Posts Tagged ‘North Island’

Wolves, love, and murderball

February 14, 2011 Comments off

Photo (!) by Robert Dewar via Flickr

Teresa Bird (I assume, by the cutline) of the North Island Gazette reports on a guy who fought off a wolf attacking his dog and who was then surrounded and chased by a whole pack of wolves. The story is intense.

He found his dog with a huge wolf at his neck. Passmore started yelling at the wolf he estimated to be 150 pounds.

“He didn’t even look at me, didn’t know I was there,” said Passmore who was above the wolf on the log jam. Thinking his dog was dead, Passmore took a quick photo of the wolf with his cell phone. Then he saw Huey’s chest heave.

“I knew then he was alive, so then I just launched myself onto the wolf’s back,” said Passmore.

“The wolf went one way and I landed on my back,” said Passmore. “Suddenly five more heads showed up in a half circle around us. It all happened in a millisecond. The lead dog ran and the rest followed.”


(One commenter asked, “where is THAT photo?”) The guy and both dogs escaped and conservation officers have issued a warning for the area.  (Wild area up there: in the same paper is the headline “Cougar kills livestock in Hyde Creek.)


Two good Valentine’s stories: Saanich News reporter Natalie North pens a nice, timely feature on a couple who met online a decade ago, when internet dating was just catching on; and Christine van Reeuwyk of the Peninsula News Review writes about a widow and widower who got together in their 70s.

Ken Hutchin counts himself lucky to have a good-lookin’ girl.

“I’m twice blessed,” he says, eyes crinkling as he slips a sidelong glance at his bride of 10 years.

Jean Jackson wasn’t looking for love.

“It was friendship that developed,” she explained. “Something just grew, there was no big flash. I’d been on my own for 15 years and I wasn’t looking for a partner.”

Judging by the way they readily smooch like unchaperoned teenagers for a photograph, the love is strong.


That’s some groovy writing.


There’s a nice little narrative by Alistair Taylor in the Campbell River Mirror about the release into the wild of a rehabbed injured hawk. Nothing big, but a nice, clean, simple story told in a unique way.


Ferret filched in Comox.


Interesting letter to the editor also in the Comox Valley Echo. Ann Foster writes to say: “Occasionally letters from an ‘A. Foster’ appear in your letter section. Please let it be known that this person is not me.” Funny. You never think about the people who have the same names as the crazy letter-writers and who must spend uncommon amounts of time telling friends ‘No, I don’t think Stephen Harper is a Joseph Stalin reincarnation with the sole aim of putting local lettuce growers out of business.'”


Sorry, but I just don’t get what this Comox Valley Record story is about:

The lede:

A successful marketer with international connections who could have lived anywhere in Canada chose the Comox Valley.


It’s a business story, I think, but one that’s more an advertorial for a single person, which seems weird. Sorry, but I just don’t get it.


Erin DeCoste of the Ladysmith Chronicle tries out murderball, otherwise known as wheelchair rugby. She survives.


A general rule of journalism is not to lead with a question. You can break it, but rarely. I certainly shouldn’t come across multiple question leads in the space of half-an-hour of story surfing. (On the other hand, questions are great for online headlines).


Finally, the following screen grab, in the Victoria News, makes the headline “Officer in YouTube kicking video won’t be charged: Crown counsel” all the more powerful.

My take? I can see how kicking could be needed in some circumstances. But perhaps police departments should outlaw it just because it looks really freakin’ bad when an officer kicks someone who’s on the ground.


Homer Simpson, Charles Taylor, and two Targets

January 19, 2011 Comments off

Very, very solid week of reportage from the Island and Sunshine Coast. Want to help me with this? E-mail me at bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com.

This headline in the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial: “Uranium clean-up underway” is understated and yet I still went, “HUH!?!” Apparently a ship has stopped between Ladysmith and Chemainus after “… containers holding the uranium had shifted and two open drums moved outside their sea containers. People inspecting the ship have since discovered more than the two reported drums have spilled,” according to the story by the Ladysmith Chronicle’s Matthew Peterson. Sounds like Homer Simpson might be the safety officer onboard. (The Chronicle went with the tamer (lamer?) headline “Ship carrying uranium anchored near Ladysmith/Chemainus.”

Wawmeesh G. Hamilton writes a solid story in the Alberni Valley News about a local Haitian-Canadian whose home in Port-au-Prince was destroyed a year ago, but who hasn’t been able to go back and see the damage herself.

Christine Wood has returned to the Coast Reporter after finally finding a half-decent daycare for her kids.  She takes over for Jenny Wagler, who’s now working for Business in Vancouver. Christine started at the Reporter in 1999, but left in 2007 to care for her kids. (I assume her return means that the reporter position listed on Gaulin is now filled). The Reporter also hired Justin Samson as its weekend photographer.

Why is every Postmedia Vancouver Island site just a little bit different? I can’t figure out if it’s maddening or delightful.

I hate to get picky, and I don’t know who wrote the cutline for this very nice Comox Valley Record photo, but just to be clear, the Just in Time Vocal Jazz Choirs IS NOT “literally soaring into spring with their new musical theme: Fly!” Until they sprout wings or jump on a plane they will not be figuratively soaring.

Here’s a quote you don’t get all the time:

“I’d rather this be a murder suicide so I know there’s nothing to be worried about,” she said.

That from a breaking story by Saanich News reporter Kyle Slavin after a pair of bodies were found in a house yesterday. One wonders why, exactly, this anonymity-seeking neighbour would be afraid if it wasn’t a murder-suicide.

Another question of note: every time I see the words “Charles Taylor prize” I wonder why the hell did someone name a writing prize for a brutal Liberian dictator. Unfortunate name, that.

I’m not sure how I feel about this Nanaimo News Bulletin headline: “Nanaimo Target targeted by U.S. Target.” The story though, by Toby Gorman, is interesting. Seems there’s a store in town called Target that is not the Target we’ve been hearing about on the news. Predictably, lawyers are involved.

J.R. Rardon has an equally interesting story in the North Island Gazette. He reports on a local family who got charged $852 — including $85 for a “bunch” of bones — after their seven-year-old daughter played a free iPod game while on vacation. It’s a major-league scam but the family’s getting their money back.

Back to the Saanich News, where Natalie North writes about local actors training med students about how to interact with patients. Very nice package, from the story to the photos to the sparkling page layout (the page is in the photo spot next to the online story).

Finally, I’ll point out again the the Powell River Peak’s website is awesome and super duper fast to load. Please! Somebody copy them fer Chrissake. From the Peak, Laura Walz reports that a cousin of the super-evil Mountain Pine Beetle is chomping down on trees there.


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!

Hitler, a coke dealer, and an elk named stinky

January 8, 2011 Comments off

You know you have a good story when Hitler makes an appearance. Sean McIntyre of the Gulf Islands Driftwood reports on how a local organization’s Facebook site now bears a video of Hitler.

What’s generated so much discussion over the past few weeks, however, is that subtitles inserted by the video’s anonymous creator portray local Trust committee member George Ehring as Hitler.

While views about the clip’s propriety abound, a point that’s started to generate some debate is the role social media network administrators have when it comes to non-administrators posting material and links on sites like Facebook.


The video was taken down five days after it was posted. (Just to be clear. If someone posts a comment below that points to a video that portrays me as Hitler, it’s getting deleted REAL quick. Anyone have a problem with that? That’s what I thought.)

Anyways, the story is really interesting, beyond the appearance of Hitler. And it brings to mind some interesting questions. All the Black Press sites have a little widget on the right side that scans for any Twitter mention of, say, #Cranbrook. If something libellous is posted, it can make it to the Black Press site with ease where it’s possible for a lawyer to see it way before any editor notices. Maybe someone should address that.

Look at the Ladysmith Chronicle’s home page, then click on the main story. You’ll notice the awesome photo has been replaced by the dreary Island seascape that opens a short video. Where’s the photo?!?!

This lede by Tyler Clarke of the Lake Cowichan Gazette is awesome: “Fondly referred to as Pretty Boy, and not-so-fondly known as Stinky and a more expletive-filled nick-name, a well-known Youbou elk has been killed.”  What was the expletive-filled nickname I want to know.

I don’t know the swear word, but you can guess with the following hint:

The not-so-good variety of nickname came from the fact that the elk enjoyed eating residents’ gardens.

“He was a connoisseur, and liked variety,” Smith said. “After a while of testing everything in the yard, he would lie down, chew his cud, ready to start munching in a short while.”


Nice feature by the North Island Gazette: it features its annual Christmas story and colouring contest for adults and kids. The web treatment is also good. This is how all features should be displayed on Black Press sites.

Vivian Moreau of the Oak Bay News takes attendance of local councillors. It’s a great way to wrap up the season by congratulating the best of the bunch and shaming the guy who missed 11 of 51 meetings. Every council reporter can probably write a story on the topic, but not all do.

Good court story by Campbell River Mirror reporter Paul Rudan on a drug deal gone bad. Some very nice quotes from the testimony of some guy who backed out of a deal to finance a large cocaine purchase. Note to self: never do that. Why? Because, if you’re lucky, you’ll stand in court and say the following:

“I stood there and bled over the sink,” said Warren as he recalled the beating he took.


Great hockey photo by Victoria News shooter Sharon Tiffin who catches a Vancouver player in the act of tripping his opponent.

Finally, on the Powell River Peak, a new dispatch from a local Sunshine Coast soldier serving in Afghanistan.

Pretty damn good lede for a non-reporter:

Afterburners light up the sky like two 20-foot blowtorches and the sound of a jet engine fills the air as another fighter takes off into the sky. It is Christmas Eve in Kandahar and I am sitting outside my quarters enjoying a very good cigar as the clock ticks past midnight.



Help keep this blog running for weeks to come by becoming a link farmer. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-maibclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) coml . 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!

Slugs, soldiers and Santa Claus; Island roundup

December 6, 2010 Comments off

Krista Bryce of the Nanaimo Daily News is halfway through a six-part series on early New Year’s Resolutions (kicker: Don’t wait for Jan. 1 to make your healthy lifestyle choices”). The series relates the personal stories of people trying to get healthy. Part one focuses on a guy who’s quitting smoking and introduces the series with some advice on how to get fit. Part two tells the story of a fellow who lost 282 (!) pounds. And part three focuses on how new gadgets and technology can make workouts more fun and more effective. All the stories feature several sources and great photography, also by Bryce. Stories are published each Saturday.

I found Bryce’s series through the “Editor’s Picks” section of the NDN’s website, which is just under the main stories. All websites should have such a section. Unfortunately, few do.

The Powell River Peak has a story written by a local soldier, Tod Strickland, stationed in Afghanistan. Sometimes the best journalism can mean letting other people do the writing. Also, I’ll say it again: the Peak’s website is freaking amazing (I’m going to dedicate a full post to it later, but while browsing I noticed that I’m not alone in my love for the site; media/IT director (!) Tyson Fandrick won the 2009 and 2010 CCNA for best website.) (One minus: took me too long to find the Peak’s twitter feed).

Ashley Gaudreault of the awkwardly named Cowichan News Leader Pictorial has a great feature on Santa Claus. Or at least a Santa Claus impostor. I like this:  “On a cruise down the Panama Canal, nine people asked to pose with him for a picture so they could say to their grandkids they went cruising with St. Nick.” Now that’s a brave editor who will publish a behind-the-scenes Santa Claus story. Should the story have a disclaimer? Maybe something like: “Warning: adult content. Parental guidance required”?

Edward Hill of the Goldstream Gazette writes about a local school’s annual drive to raise 10,000 pieces of non-perishable food in four hours. Good story, great idea for a fundraiser.

And Erin McCracken, also of the Goldstream Gazette, has another very interesting story, this one on an endangered tiny, blue, beautiful (!) slug.

Well written, simple sports story with a great lead by J.R. Rardon of the North Island Gazette. Good photo too.

Hilarious Peninsula News Review headline: “Smurfette released from rehab.” Nice story by Christine van Reeuwyk.

Pirjo Raits of the Sooke News Mirror talks to a boy credited with saving his family from a fire.

Finally, just as I presciently predicted, SwarmJam is spreading. OK, not the business itself, which will probably sputter and die a deserved death, but the stories about it. Booooooo.


Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Be my editor by leaving a comment (the button’s up top by the headline). I’ll duly update the post.

Seen something else I should know about? Want to write a post? Have better photos than the Creative Commons Flickr pool ones I use? E-mail bclocalreporter(at)

Help complete a census of B.C. community newspapers by filling in the blanks for your newspaper in the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. 

Photo by Kevin Dooley via Flickr
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