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Thumbs up, thumbs down Ma Murrays

May 1, 2011 2 comments

The British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association handed out the 2011 Ma Murray Awards Saturday night in a glitzy presentation attended by some 350-odd people.

Thumbs up to speeches by Jeff Nagel, who encouraged publishers to start rehiring all those laid-off reporters, and by Dale Bass, whose speech about her award-winning column was the most emotional of the night.

And thumbs up to the opportunity to speechify.

One thumb up, one thumb down to the food, which was just OK.

Thumbs up to presenters Kathryn Gretsinger and Kyle Donaldson, who not only let things tick along at a reasonable pace, but kept the crowd informed of the score of the Canucks playoff hockey game.

Thumbs down to the 10-minute Michael Jackson impersonator routine after dinner. The dance crew did a great job, but it was very, very out of place.

Thumbs up to the massive (and very hefty) trophies for the winners. They make sure you know you won something.

That’s all I’ve got. Which way are your thumbs pointed? Leave a comment.

Editors on stage (and in drag)

January 17, 2011 Comments off

In the Okanagan Sunday weekend paper, Penticton Herald editor James Miller writes about his brave turn as a transvestite. On stage. Now, he can actually put “transvestite” on his resume or maybe even, he asks, his American Express card.

For those fortunate enough to catch one of five shows this past week of Chess: The Musical, you may have noticed me. I wore a dress, fishnet stockings, brassiere (filled with bird seed), makeup and high heels for a 45-second cameo in the Soundstage Productions musical that played at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

….

I now have an even greater admiration for women. It was painful. I started with a bad-ass pair of high heels, something Elton John would have worn in the 1970s, only to fall twice. They were replaced by a pair of stilettos. It‘s tough to find stilettos in size 13, so costumer Kerry Younie cut the back out of them to make them more of a sandal.

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Very funny.

And egads, what’s this? Another editor involved in a theatre production? Nelson Star editor Bob Hall recently confessed to growing muttonchops and a moustache for a pantomime role as a snake oil salesman.

Shortly after my facial transformation, I was walking through the Chahko-Mika parking lot when a big dude with a massive handlebar moustache gave me the head-nod and “heh” greeting. I happily nodded back, but having forgot about the handlebar I was rocking was a bit puzzled by this stranger’s acknowledgment.

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On a less cheery note, the homeless in Kamloops are drinking hand sanitizer, reporters KTW’s Dale Bass. This, it turns out, is dangerous:

One of the components of most sanitizers, however, is a chemical that has a medicinal use treating angina patients.

It does this by lowering their blood pressure, Salter said, but, in homeless people — most of whom are in poor physical health already — this can compromise their health.

The type of ethanol used is also toxic, affecting the central nervous system.

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Apparently students elsewhere have turned to the “booze ooze,” leading the Vancouver school district to not install sanitizer in their washrooms.

Please, if you, like the Merritt Herald, publish a column by a local politician, make sure the politician’s name (and position) is on the page on the website. Otherwise it looks like an editorial you would never, ever want to write yourself.

Nelson Star snow photo kicker: “Oh Snow You Didn’t.” Oh, NO they di’int.

Finally, this photo illustration by Vernon Morning Star shooter Cory Bialecki is pretty rocking. Story by Kristin Froneman is also well done. (I’ve noticed a common theme: good photos tend to be accompanied by good stories, written by a reporter not responsible for the photography).

Photo by Annie Mole via Flickr.

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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!

Blazers ban Daily News sports editor Drinnan (updated with proper spelling)

January 4, 2011 Comments off

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.

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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.

Any takers?

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Help keep this blog running for weeks to come by becoming a link farmer. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com. Also, take the poll on the right. It’s free. Lucky you.

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

Where are we now?

December 31, 2010 Comments off

Here’s my last post of 2010. Enjoy.

Check out this great series/feature/year-end wrap-up by Kamloops This Week:

Instead of just recapping the year’s most important stories, the paper updated them with “Where are they now”-style pieces. Actually, that’s the tag line for the stories.

I counted 11 stories in total, all which try to bring a new angle to something that happened earlier in the year. There’s an arts page, for which Dale Bass asked local entertainers what they’re up to now, an update by Tim Petruk on what the paper’s 2009 newsmaker has been doing (aside from not being president of the university), and two stories by Jeremy Deutsch on the stalled building plans for two very, very different venues–hint, one involves veils, the other bikinis.

Here’s the start of one unbylined article, which gives a sense of the direction of the pieces:

Months of outrage, protest and finger-pointing all came to ahead on a blustery March night, when the president of the Aboriginal Cogeneration Corporation (ACC)stepped into Kamloops for public forum at Thompson Rivers University.

Failing to sway the public’s disdain for a planned gasification project, only a few days later ACC president Kim Sigurdson said his company was abandoning its plans in Kamloops.

As the year draws to a close, there is little sign of the ACC in the city — and the public outrage has all but fizzled.

According to officials with the Ministry of Environment (MOE), the ACC is now looking at a site near Golden, by the Alberta-B.C. border, to set up its plant.

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It’s a great idea and one that adds value, rather than just filling space. Of course, it also takes time so…yeah…

Changes

Lots of newspapers, including the aforementioned KTW, take a page from Time and crown their newsmaker of the year around this time. I like those stories but I love what the North Shore Outlook has done.

The Outlook spotlights a handful of people who have made change — changemakers, in other words — over the past year. And if most of the copy is borrowed from past papers, which it may or may not be, that doesn’t really matter. At this time of year — actually, at any time of year — it’s good to remind people that their New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to be about their weight.

Wow, that last line was sappy. Now, off to drink away 2010.

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