Posts Tagged ‘Kamloops’

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!

Copy this idea: Kamloops Daily News edition (updated w/ comment)

March 4, 2011 3 comments

A good reporter knows to follow his or her own curiosity to dig up good stories. Whenever you find yourself puzzling over something unexplained phenomenon in your town, there’s a pretty good chance a half-decent story isn’t too far away.

When one person has a question, it’s a good chance many others are wondering the same thing. The Kamloops Daily News has taken that idea to a new (or, at least, newish) level by asking reader’s to write in with their curious questions about life in the city.

The best of those questions are handed off to KDN reporter/associate editor Catherine Litt for a regular “Reader’s Reporter” column.

The questions often result in interesting stories, even about dry topics (See Jan. 4’s “Why use such big gravel on the highway?“)

Of course, any newspaper anywhere can copy the idea. The feature is not only interesting and (seems) relatively easy to produce, but it’s also a great way to create a sense of community ownership in a newspaper.


P.S. Catherine comments below:

Our Q&A feature under the Reader’s Reporter banner has proven to be a real success with our readership. Not a week goes by without someone mentioning to me that they look forward to reading the Q&As.

By the way, this idea isn’t new. There is at least one newspaper in the U.S. that’s been doing a similar thing for a few years now, again with success. About a year ago, I brought the concept to our editor, Mel Rothenburger; he loved it and gave me the go-ahead to put it under our already established Reader’s Reporter department.

In all honesty, he deserves a lot of credit for buying into such a ‘seemingly’ non-journalism concept. Colleagues of mine rolled their eyes at the idea. I think the perception was that so-called serious journalists shouldn’t be wasting time hunting down answers to questions about highway gravel. They’ve warmed to the idea since.

Anyway, I would certainly encourage other papers in B.C. to copy the idea. If they’re lucky like I was, they’ll have an editor who is open-minded and eager to try new ways of reaching out to readers.
p.s. Thanks for taking notice of our little Q&A feature.

Marty The Reporter faces off against, and insults, NHL greats

February 28, 2011 Comments off

The latest installment of Kamloops This Week’s Marty The Reporter Hastings‘s amusing escapades sees our intrepid hero bringing, in the words of KTW publisher Kelly Hall, his “limited skills and abilities” and “interesting speed” to a charity game against a team of NHL oldtimers.

Apparently his speed skating training hasn’t paid off, although Marty still had enough confidence to tell former 70-goal scorer Bernie Nicholls that he is powerless without his mullet. He also said Cliff Ronning is only fast now “while running to the fridge for a beer.” Meanwhile, Ronning’s standing beside him.

Skating on a line with former NHLer Chris Murray and Kamloops Daily News reporter Mark Hunter, a The Reporter giveaway led to a Heroes goal. Needless to say, Hall was not impressed, calling his play “marginal.”

Anyways, watch the video here. Very, very amusing.

Bobsleds, drug dealers, and landfill rage (!)

February 7, 2011 1 comment

A bobsled wipes out at last year's Rossland Winter Carnival

The roundup is back this week with a look at papers in the Interior.

There’s a very interesting story by Tracy Hughes and Lachlan Labere in the Salmon Arm Observer that is a little too twisted for me to summarize completely without just ripping off, word-for-word, everything Tracy and Lachlan very capably write. In short: a court has pulled a $1.75 million house off the market because one of its residents is a convicted drug traffickers facing new charges. However, the property’s owners is not facing charges and only a little bit of pot was found on the property. But the alleged traffickers did own the home in the past. Great reportage.

Also, in the Salmon Arm Observer, Barb Brouwer reports on what may be British Columbia’s single worst job: defending the local landfill from angry and violent would-be dumpers.

Anger from customers continues to be an issue at the Salmon Arm Landfill and police are recommending assault charges following the latest instance of violence.

For the second time in three months, attendant Debbie Dystant has been injured on the job by a customer expressing his anger over the 4 p.m. closing.


Over the past three years, Dystant has been sworn at and had angry customers attempt to run her down. But, while she was vocal about her previous experiences, she has hired a lawyer following this latest incident and did not comment. In November, another irate customer sprayed Dystant with gravel by peeling his tires, which bruised her legs and ruined her eyeglasses in the process.


I. Will. Never. Complain. About. My. Job. Again. (Or at least I’ll feel a tinge of guilt when I do so.)

A 100-year-old Kamloops curler is is the oldest active curler in the world according to no less an authority than the Guiness Book of World Records. Marty The Reporter Hastings of Kamloops This Week has the story, while photographer Dave Eagles‘s very imaginative and all-round awesome profile shot may be included in the 2012 version of the book. Here’s what centenarian Steve Gittus has to say about being in the book:

“I don’t know why I should be in there,” Gittus said.

“I didn’t have anything to do with me getting older. That’s just the way it is. I didn’t make a deliberate choice to become old.

“It just happened.”


An aside that has nothing to do with any of the story’s mentioned today: don’t use the word “noted” if it’s not absolutely perfect for the sentence. Use “said” instead. When you write “noted” it implies that the writer accepts whatever is being said as the clear and unarguable truth. It’s also just clumsy.

Matt Coxford of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman writes about mullet madness on the local junior hockey team:

Whether it’s lying down in front of a speeding puck or colouring his mullet red and black, Kimberley Dynamiter Rylan Duley will do what it takes to help his team win.

“Blocking shots is hard, but committing to a mullet is a different thing,” said Duley, shrugging off the suggestion it takes courage to sport the short-in-front, long-in-back hairdo.

“It makes you faster out there.”


Elsewhere in the crazy Kootenay International Junior Hockey Leauge, there’s this Nelson Star story and photo, I think by Andrea Klassen (?), about a crazy end to a recent game between Nelson and Castlegar:

“I looked at the ref before I even shot the puck, and I’m like, ‘how hasn’t he blown the whistle?'” a bemused Moir told the Star following the game. “The goalie’s behind the net without his helmet, just swarmed. I shot the puck anyway. It’s probably the greasiest goal I’ve ever scored in my life.”

By the time play resumed a smattering of Castlegar fans were climbing the glass at the Nelson and District Community Complex and screaming from the stands, while a water bottle went sailing from the Rebel bench.


Meanwhile, a terrific helmet-cam video (from YouTube) of a bobsled run down city streets is attached to the Rossland News’ story on the annual race, which was attended by Rick Mercer last year. Watch the video, it’s insane.

In the Castlegar News: a mother whose 11-year-old son *Cole (*CORRECTED) “suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury while skiing” leaving him paralyzed from the waist down — at least for now — writes a long and touching letter about her child’s recover and future. Making things more difficult is the fact that *Cole’s parents are separated meaning that there are two houses that need to be made wheelchair accessible. I wonder how often that happens, or how a paralysis affects families that have already split up. I don’t know how you’d get access to someone to write that feature, though…

Will someone write a column about the thousands of dollars ICBC is spending on all those bloody Vicky Gabereau advertisements? They’re fucking everywhere.

Finally, from the better-late-than never files: last week Prince George Free Press editor Bill Phillips wrote on his blog that the competing Citizen failed to sufficiently correct a wrong Page 1 story last week.

Monday’s banner story in the Citizen says the college board is “vowing to keep” the aboriginal programs. Nowhere in the story does it mention that they got it wrong on Saturday. To top it off, there is a small correction on page two that simply states their page one story on Saturday contained incorrect information … without offering any corrected information.

As mentioned above, the measure of a newspaper is in how it handles its own mistakes. I rest my case.


Photo by urbanbenchwork via Flickr.

Nelsonitis and Kamloopox

February 5, 2011 Comments off

I can’t help but noticing that I’ve written quite a bit about various goings-on in Kamloops and Nelson.

Reason 1, of course, is the fact that there have been interesting developments in both cities, what with the closing of the Express and the banning of Gregg Drinnan.

Reason 2 is the advanced and relatively competitive media culture in Nelson and Kamloops, which are both hubs for the surrounding region.

Reason 3, though, is where this blog’s readers come in. It’s because of certain readers in those two markets have been particularly helpful in directing my attention towards stories and shenanigans that I find interesting.

My thanks go out to them. And to the rest of you freeloaders (I jest, I jest), if  you want to see more stuff about your region or paper on this blog, it’s up to you to alert me. E-mail me at bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com. (The parentheses are to thwart nefarious spambots that try and clog my inbox. A pox on all your servers.)


Categories: Projects Tags: ,

Journo-Jobs, revised edition (Jan. 21)

January 21, 2011 Comments off

I’m not going to post extensively every Friday on new jobs because, really, you can (and probably will) go to Gaulin if you want a job that bad. Instead, I’ll  try to use Fridays to post on comings and goings and those job postings that say something larger about the industry.

So without further ado, Marlyn Graziano has been named publisher of the Postmedia-owned Surrey Now. She takes over for Gary Hollick. Marlyn was the editor of the paper until 2000, when she took over as editorial director of Canwest Community Publishing. Marlyn’s also been a reporter and editor at South Delta Today, North Delta Optimiest and White Rock/Surrey Sounder.

She’ll stay on as editorial director.

So good news for all Postmedia editors who want to run the show.

In other news, Kamloops Daily News city editor Susan Duncan is leaving Kamloops This Week, as tweeted by associate news editor Catherine Litt yesterday. Her job was also posted yesterday on Gaulin. Closes Jan. 21.

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