Posts Tagged ‘headlines’

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…’”


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!

Gators, pinball wizards, school boards and animal people

February 28, 2011 Comments off

Lotsa stuff from around the Lower Mainland last week. (Two more posts coming later today).

Superb story, in the Burnaby Now, by Jennifer Moreau on an autistic pinball genius and aspiring poker king.

Robert’s latest passion is poker. For the past three or four months, he’s been teaching himself how to play by watching YouTube videos and has already ranked No. 11 in one of B.C.’s amateur leagues. With his natural ability to handle numbers, statistics and probabilities, Robert seems cut out for the game.

“If you ask him, ‘What are the chances of getting royal flush?’ He’ll probably say, ‘One in 650,000,’ ” Maurizio says. “He tells me this stuff, and it goes over my head.”


The poker thing blows me away because it’s generally assumed that a large part of that game is the ability to read competitors’ intentions. And yet, a major symptom of autism is the inability to pick up such social cues.

Also in the Burnaby Now, Janaya Fuller-Evans reports on allegations of bullying, infighting and other alleged misdeeds that one normally expects to see in the arts community, rather than among animal lovers.

Arnold noted many instances of harassment, from board members directly confronting her over issues to moments where she felt threatened, including when her truck was vandalized while parked at the association’s barns.



The new Black Press front pages are improved, but the stories themselves badly need paragraph breaks. I imagine someone’s working on that. Meanwhile the WordPress Theme for Black Press blogs is truly horrible and gloomy and makes me not want to read on even when the content is quite good. Please change it.


The phrase “board of education” sounds stupid. They’re school boards, they should be called as such.


I just noticed the sleazy weekly editorials in the Delta Optimist. How do you get your editorial percentage when the copy is so obviously an advertisement? The Optimist is the only Postmedia paper with a business column down the right hand side of its news page. Why? Why? Why?


A crazy crime spree in the Chilliwack area included, as Robert Freeman of the Chilliwack Progress puts it, “one woman’s emergency 911 call, one vehicle burning under the Agassiz/Rosedale bridge, one dust-up with a Chilliwack car dealer, one startled shopper in the Chilliwack Safeway parking lot – and one alligator.” Oh, yeah, and there was a marijuana grow-op involved (although I guess the presence of drugs isn’t all that surprising).

In a similar vein comes this beauty of a headline from the North Shore Outlook: “Stinky thieves steal laundry loot.” And yes, the thieves were actually smelly.


Two stories — one in the Richmond News, the other in the Coquitlam Now — about stutterers are hooked on last night’s Oscars and The King’s Speech. I think a smart PR person is probably behind each, given that they both mention Columbia Speech and Language Services, but that’s OK; the stories are good.


The Richmond Review has published its 30 under 30 section. These features about all these high-flying young achievers always depress the hell out of me, but are fun to read anyways.


Your webinar of the day:

Be like Delta Leader photog Evan Seal and turn your camera on an angle.

This Tri-City News file photo of an ambulance at a hospital is awesome. File photos don’t have to be boring.

And for some reason community newspapers forget that the simple Q and A format can make for great reading and very easy writing. Marisa Babic of the Surrey Now puts questions to under-fire Vanoc head John Furlong.

(One thing, though: we Canadians don’t have a timid sense of patriotism. We just like to pretend we do. If we weren’t patriotic Molson’s I Am Canadian commercials wouldn’t be so successful. Hopefully the Olympics ends the charade.)


Nice story (and lede) by the Vancouver Courier’s Naoibh O’Connor on a First Nations school that has rebranded itself as an “Earth School.”

Rainwater drips like a broken tap off the corner of the First Nation long house roof into a concrete barrel. Droplets barely ripple the surface of six-inch deep water pooled above a bed of rocks, sand and debris. Fidgety Grade 2 and 3 students gather around Brent Mansfield on this cool late-January morning at Grandview/¿uuqinak’uuh elementary. Mansfield, the school’s garden project coordinator, hoped for more of a downpour for today’s lesson, but a drizzle will do.



Finally, in case you missed the Black Press shuffle, the North Shore Outlook and WestEnder have got new editors.

Photo by Ryan Somma via Flickr.


That was a pretty good post, eh? Or not? Either way keep them coming by helping me out. 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!

Cougars, regulators and driver licences

February 21, 2011 Comments off

Northern roundup this Monday.

The wild, wild west story of the week award goes to Ken Alexander of the 100 Mile House Free Press, who reports on a couple  who woke up one morning to find a cougar just outside the house gnawing on a shoe.

Dirk says it stayed on the deck and just continued to gnaw on his shoe.

“She totally destroyed it, but what am I going to do with one shoe,” he says, chuckling.


Anyways, the cougar was apparently starving and conservation officers ended up shooting it

Also in the Free Press, Carole Rooney writes that the CRTC denied an application from a proposed FM radio station because it would threaten the viability of the existing AM station. The applicants, of course, dispute this. Whatever the case, seems to my inner Adam Smith (last seen here) that if a new station is really going to poach all the existing listeners, then the old station probably deserves and needs the competition to get back on track. I’m very, very, very thankful there’s no CRTC legislating who can, and who cannot, start newspapers.

Alaska Highway News reporter Ryan Lux finally gets his B.C. driver’s licence and declares that personal vehicle ownership isn’t sinful, even if transferring licences across borders can be a major pain in the ass.

Headline in Houston Today: “RCMP seeking more input on alleged multi-person fight.” Those single-person fights are so much easier to investigate.

Photo by Dick Schumacher

Bipolar comedians, Mt. Everest and a brief physics lesson

January 26, 2011 Comments off

The must read story of the week comes from Hannah Sutherland of the Peace Arch News who speaks to a woman widowed last week when her husband was killed in a horrific crash with a dump truck. A super photo by Doug Shanks of the woman at the scene sets up the story and Hannah does the rest of the work. It closes:

The weekend before the crash, Michie said she and Neiss were watching a news story about a man who died earlier this month in a Tucson, Ariz. shooting, after pushing his wife out of the line of fire.

Neiss told Michie he had been wondering what he would say to her if he was that man, and only had moments to live.

“‘I’ve been thinking about it and I’d tell you thanks for loving me’,” Michie recalled him saying. “And I said, ‘well, thanks for loving me.’”


Alan Campbell of the Richmond News reports on a local mountaineer and adventurer (who’s aspiring to walk from Richmond to Mexico) in style:

The wind was howling at gale-force and even more deadly weather was creeping closer by the hour.

Darrell Ainscough and his two Sherpas were sitting tight in a frozen camp, just shy of Mt. Everest’s peak, as the final window of opportunity to reach the Summit of the World was just about to slam shut.

Everyone else had either reached the 8,850-metre summit or had given up, when Ainscough suddenly became aware that he and his native guides were the last group on Earth’s most revered mountain.


THAT’S how you start a story.

Jessica Kerr of the Delta Optimist reports on a family that is P-I-S-S-E-D after finding their runaway dog with another owner downtown. Even though the dog was tattooed with identification, it ended up at an Abbotsford adoption pound from where it was adopted. The family can’t do

In a Langley Advance story on that reckless dump truck driver, a cop is paraphrased as saying “two cars, each going 60, can hit at a total speed of 120 km/h, causing a tremendous impact.” Until a couple months ago that made perfect sense to me. Then I saw a Mythbusters episode that explained that this much-repeated “fact” is wrong (follow link for some formulas and stuff I don’t understand but assume to be true). According to something or other called physics (?), the total speed may double, but so does the mass of the two objects. That means that a crash between two similarly sized cars travelling at the same speed shouldn’t result in much more destruction than if one of those cars had just driven into a brick wall. (I’m not sure about the physics when the two vehicles have different masses, as was the case in Langley.) Something to remember.

Todd Coyne of the Tri-City News profiles a local bipolar comedian:

Before J. Peachy reinvented himself, people knew him as Geoffrey and he seemed the very image of success.

He had a wife, they owned a home, he had a nice car and he managed a successful telecommunications portfolio that included highly sensitive military contracts.

Then, on a work day like any other in November 2004, Geoffrey got up from his office desk and retired to the bathroom never to re-emerge.


I know Maple Ridge is dealing with a bad-ass cougar, but I don’t think it has telekenetic powers as the Maple Ridge Times seems to claim with the headline: “Cat thought to kill horse.” Just sayin’.

A better headline from the North Shore News: “Appetite for construction.” Yes it’s easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. I smiled.

Great story and photo by Rebecca Aldous of the North Shore Outlook on all the money spent by the local library in the past year. Instead of leading with a whole bunch of dollar amounts she ledes with a nice personal moment at a local library.

Jenny Benedict pulls a comment from a wall dotted with green and blue sticky notes.

The rectangular area, which was left free to celebrate West Vancouver Memorial Library’s 60th anniversary, is a space where people can leave tidbits on their experience and memories regarding the facility.

The slip in the director of library services hand reads, “I love the library because it feels like coming home.”


THEN come the numbers.

Finally, the Surrey Now re-introduces new publisher, and former editor, Marlyn Graziano.

Photo by Joe Hastings via Flickr.

Murder, murder and more murder, from Chilliwack to Vanderhoof

December 17, 2010 Comments off

Before we get to the North, we’ll start with murder and a missing man in Chilliwack.

Paul Henderson of the Chilliwack Times — not Team Canada — writes fascinatingly about a convicted murderer who kept his past hidden as he tried to build a life in Chilliwack only to disappear suddenly then reappear in a Saskatchewan jail, charged with another murder. He also helped a local videographer interview Sir Mix-A-Lot of “I Love Big Butts” fame. A second part is still to come.

The Times also has another story about what may be a murder, which may turn into a larger story because, shortly before a 64-year-old man went missing, the police arrested then released the missing man’s roommate, who has since been re-arrested and declared a “person of interest” in the disappearance.

And in Kamloops, a story by Marty Hastings on the Blazers’ embrace of a celebration dance last seen on video game consoles in 1994. If you know the game, this is very, very funny.

Now, to the north:

Less than a month ago the Caledonia Courier welcomed Ruth Lloyd as their new reporter/photographer. If a column written by Lloyd this week about a family member convicted of murder is any indication, she’ll do fine. By the way, you can find her blog here, where her photography promises more good things for Fort St. James.

This sports story in the Dawson Creek Daily News by Rick Davison, of a goaltender making the move to rec hockey to senior men’s hockey, is interesting because I had kind of forgotten that there are still senior men’s teams like the Trail Smoke Eaters used to be (if that sentence makes any sense).

I think this headline in the Alaska Highway News needs a hypen, but otherwise it’s perfect: “No more fur lined bikinis.” Curious right? Apparently the public pool has one of those waterslides that go outside the building. That’s a problem when your newspaper’s name has the word “Alaska” in it. The pool closes when the weather drops below -20 C or – 30 c, depending on the cloud cover, according to sports editor Kelly Lapointe‘s story.

When the waterslide was originally planned, the Pool Commission had thought it would enclosed.

“We had an actual structural engineer that assured us that the volume of the water going through the slide was sufficient to keep it thawed. He was just mistaken, unfortunately. I think he didn’t really understand what 30 below is up here. He made his best judgment based on his experience levels and we were all assured that the slide would never freeze and of course that hasn’t been the case,” explained McLain.

“But it wasn’t a decision that the Pool Commission made, it wasn’t a decision that the city made, it was our architect and the building engineer had made that assurance.”

McLain said the slide averages to about two or three weeks of closure each winter, but last year’s was about 18 or 19 days, which he said is a lot.


Here’s the start of Lorne Eckersley‘s story on “Dammit Dolls” in the Invermere Valley Echo:

When you want to climb the wall

And stand right up and shout

Here’s a little Dammit Doll

You cannot do without.

Just grasp it firmly by the legs

And find a place to slam it

And as you whack the stuffing out

Yell — Dammit Dammit Dammit!

Frustrated at the geographical distance that separates her from her ailing granddaughter, Nancy Crest has taken to making Dammit Dolls, each with the above message attached.


Apparently Dammit Dolls aren’t a brand new idea. And neither is the poem. But the idea is brilliant. I wish I had one yesterday. They should come with your business cards when you start at a new paper.

Who wrote this story about the Northwest Transmission Line for the Terrace Standard? There’s no byline attached but the story makes simple what sounds to be a very complicated and convoluted process in trying to get the go-ahead for the line.

And finally, a couple more great stories from Hannah Wright of the Vanderhoof Omineca Express on the ongoing investigation into the murder of 15-year-odl Loren Leslie. Wright’s obviously got the inside scoop on all the proceedings, as she again quotes the father and multiple friends. I can’t sum it all up, so read it. From a week ago… and the latest…

Leave a comment…

Photo by [puamelia] via Flickr


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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!

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