

Back at the office later, the protocol was I laid out the sports page myself once I received the dummy, and my editor would take a peek at it before I marked it done.

This week, falling behind on his own work, the editor simply said he trusted me this time and to just send it when I thought it was ready.

Extra responsibility. Oh yeah!

Except my sorely lacking background in sports would have been obvious to my editor when I wrote passages referring to a “game” of boxing. There was something else I did repeatedly. Perhaps said exhibit match instead of exhibition. Who knows. All I know is that I butchered the terminology of the game.

Now, I argue to this day that boxing should be considered a game. Two people compete for a prize. Sounds like a game to me, just with more punching. I can’t really argue the other mess-up in the terminology, but hey, live and learn.

The boxing coach himself, a very nice, large, intimidating man, calmly filled me in on what I got wrong at a later match. I admire a person who strives to educate rather than belittle.

The random, anonymous e-mail from somewhere in Victoria, BC wasn’t so nice. A reader who keeps up with us online read the story and sent  a terse message basically insinuating I lacked mental capacity and questioned whether I even care about what I write.

I do care, for the record.

Ignorance isn’t always bliss, especially in the public record. Without knowing I didn’t know, I wrote up a boxing story with the wording all wrong.

I later purchased a copy of the New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge, specifically in response to my flub. It’s a massive book, but if it told me my bouts from my games or my rinks from my teams, it’d be money well spent.

And just so you know, boaters are also not to be messed with. My editor once told me about the readers who phoned him after he mistakenly called a larger tanker-like vessel a “boat”. It’s a vessel, dontchaknow?

B.C. Reporter Reporter stages (not-so-hostile) takeover of rival blog

April 26, 2012 3 comments

This blog is now an empire. Or not. But good news: soon the person who runs the Northern Reporter blog will begin blogging here. He or she will write about, well, whatever he or she (we really need a better gender-mysterious pronoun) wants to. Likely it will include the same sort of anecdotes and opinion relayed on that very good blog during its tenure. Please see the press release attached below.

Of note(-ish), my colleague isn’t really my colleague. He or she works for a different company. I know his or her identity. If he or she wants to share it, it will be up to him or her (CHRIST this gender thing gets tiring).

Here’s what NR wrote last year about staying anonymous, and about that blog’s raison d’etre, which I hope will continue:

I was having a Twitter-sation with Mike Kellett today. Twitter-sation is the word I just came up with at this moment to describe conversing with someone using Twitter and I expect royalties for future use.

Anyway, it was an innocent enough conversation (and conluded as such, no controversy here) and I merely helped him figure out what to have for dinner. I suggested a meal that I had only recently been introduced to, curry with coconut milk, vegetables, meat and rice.

What inspired me to make this blog post from all this is he asked me if I worked for The Citizen, Prince George’s daily newspaper.

For the record I don’t, but it just brought to mind suddenly the fact that I don’t identify who I am in this blog. Got me to consider again the reasons I do that and to decide if it’s a good idea.

The main reason I do it is because when I started the blog the idea was to tell tales from the newsroom and the lessons I learn from what are usually mistakes. I guess I’ve been in papers longer than I think sometimes (not a long time by any stretch, however.) but I still think of myself as a wet behind the ears rookie. This blog was to help me sort through the business and help improve myself, while also providing some entertainment and hopefully a little bit of education to other newbies in the field.

Due to the fact that I’d be telling stories about people who bothered me in some way or who disagreed with what I’ve covered or how I’ve covered it or people who have outright shouted at me in the office, I decided I’d keep my name, and theirs, out of it.

Keeping theirs out of it is just a no-brainer. They didn’t sign up to be blogged about. Keeping mine out of it, well, I got it into my head that if people knew who I was, they might be able to put together some of the people I’d refer to. Considering it’s all small towns in northern B.C., I thought the potential for burning bridges was damn near 100 per cent.

And if it was known who I work for, it might get into some people’s heads, include my management’s, that I could be seen as representing the company, which I’m not. I’m only representing my own viewpoints.

Keeping anonymous just seemed the best way to go.

Perhaps one day, if I leave my post and move on to a new position or field, I’ll reveal myself. But for now you’ll have to only know me by my online persona, The Northern Reporter.

Did anyone else hear an echo when they read my moniker? I know I did.

As noted above The Northern Reporter has a Twitter account. Follow him that reporter of undisclosed gender here.

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Why invent the wheel? I thought I”d repurchase a recent Glacier release for my purposes. Insertions are in brackets]

Vancouver, [REDACTED] B.C., October 18, 2011 [April 26, 2012]— (TSX:GVC) Glacier Media Inc. [B.C. Reporter Reporter] is pleased to announce that, through its affiliates (collectively “Glacier [BCRR]” or the “Company[Blog]”), it has entered into definitive agreements with Postmedia Network Inc [Northern Reporter]. (“Postmedia[Northern Reporter]”) to acquire Postmedia [Northern Reporter]’s community newspapers [journalism] blog in British Columbia, the Times Colonist, [and] related digital media assets, and certain real estate assets.

The community newspaper media assets are comprised of two groups – the Lower Mainland Publishing Group (“LMP”) and the Vancouver Island Newspaper Group (“VING”).  The LMP properties include the North Shore News, the Vancouver Courier, the Burnaby Now, the New Westminster Record/Royal City Record, the Richmond News, the Delta Optimist, the Surrey Now, the Coquitlam Now, the Maple Ridge Times, the Langley Advance, the Abbotsford Mission Times, and the Chilliwack Times.  The VING properties include the Nanaimo Daily News, the Alberni Valley Times, the Harbour City Star, the Cowichan Valley Citizen, the Oceanside Star, the Pennyworth, the Westerly News, and the Campbell River Courier Islander/Campbell River Courier North Islander. 

The Times Colonist [Northern Reporter] was founded in 1858 [March of 2011] and serves Victoria, British Columbia’s [journalists] capital and Vancouver Island.  It is one of Canada’s oldest, most respected and award winning newspapers [community journalist-oriented blogs].

The purchase price for the acquired media assets and significant real estate properties is $86.5 million[$0] payable in cash [worthless Postmedia stock] at closing, subject to adjustment [beer] for working capital.  The acquisition will be financed with bank borrowingsGlacier [The Blog] is amending its credit [Wordpress] facilities to fund [facilitate] the acquisition of the assets [Northern Reporter] and provide additional borrowing [posting] capacity for ongoing acquisition opportunities.

The assets acquired strategically broaden Glacier[BCRR]’s market presence in British Columbia.  Glacier [BCRR] now offers the broadest coverage of local newspaper [journalist anecdotes] markets in Western Canada, which increases market reach for local, regional and national advertisers [shit fuck all], provides for significant digital media opportunities and strengthens Glacier[BCRR]’s competitive [monopolistic] position.  The operations acquired also enhance the Company’s depth of personnel and operating resources and offer attractive synergy opportunities.

While the acquisition significantly strengthens the Company[Blog]’s community newspaper [blogging] and digital operations, Glacier [The Blog] intends to continue to build its business information operations (which include its trade and business & professional information properties) with particular focus on digital and rich information opportunities.

Management will focus in the short-term on a balance of paying down debt [chugging whiskey], integrating the operations acquired, continuing to develop existing operations, targeting select acquisition opportunities and returning value to shareholders [beleaguered readers].  While [Because] the transaction is being financed with bank borrowings [pogs]Glacier [The Blog] will be in a stronger position as a result of the acquisition with manageable [no] debt levels and increased cash flow.  In addition to operational needs and acquisitions, a portion of any increased cash flow [donations] could be returned to shareholders in the future through share buy backs and increased dividends [hilarious contests].

The transaction is expected to close on or about November 30, 2011 [April 26, 2012] and is conditional upon regulatory and other customary approvals [the parties not getting distracted by their respective jobs and/or lives].

Shares in Glacier [The Blog] can[not] be traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol GVC.

For further information please contact  Mr. Orest Smysnuik, Chief Financial Officer, at 604-708-3264 {BCRR at bclocalreporter@gmail.com].

About the Company [Blog]: Glacier Media Inc. [B.C. Reporter Reporter] is an information communications company [blog] focused on the provision of primary and essential information and related services through print, electronic and online media.  Glacier Media Inc. [B.C. Reporter Reporter] is pursuing this strategy through its core businesses [hobby]: the local newspaper [Google News searching “reporter location:British_Columbia every now and then], trade information [acquiring gossip] and business and professional information markets [bitterly contemplating the future of print journalism].

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