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Stuff that’s happening

December 23, 2011 Comments off

Here are some things that have happened, or in the process of happening.

Reporter Michaela Garstin is leaving the Dawson Creek Daily News according to a colleague’s twitter feed. And Melissa Smiley‘s leaving the White Rock News for a new job according to her twitter feed.

Kamloops Daily News sports editor Gregg Drinnan won the Glacier Media President’s Club Award “for his years of dedication to the newspaper and its Christmas Cheer campaign.”

Burnaby Now‘s Brent Richter retweeeted a great column about his general grinchiness that he wrote from last year. Give it a read. A sample:

“He looked on his heap and nearly went spastic — “$400 of polyester and plastic!?”

“A Justin Bieber puzzle? Who was that for? What did I buy just to get out of that store?””

more…

Surrey Now reporter Tom Zytaruk finally got a haircut. He writes about donating his locks to a worth cause here.

The Prince George Free Press lost its publisher to the 2015 Canada Winter Games. (P.S. The Free Press isn’t an independent newspaper if its owner owns other papers, which the short story says he does.)

 

Finally, this (press release) isn’t about B.C. but I think it bears noting, especially for those who see the future of community newspapers through rose-coloured glasses:

The Canadian Association of Journalists is concerned that community newspaper amalgamations in Ottawa and area will lead to job losses.

The concern stems from the recent decision by Metroland Media Group Ltd. to close six community newspapers that had been serving the communities of south, west, east and central Ottawa along with Nepean and Barrhaven. The closures come after Metroland purchased Performance Printing Ltd., which publishes newspapers in the same communities.

There could be further closures ahead as these were not the only communities where both Metroland and Performance have publications.

“Closing a newspaper means extinguishing a voice within a community that people could turn to for news and information about their neighbourhoods,” CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. “Metroland’s aggressive entry into the Ottawa region in the last few years added new voices to the mix and brought competitiveness to community news. It’s unfortunate the chain is now killing off some of the papers it launched in its drive to consolidate operations.”

The CAJ understands the business rationale behind these consolidations, but is now concerned for the journalists whose newsrooms have been amalgamated. It encourages Metroland to keep its stated commitment that the positions from the closed newspapers will be moved to its remaining newsrooms.

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing almost 600 members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

Accused killer of Observer Louise Phillips commits suicide; roundup

April 20, 2011 2 comments

Here’s a rare roundup from the interior. Treasure it.

The man accused of murdering Salmon Arm Observer office manager Louise Phillips has died after shooting himself in the head with a nail gun. James Phillips, Louise’s estranged husband, was out on bail when he shot himself.

Just a news tip to the Black Press headline writers: an interview with a politician at election time isn’t exclusive.

Penticton Herald headline: “Kidder pulls out guitar to end candidate’s forum.” But the story, which is otherwise fine, says nothing about a guitar. I’m confused.

Not in B.C., but worth mentioning anyways: A tiny newspaper serving a Mohawk First Nation in Ontario Quebec has been nominated alongside the CBC, Radio-Canada, Calgary Herald, Vancouver Sun and Hamilton Spectator for a major public service journalism award. The Eastern Door was nominated for a series of articles that revealed that the Mohawk Council was sending eviction notices to non-natives. The notices were cancelled after the stories ran. The paper has two reporters and its editor is also the publisher.

He told J-source:

“Some business people said, ‘Hey maybe you shouldn’t be so hard (on the council). I said, ‘We’re talking about peoples’ lives here. If it costs (the newspaper) a few dollars, then…’”

Superb.

A beauty from the Kamloops cops via Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week:

“A male had made rude comments towards a female outside that downtown location — and she proceeded to give him a jersey pull and punched him numerous times,” Aird said in explaining the jersey pull, a very effective strategy employed the best fighters in hockey.

The woman is then alleged to have pushed the man’s head into a wall.

more…

Stories like that will have me doing more roundups soon.

Kristi Patton of the Penticton Western News has a terrific piece of court reporting:

The jury of a kidnapping, unlawful confinement and assault trial got an inside look at the tribulations of life in the South Okanagan drug world.

Drug stashes in the streets of Oliver, a home invasion by men threatening with a shotgun, paranoia causing people to bounce from home to home, addicted family members and beatings by upper-level drug dealers all came to light in the Penticton Supreme Court last week.

more…

Photo of the week comes from… drum roll please… 100 Mile House publisher, sales manager, and spot news photographer-extraordinaire Chris Nickless, who got a cracking shot of a roaring fire in Lac La Hache. Chris won a CCNA in 2009 for his photography, so this isn’t out of the ordinary.

The search function on Black Press websites is HORRIBLE. I rarely use all caps, but it’s that freakin’ bad.

Reporter out.

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This blog is still a one-person show, so any help would be great. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment and I’ll shamefully update the post.

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!

Lamest. Post. Ever.

April 11, 2011 Comments off

So I was going to do a Vancouver Island roundup, but after searching half of the island’s papers, I’d found nothing and so gave up. Perhaps I wasn’t looking hard enough; I didn’t really want to find anything.

I’ve been quite busy, with work pushing into blogging time recently, so posts might still be relatively sparse for the next week at least. Unless, that is, the readers of this blog can pick up the slack and email items of interest to bclocalreporter[at]gmail[dot]com.

I can bang out posts quite quickly. It’s just finding stuff to write about that takes time.

Anyway, lacking anything specifically from the Island, I’ll simply recommend Jeff Nagel‘s ongoing “Justice Denied” series, part four of which was recently published. You can find it here, and at the bottom of the page are links to other stories in the series. Odds are you’ve already seen the stories, but they really are quite awesome and should make Jeff the prohibitive favourite for several awards next year.

Categories: Roundup Tags: ,

Award-winning stories for the rest of the month

March 31, 2011 Comments off

Remember how I was going to try and post daily links to award-nominated stories from last year?

Yeah, I forgot all about it too.

Thankfully, someone at Black Press did a bunch of the work for me and linked to editions of a bunch of that chain’s award-winning pieces. You can find the whole list here… Actually, because it’s just a list, I think I can just copy and paste it below with few qualms. (A couple stories are missing links; not my fault)

Either way, the stories are quite impressive. In fact, they make you think that many of those stories could be collated into a half-decent bi-annual magazine, or something similar. Great idea? Lousy idea? Leave a comment.

BC Arts Council Arts & Culture Writing Award

Nelson Star ‐ Bob Hall, Pantomime Series

Williams Lake Tribune – Sage Birchwater, Urban Ink/Twin Fish Wind Up First Youth Training Session

B.C. Automobile Association Business Writing Award

Kelowna Capital News – Judie Steeves, Crushed Gold; Okanagan Wine Industry has Come a Long Way

Thompson River University School of Journalism Environmental Writing Award

Surrey, North Delta Leader – Jeff Nagel, Trash Talk

Provence Restaurants Feature Article Award

Burnaby News Leader ‐ Mario Bartel, An Afghan Basketball Journey

North Shore Outlook ‐ Kelly McManus, Chat Roulette

Feature Series Award

Chilliwack Progress – Eric Welsh, Painstaking Path to Potential Cure

Victoria News ‐ Lisa Weighton, Rebirth Through Reburial

Glacier Media Investigative Journalism Award

Langley Times ‐ Monique Tamminga, Pet Shop Dogged by Virus/ No Limits on City Dog Sales/ City Looks to Ban Pet Sales

Neville Shanks Memorial Award for Historical Writing

Langley Times – Warren Sommer, Lets We Forget: Gathering at Menin Gate

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News – Robert Mangelsdorf, At the Heart of Whonnock

Outdoor Recreation Writing Award

Bowen Island Undercurrent – Martha Perkins, National Park Debate Unleashed; Off‐ Leash Areas

Canadian Sport Centre Pacific Sports Writing Award

Abbotsford News – Dan Kinvig, Gray gets the Point

Peace Arch News – Nick Greenizan, Conquering Uphill Battle

Tunnel vision, cranky editors, and very ambiguous headlines

March 21, 2011 Comments off

Some curiosities from the past week in the Interior:

Prince George Free Press editor Bill Phillips writes on his blog about how his cranky editorness caused him to not fall victim to the Enbridge hair hoax that bamboozled many news outlets last week.

This headline in Columbia Valley Pioneer, “Crook family history revealed in new book,” can be read the wrong way. (The family are Crooks, not criminals.)

Last Friday, the Nelson Star published a list, as part of an ongoing series of West Kootenay-related lists, of three abandoned highway tunnels, including one between Slocan and Silverton that was built more than 80 years ago, as the seventh part in a series of West Kootenay-related lists. It’s a good thing the list didn’t run one week later because on Sunday the Star reported that that same Slocan highway tunnel collapsed last week, possibly on the same day the paper went to press. (Remember, the tunnel was abandoned).

The Tampa Bay Lightning released Salmon Arm product Mitch Fadden from his minor league contract after the Salmon Arm Observer broke the news earlier this month that Fadden is facing drunk driving charges (although the Observer didn’t mention Fadden’s NHL connection in that story).

So the Kamloops Daily News ran an article about a man who was unhappy about having to pray at an AA meeting and the comments duly began — some fairly tame, others pretty vicious. And so the Daily News published an editorial pointing out that some of the commenters were a tad impolite and intolerant. I was going to write that this all makes one consider the point of comments in the first place, but then I remembered some of the letters my paper receives and publishes. I guess I can’t be against discussion and free speech, even though those who tend to lead the way are often imbecilic racists.

Ambiguous headline No. 2 comes from the Penticton Western News: “Penticton student heads to Midway.” Midway, some will know, is a small town two hours from Penticton. It looks like this in winter:

And for Midway residents who read that headline,  the story’s lede could be taken the wrong way:

While many high school students are looking forward to spring break as a chance to kick back or perhaps even travel with their family to Europe, Mexico or some other exotic locale, Emily Chartrand is making plans to go a bit farther afield, at least in terms of distance from civilization.

more…

The student, for those who must know, is going to the Midway Islands, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Don’t get me wrong about the story: there’s nothing wrong with it. But the lede combined with the headline is just plain funny.

And I’m slow on the uptake here, but former Vernon Morning Star reporter Natalie Appleton was shortlisted for a national short fiction award. She also recently finished her memoir, How to Meet a Nice Man from Medicine Hat, and is expecting a baby so all in all, sounds like a good year for Natalie, who’s now teaching at Okanagan College.

Oh, and two jobs, by the way: the Trail Daily Times needs an editor and the Rocky Mountain Goat needs a full-time reporter.

Photo by Havan Kevin via Flickr.

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This blog had more visitors in February than any previous months. It’s still a one-person show, though, so any help would be great. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment and I’ll shamefully update the post.

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!

How to put “media specialists” out of business

March 7, 2011 Comments off

I haven’t had time to do a roundup this weekend, so this will have to suffice.

In a column in the Langley Advance, Roxanne Hooper urges those considering shelling out $40 to learn how to get the attention of reporters not to forget about the importance of advertising in newspapers.

During Hulnick’s session, she vows to teach Langley business operators the best seven steps to productive a media relationship. She’s called it Getting Your Story Told: Making the Most of Media Opportunities.

“Small business owners all face the same facts when it comes to promoting their business,” she says, daring to suggest that publicity is far less expensive and more beneficial than advertising.

And if that wasn’t enough to get my blood boiling, Hulnick claims: “You can save thousands of dollars in advertising expense if you can get reporters interested in covering your small business. But that’s not an easy thing to do.”

At least from reading through this preliminary materials, I have to disagree with Hulnick.

She paints a picture for businesses to cut their advertising budget and guaranteed community exposure. She suggests, instead, that businesses place all their hopes on a reporter (like me – in fact, it is me) who will hear or read about your story, determine it has merit, and allot space in the paper.

While Roxanne may disagree and it may be unspeakable inside a newspaper’s offices, I’ve gotta say that the media person is probably right. If you can get someone to cover your business, that is an opportunity not to be missed. I, for one, completely ignore advertisements in papers. Sorry, but it’s the truth. However, if you can get your business’s name in the editorial font, you can get my attention.

That said, it should be infuriatingly hard to get your business’s name into a newspaper’s editorial space. Only the most unique businesses—I’m talking something on the scale of an artist who tattoos clients while skydiving—should get covered. For the rest, advertising should be the only option.

Unfortunately, media specialists thrive on reporters and newspapers willing to cover banks that change locations and the like. If we really want to put them out of business and help the ad salespeople, it would be best to look after our own house first.

Elsewhere, Revelstoke Times-Review editor Aaron Orlando digs back into the Times-Review’s archives to look into a controversy surrounding a meteorite that was found near Revelstoke some 45 years ago (and which may, or may not, have links to extra-terrestrial life). Ironically, the meteor was first reported in the Times-Review on April Fool’s Day. It’s a fascinating story, but impossible to sum up in 30 words so I won’t try.

The Columbia Valley Pioneer, which I came across the other day because they’re hiring a reporter, has a terrific website that is simple but absolutely beautiful. The Cheers and Jeers sidebar which changes each time you visit the page is a highlight.

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This blog had more visitors in February than any previous months. It’s still a one man show, though, so any help would be great. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment and I’ll shamefully update the post.

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!

Vancouver Courier’s Cheryl Rossi leads way on Athlete’s Village story

March 2, 2011 Comments off

When you work for a skin-flint community newspaper chain, competing with daily papers  staffed by reporters who may work for the same corporation but are nonetheless infinitely better financed can be difficult.

So it’s pretty high praise when City Caucus’s Mike Klassen writes the following about Vancouver Courier reporter Cheryl Rossi‘s work:

With the possible exception of Frances Bula, no other reporter than Cheryl Rossi at the Vancouver Courier has done a better job of documenting what has been happening at the Olympic Athlete’s Village on Southeast False Creek in recent months around the rental housing issue. Rossi broke the story last August that the City’s rental plan had stalled (because council had delayed their decision until after the Olympics), triggering a whole series of political earthquakes at the Village.

Ultimately the Village went into receivership, and the public was figuring out that Gregor “train wreck” Robertson’s running down of the project for political purposes had cost Vancouver taxpayers $150 million.

On Friday Rossi’s latest report titled Plan favouring ‘essential’ workers as tenants for Olympic Village flops shows that the plan moved by Coun. Geoff Meggs, seconded by Raymond Louie during an overnight city council meeting, has been a costly bust.

What you think of Mike Klassen likely depends on your political affiliation. But that’s neither here nor there. I can’t keep track of how community newspaper reporters cover ongoing, technical issues like the Athlete’s Village thing, so that type of reporting will fly under this blog’s radar, but I’m glad to see Cheryl leading the way on what has become a huge issue in the province’s media hub.

Here’s the start of that above-mentioned story:

Filling the city’s market rental apartments at The Village on False Creek with essential services workers hasn’t worked.

In January, 283 applicants had signed up for a waiting list to get into 126 market rental units given priority by the city to essential workers, including police officers, teachers and nurses, at the former Olympic Village.

But as of this week, only 15 of 252 suites the city owns at the project have been rented to essential workers, and 41 of the suites have been rented overall. “We’re fully engaged in going out to the general public now,” said Thom Armstrong, executive director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia, which through its COHO Property Management spinoff, is recruiting tenants for the suites on behalf of the city.

Categories: Roundup Tags: ,
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