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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!

Interior roundup

December 22, 2010 Comments off

Castlegar News reporter Kim Magi skis for the third time ever, faceplants into a snowbank and writes about the experience, which always makes for an entertaining story. Welcome to the Kootenays. Money quote:

Even though my first ski of the season brought many lessons and words of advice from various mountain-goers, the best came from Rossland News reporter Andrew Bennett:

“Just don’t fall into the ‘slow’ signs, because that’s really embarrassing.”

more…

Kevin Parnell of the Kelowna Capital News profiles a hockey player who has turned his career around by finding a new attitude.

Across town at the Kelowna Daily Courier, Ron Seymour writes an interesting council story. It helps that it involves a grandfather-to-be councillor’s success at saving bunny rabbits. Nice pun in the lede too. Also, Kelowna has a councillor named Graeme James? Tough luck for him. (Among other things, the Daily Courier web stories really need paragraph breaks. It’s the least they can do to make it easier to read on the web.)

Two stories from Revelstoke Times-Review reporter Alex Cooper: one on two Revelstoke men on opposite ends of a dramatic rescue at Lake Louise; the other on the local high school’s embrace of social media. The latter seems like a great way to get parents involved in their kids’ schooling:

One parent (who asked not to be named) said he checked the blog for his son’s grade 12 biology class several times a week. He used to e-mail his son’s teachers for updates, which his son resented because he perceived it as going behind his back to keep track of his work. Now, the parent accesses the blog to find out what is going on in class and help out his son.

more…

The Rossland News goes on the attack against a Mr. Dirty Hippo in an editorial. I’m not joking. He’s a mean web commenter, turns out. Then it gets better:

At about the same time, David Sidley — or at least someone calling from his phone — left a voice message at the Rossland News with regard to last week’s editorial. Without introducing himself, the caller jumped right into claims that “you are obviously just another psychopath” and described city staff as “minions,” in response to our critique of what we described as Coun. Laurie Charlton’s “persistent negativity.”

It was the caller’s opinion that “it’s not a real newspaper when you vilify people who don’t agree with your masters.” Masters? Ah yes, did we forget to mention the suitcase of cash we received for the editorial?

more…

Ba-doop-boop-tssssh…(That’s supposed to sound like a symbol ala. Late Night)

Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star writes that Kevin Martin is going to Hawaii and Jeff Stoughton is going to Winnipeg after their battle at a recently wrapped major curling event in Vernon. Martin’s team agreed that the game was really “a beauty.”

And another new reporter (OK, not brand new, I’m slow on the uptake): Megan Cole left Vancouver to work at the Fernie Free Press.  First she wanted to be a journalist. Then she wanted to be a lawyer. Then she wanted to be a journalist again. I’m guessing the paycheque convinced her. Or note. Either way, welcome. Now you can ask Kim for skiing lessons.

Finally, back in the Lower Mainland, here’s part two of Paul Henderson‘s two part series on a killer who infiltrated Chilliwack.

Photo by Greg Younger 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!

Roundup – Cleaning out the plumbing edition

December 13, 2010 2 comments

Arstad?

Keremeos Review reporter Steve Arstad is the latest to use a story on how many drinks it takes to get to .05 as a pretense to get drunk for work. I kid, I kid. But Keremeos’s mayor did out-drink Arstad under the table so there is some ‘splaining to do.

Based on the results, it would appear that I have been over reacting to the new laws, having a blood alcohol level slightly less than half of .05 after one drink. However, two 20 ounce drafts put me over .05 – with the recently recalibrated breathalyzers, ( to .06) I’m still legal, but I think I’d want to cool the quaffing at this point.

Notice the mayor seems to be a little better than the reporter at handling his alcohol at this point.

more…

I like this Nelson Star headline: “Police concerned about creep in van.” When a guy is driving around asking woman who are alone if they want to have sex in his van, why not call a spade a spade? (Shockingly, all the woman turned down the man’s charming advances).

I didn’t quite know that it was possible for one worker at a two-person workplace to unionize. But Penticton Herald freelancer Joe Fries reports it is.

Penticton‘s newest – and likely smallest – shop was certified Dec. 2 by the Labour Relations Board as CUPE Local 5036.

The lone member at present is secretary Emma Jones, who earlier this week was laid off for the season. She said talk of unionizing began in the spring shortly after the new volunteer board of directors was installed.

“They just were not taking care of business for their employees,” Jones explained.

The boat‘s only other employee, artistic and managing director Glen Cairns, was denied in his bid to join the union. His contract was not renewed at the end of November and he could not be reached for comment.

more….

Kamloops Daily News editor Mel Rothenburger pens a column about his experience in having a tiny TV camera floating through his body, and finding out later that the health authority’s endoscopy equipment has had a “cleanliness issue.” Definitely worth a read.

A letter of assurance has been mailed out to patients who have had endoscopic procedures during the period in question, and they’re also being advised through the media to call the IHA’s information line if they have questions.

Which is what I did yesterday, where I left a voice message and never heard back. So, without the letter, and no phone call, I’m left to ponder the chances of being struck by lightning or by a life-threatening infection from the health authority.

The difference between the two is that nobody sends out letters telling you not to worry about being struck by lightning, so we don’t all go around thinking about it. Now that I know about the IHA’s latest “dirty tools” problem I am, of course, thinking about it.

more…

Elsewhere in Kamloops, Kamloops This Week’s Jeremy Deutsch takes on those who get up in arms whenever someone blasphemously omits the word “Christmas” from their December plans. If someone doesn’t want to call it Christmas, then so be it, says Deutsch. The same goes for if they do call it as such. Just get over it.

And elsewhere in Kamloops This Week, reporter Tim Petruk talks to a family still searching for the person or people who beat to death a 64-year-old man in 2007. Petruk sets the story up nicely with a humanizing story about the victim before getting to the gist of the matter.

For Flo, the situation is frustrating.

“It’s like that old saying — ‘Just another Indian,’” she said.

“They say, ‘Just another drunk.’ But, if it was a white person who was laying out there, there would be headlines and there would be rewards.”

Flo, Shirley and Lorna will readily admit Louis had his struggles with alcohol — “He liked to have his drinks,” Lorna said — and he did have a criminal record, but, they say, there’s much more to him than that.

The women describe Louis as a band elder with a huge heart who was loved by friends and family.

more…

Alex Cooper of the Revelstoke Times-Review (which is making an early case for the Journo-Lust Puny Paper of the Year Award) covers one of those events that you go to and come away telling your editor “Lamest. ______. Ever.” And the story, about a debate over extending shopping hours during the Holiday — I mean, Christmas — season, is interesting. Retailers say it has to be done collectively for it to work. But even when it is done, nobody comes out shopping, it seems. At least not yet.

Finally, for some reason a column by Stockwell Day about the WikiLeaks controversy is filed under the Summerland Review’s sports section. Unless Day wrote the column while riding a jetski, that’s probably misplaced.

I made a poll! I don’t know if it works! Test it out! It’s on the right side of the page!

Leave a comment, dammit.

Photo by Doug Bowman 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.

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)gmail.com.

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. So far we’ve counted 59 community newspaper journalists in the province. And there are many more out there.

Ogopogo, Santa Claus and genetically modified apples

December 4, 2010 Comments off

Lots of links today from the southern interior:

J.P. Squire of the Kelowna Daily Courier is on the Ogopogo beat this week. Seems like someone saw some suspicious water spouts happening on the lake. He also reveals that, unusually, nobody has reported an Ogopogo sighting this year. By the way, the websites of the Courier and its sister paper, the Penticton Herald, are truly horrendous. Like 1997 bad. Sorry. Apparently some company called WEM-Tech claims responsibility for the site. If I was them, I wouldn’t.

Great story by Alex Cooper of the Revelstoke Times-Review on contrasting projections for the future of the mountain town. Some say the population will double, others disagree.

Frigid and dark Christmas parades can be a nightmare to shoot, but Castlegar News reporter Kim Magi and editor Robson Fletcher pulled off the treat and delivered a pretty good slide show.

Angela Treharne of the Fernie Free Press talks to a guy who was finally — yes, he has tried before — allowed to camp next to the Fernie Alpine Resort ski lift the night before opening day.

An engineer is warning that a “housing unit” will fall onto a business Kamloops street, according to a lawsuit dug up by Cam Fortems of the Kamloops Daily News.

Steve Kidd of the Penticton Western News writes about a new type of apple that doesn’t go brown. The apple was developed in neighbouring Summerland but is causing concern among B.C. fruit growers. Also in the Western News, Kristi Patton on a judge overruling a dead man’s will.

Did you know that if you t take a bottle of wine with you into Alberta this holiday season you’ll be breaking the law, a.k.a. smuggling? I do, thanks to Judie Steeves of the Kelowna Capital News.

This volleyball photo looks good on the Merritt Herald website. But it’s hard to tell because it’s so freaking small.

Locals give mixed reviews to the filming of a movie in the West Kootenay to Nelson Star reporter Greg Nesteroff. Also in the Star is this story about a lawyer and university professor convicted of fraud. Good story but no byline (although Nesteroff is credited for the photo).

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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)gmail.com.

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

Follow-up Friday and Only in the Kootenays

November 26, 2010 1 comment

Today’s follow-up Friday. OK, I’m not going to be able to guarantee two good follow-ups every week but today we got a couple from two competing papers in the Interior.

I think every newspaper has probably done their own story on a local MS patient who is curious about Liberation Treatment. Today, Kamloops This Week’s Jeremy Deutsch followed up with a Kamloops man who had Liberation Treatment for MS. Good story (and nice KTW front page). Reporters should also follow up with Liberation Treatment patients in several months.

And Jason Hewlett from the Kamloops Daily News (which straddles the line between a community and a daily paper) checks in with the family of a bicyclist hit by a bus five months ago. The guy’s still in a “semi-conscious state” in hospital. The story is notable just for the fact it got done. Injured victims can sometimes be forgot — and often can’t be contacted.

Only in the Kootenays (another potential recurring feature?)

I cannot even conceive of a world in which my services are so in demand that someone’s entire job is to lure me to their town. That, I guess, is why I’m not a doctor in Creston.

Aaron Orlando of the Revelstoke Times-Review reports on his city’s new sand-it-yourself sidewalk plan.

The husband of the mayor of Slocan City has been charged with growing pot. One of those lovely stories that falls into the hands of a lucky reporter (in this case Sam Smith of the Arrow Lakes News) every so often.

Andrew Bennett of the Rossland News reports that cops had to shoot a bear after it became trapped in the home’s mud room while a mother and child barricaded themselves in the basement.

Finally the Trail Daily Times has an, um, interesting photo of parking chaos.

Seen something else I should know about? E-mail bclocalreporter(at)gmail.com

Reminder: help complete a census of B.C. community newspapers by filling in the blanks of the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. 

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