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Posts Tagged ‘series’

Giving series

December 19, 2010 Comments off

The New Westminster Record wrapped up its annual Guide to Giving series — a three-parter written by Theresa McManus — on Saturday. The series showcases different non-profit organizations to which locals can donate over the holiday season, and beyond. Here’s part one, part two and part three, along with an accompanying editorial.

The series is a great timely idea that could easily be stolen by other papers, if they wanted to.

As with all series, the only drawback is a lack of links to other parts of the series, making a hit-and-miss search necessary. This is a problem with series on Glacier, Postmedia and Black Press sites. Ideally if you’re reading part two of a three-parter there will be a link at the top of the story to part one, and a link at the bottom to part three.

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Cher, Pamela Anderson and PR lackeys

December 15, 2010 Comments off

Can someone find me a photo of a broken version of this mug?

Kevin Rothbauer of the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports that “The Kerry Park Islanders and the rest of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League won’t have the Westshore Stingers to push around any longer.” Nice bit of sports reporting on a “hapless” franchise.

The Gulf Islands Driftwood’s Elizabeth Nolan reports on the rescue of a woman known to locals as “Cher” from a boat. The woman, who was likely having a stroke, is apparently musical and sings and plays the guitar. I’ll leave it at that, except to say the story is good.

Some funny/sad court reporting from Campbell River Mirror reporter Paul Rudan, who writes about a father-son drug dealing operation.

Franklin Lee was held in custody over the weekend and appeared in provincial court on Monday when he pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance. He had pleaded guilty to the same charge in October and was fined $250.

Corbett was about to elaborate on Lee’s past criminal record when Judge Peter Doherty quickly cut in, “Oh, I’m familiar with Mr. Lee.”

The judge agreed to the proposed sentence of time served and six months probation, and was certain that Lee could not abide by a no-drug order.

The judge, who normally sits in Courtenay provincial court, asked why Lee had moved to Campbell River when his intention was to get away from criminal activity.

Lee shrugged and said he’s “away from the violence” which the judge thought, “was a good start.”

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Coast Reporter editor Ian Jacques, last seen ranting about the RCMP new French press release policy, has a new bunch of PR lackies in his sights. He’s mad that the Vancouver Coastal Health authority didn’t invite the media to a meeting at which they released plans for a new mental health facility. Jacques calls their approach to public relations “draconian.” VCH said they wanted to spare the public to feel that they could “express feel that they could express themselves freely and not be inhibited in any way with the media present or with a large public group present,” which is very clearly absolute bullshit.

As every facet of this new facility relates to the public interest and no part of this was done without public funds, there is no reason for this meeting to have been held behind closed doors. It begs the question: what is VCH hiding? We will never know because we weren’t allowed to be there.

This situation lacks the basic openness or accountability that is demanded by people in a free society, and interfering with transparency will, in the end, help no one.

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In my experience with health authority PR folk, you could also probably label their PR approach “dragonian.” (Does that joke make sense?)

The Ladysmith Chronicle has a video of Pamela Anderson on their website. Yes, that Pamela Anderson. As with Cher, that is all I have to say.

Remember that Nanaimo Daily Bulletin series on healthy living and pre-New Year’s Resolutions? Here’s Krista Bryce‘s part four.

I missed this the first time, but this story in the North Island Gazette by Teresa Bird on a man who won’t have to face sexual assault charges because he was denied a speedy trial deserves to be read. Shockingly, no one else seems to have picked up this story. This exposes definite problems with the lack of court resourcs up in Port Hardy.

Perhaps somebody needs to give the classified person at the Peninsula News Review an express course in journalism news sense. This, four days after the fact, from today’s web edition:

North Saanich councillor Peter Chandler made a public apology to former Peninsula Recreation Commission member Don Hunter in the Dec. 10 issue of the Peninsula News Review.

Chandler apologized to Hunter in the classified section of the paper, after an out-of-court settlement reached before the case was to go back to court on Dec. 13.

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The cops do a standup news conference in front of a grow-op house in Saanich. Why don’t they do these everywhere?

And finally, SwarmJam awkwardly invades the website of the Alberni Valley Times and other Canwest Island papers. Booooooo.

Photo by Jerry Sifwer 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. 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!

Do you mind?

December 10, 2010 Comments off

Some very insider news and talk from Merritt to Hinton and everywhere (fine, just one place but I need to have a life too so quit complaining) in between, rounded out by a series finale and a scary story.

The Merritt News’s John O’Connor asks in an editorial if the proliferance of on-line reading isn’t decreasing our ability to concentrate. It’s not a new idea, but one that’s always worth questioning, especially because it concerns how we do our jobs. [Foreign source alert: if you’re bored and interested in the topic, you can read this take on the subject from the Atlantic Magazine].

The Invermere Valley Echo welcomes a new reporter, Madison. No full name is given, on-line at least, but she seems enthusiastic from this introductory column. Welcome.

Even further east, the Hinton Parklander reports that one of their former reporters, Birgit Stutz, has published a book about her involvement in a dramatic horse rescue (yes, we are talking about Alberta here).

“I was approached by an agent from Harper-Collins after the horse rescue two years ago,” said Stutz.”An agent sent me an email out of the blue. I thought it was a scam, it seemed too good to be true.”

Though she intended to ignore the email originally, Stutz responded at the insistence of her husband and was soon set up with co-writer Lawrence Scanlan.

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Rochelle Baker of the Abbotsford Times writes about a South Asian man turned away from a Christmas party that wasn’t allowing “East Indians” in the door. The man, Ken Herar, writes a column for the Abbotsford/Mission Times, meaning he was probably exactly the type of person the organizers wanted to keep out. Or not.

And Cornelia Naylor of the Chilliwack Times wraps her multimedia series on local musicians and the instruments they play with a story on a timpanist (someone who plays a few really large drums). The video, like all the others in the series, is terrific. And here’s a photo gallery.

Leave a comment, dammit.

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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. 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!

Photo courtesy of Jim Barter via Flickr.

Rink rats

December 8, 2010 Comments off

Kamloops

Kamloops Daily News reporter Cam Fortems is angling for a big award with his long three-part story on local developer Mike Rink. The series wrapped yesterday and is a study in in-depth reporting.

The series began on Saturday:

Mike Rink and his wife Marnie McEachern arrived in Kamloops from Regina 30 years ago in a pickup full of tools and pulling a trailer

Over the next 25 years, Rink would progress from building single-family homes to developing some of Kamloops most recognizable buildings, moving people downtown and growing a successful company.

more…

On Saturday, Fortems wrote about Rink’s big impact on Kamloops and his knack for attracting controversy. Fortems spoke to Rink’s sisters for the stories and even uncovers the interesting nugget that Rink was at one point a Moonie, which leads into this defining quote: “I’m not afraid of looking at things. It’s my nature.” And Fortems reports that Rink’s company has sought creditor protection after falling into an $85 million debt hole. Despite that and other quotes, Rink declined to sit for an in-depth interview. Instead, the Daily News reports Rink “provided comments on a number of aspects of this series.”

Part two, which came out Monday, told the tale of Rink’s business associates, many of whom are waiting in line for their money.

In the age of information, contractors working for Rink didn’t have to look hard to find his multimillion-dollar failings and credit problems earlier this decade, when contractors such as Silbernagel were forced to accept thousands of dollars less than they were owed.

Researching Rink’s ability to pay was even easier than finding newspaper stories about the past.

A number of contractors owed money in the financial crisis of New Future Group said they’d heard from others on the job site about late or incomplete payments before they even started on the job.

more…

And part three asks if Rink’s business got too big too fast at just the wrong time.

Fortems writes that a year after lenders foreclosed on one of Rink’s projects, the developer was making plans, and had a partner, for another.

While constructing the seniors’ projects, he was also in personal bankruptcy proceedings, according to federal bankruptcy and insolvency records. He entered bankruptcy in July 2006 and was discharged after filing a plan accepted by creditors in May the next year.

While he was discharged, he continued to deal with the legal proceedings until as recently as January this year, according to court records.

But as impressive as his rebound and development of the Renaissance projects was, they went over budget, said his sister and former business partner Ann Sheridan, who worked with him in 2004 and 2005.

more…

Fortems also writes that Rink’s plans were significantly leveraged and that Rink was paying interest rates as high as 17 per cent.

The entire series features a dizzying array of sources, documents and companies and is a great feat of business reporting. I can only guess how long the story took, but it offers an insiders look at the property boom that gripped dozens of B.C. communities in the mid-2000s.

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Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment (the button’s up top by the headline) 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.

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

Photo courtesy of US Mission Canada via Flickr

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.

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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)gmail.com.

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

News Bulletin wraps poverty series

December 3, 2010 Comments off

The Nanaimo News Bulletin’s Rachel Stern wrapped her four-part poverty series earlier this week with a story on a young First Nations man battling poverty. Find info on the rest of the series here.

The News Bulletin also published an editorial on the subject which calls poverty a cycle and hails those local organizations that helps people get off that merry-go-round. The editorial asks people to support those organizations, which we can’t argue with. It would have been nice, however, to see the paper offer some ways that the government could do things better, since it’s obvious that there is a problem.

Musical movies

December 1, 2010 Comments off

Chilliwack Times reporter Cornelia Naylor is midway through a multi-part series profiling the players of the Chilliwack Symphany Orchestra, and, in particular, the instruments they play. Each of the first three segments of the series has featured photos, a story and a video. The videos, have been especially good; this type of story seems tailor-made for the medium.

The first three videos can be found here.

Part one focused on a violinist, part two on a trumpet player, and part three on a celloist (the photo for which is stunning).

The pieces are running each Friday.

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Great football photo by Blair Sheir of the North Shore News. Also from the NSN, a great guest column/poem by Kate Zimmerman titled, wonderfully, “Now is the winter of our web content.

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