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Herbal supplement company sues Kamloops Daily News

September 14, 2012 Comments off

The Kamloops Daily News has been sued by Strauss Herb Company over an April 2 column by Russ Reid.

The company says Reid’s column gave readers the impression Strauss was knowingly trying to sucker customers into buying a worthless product, according to a story by Kamloops This Week reporter Tim Petruk.

According to Petruk:

The column was in response to a KTW front-page story nearly a month earlier — in the March 6, 2012 edition — titled Strauss claims victory, describing the fact Strauss Heart Drops had received natural-health designation from Health Canada.

In its statement of claim, Strauss took particular issue with one paragraph of Reid’s column — which stated Strauss “has refused to reveal its formula and put standard specific information about the ingredients on its product label.”

Reid went on to compare Strauss to 19th-century snake-oil salesmen and New York Ponzi-scheme con man Bernie Madoff.

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The Kamloops Daily News responded, in documents filed last week, with a counter-claim against Strauss,  alleging false advertising and seeking orders from the court that Strauss stop making exaggerated claims about its products.

The newspaper also denied any malice in publishing Reid’s column and claimed it was a matter of public interest — specifically citing reader comments under the column when it was published online, including a number of “intemperate remarks” from a user traced back to a Strauss computer.

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As the story notes, none of the claims have been proven in court.

The Daily News published an unbylined story on the lawsuit with the headline “Paper responds to Strauss lawsuit.” (Although, I usually just quote snippets of stories, what with copyright and all that, I’m going to reprint in full since it’s pretty much a press release. If that’s a problem, let me know.)

Lawyers for Glacier Media, the Kamloops Daily News and a retired city doctor have filed a response to a lawsuit from a Kamloops company alleging defamation and libel.

The legal documents were filed in B.C. Supreme Court Friday, in response to a lawsuit from Strauss Enterprises (the Strauss Herb Company), and Peter Strauss, Brian Kettle, Bill Carey, Don Schulz and Robert Jackman of the company.

Strauss’s lawsuit, filed earlier this year, names Glacier Media Inc., The Daily News, Dr. Russ Reid, editor Mel Rothenburger and publisher Tim Shoults.

Strauss claims it was defamed in a column authored by Reid, who wrote about Health Canada’s awarding of a natural product number to Strauss Heartdrops. The article was published in The Daily News last spring.

The Kamloops Daily News and the other defendants have filed a response in which they deny that the column has the meaning claimed by the plaintiffs, and some of the defendants have challenged Strauss’s advertisements.

It’s not known when the case will reach court.

Rothenburger, incidentally, was slated to retire Sept. 14, two days after the news of the lawsuit was made public.

Trio of B.C. reporters up for CAJ award; job openings

April 26, 2012 Comments off

Items of note, including three jobs not posted on Gaulin:

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Kamloops This Week reporter Tim Petruk, Vancouver Courier reporter Cheryl Rossi, and XTra! correspondent David P. Ball have all been named finalists in the Canadian Association of Journalists awards for community journalism. A pair of reporters in Ontario are also up for the award. Tim is nominated for his 28 Seconds series about the police shooting of a Kamloops man. Cheryl is up her her profile of an outdoor non-profit that works with high school students facing problems in class. And David was nominated for his article on the uneasy relationship between the police and the gay community.

The awards will be handed out at a gala April 28 in Toronto.

Also, the Courier‘s Barry Link, along with Nanaimo Daily News editor Cale Cowan, each won Jack Webster Foundation fellowships to attend a week-long seminar at the Poynter Institute.

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Speaking of Cale, he wrote a sweet little vignette about why the job of a newspaper reporter isn’t the fifth-worst job on the face of the planet.

Newspapering has meant that the past 23 years have been filled with days that are never the same; interesting people coming in and out of my life; the chance to travel; to live in four different provinces; and to write for a living.

Who gets to do that?

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If you were one of the few reporters to come across the survey, read and scoff about it here. (Our profession’s poor rating has more to do with job prospects than the actual job.)

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Staying in Nanaimo for a second, here’s a News Bulletin story on Merv Unger, who won the Eric Dunning Integrity Award at the Ma Murray Awards. Merv was the News Bulletin‘s first editor and also served as a city councillor.

“I’ve seen changes from very strict rules in journalism where news reporting and commentary were separated stringently. If you were a reporter, you had no opinion,” he said. “That has evolved all the way to today where I think one of the biggest dangers is advocacy journalism, where people take on causes and do not present an unbiased picture.”

more…

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The Vanderhoof Omineca Express is looking for a new editor. Former editor Hannah Wright, who did a fantastic job on the Cody Alan Legebokoff case, returned to the UK over the winter due to visa issues. She hopes to return, according to a January Twitter post.

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The Oceanside Star is looking for a reporter. Two-person newsroom. Small town (Parksville). Pretty nice location.

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And this is a pretty premiere gig, as far as mid-sized community papers go: the many-award-winning Whistler Question needs a new editor. Pretty decent gig. Also, this is a pretty spectacular headline: Nipples aren’t for chewing.

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Kristian Rasmussen is the Columbia Valley Pioneer’s newest reporter. Read his introductory column here. P.S. What’s the consensus on the website’s background, particularly behind the text?

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Finally, the 2012 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards will be announced today at a gala in T.O. Winners will be posted online afterwards. See the full list of finalists here. And if anyone is in Toronto and can send me anything of note, please do so by emailing bclocalreporter@gmail.com.

Thanks.

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Finally, stay tuned for a major-ish announcement about this blog. Post should be up around 11 a.m.

 

Weekend reading

December 30, 2011 Comments off

It’s always slow over the Christmas-to-New-Year’s year-in-review fiesta, but, briefly, here are two stories deserving to be mentioned.

First of all, Kamloops This Week’‘s Tim Petruk went to jail to speak to a man suspected of murdering his ex-girlfriend and stabbing an undercover cop. Tim’s been consistently leading the way on this story and this latest coup shows that sometimes it pays off to send a hail-Mary-ish letter to a guy in jail in the faint hope that he’ll invite you over to chat.

And second, the Richmond Review‘s Martin van den Hemel apparently broke the story that Gregor Robertson’s foster son is facing serious drug and gun charges. Stories about a politician’s family are often dicey: it seems weird that certain stories become newsworthy just because of a tangential link to a prominent person. But this one is clearly fair game, given the seriousness of the charges.

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…’”

Superb.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Where are we now?

December 31, 2010 Comments off

Here’s my last post of 2010. Enjoy.

Check out this great series/feature/year-end wrap-up by Kamloops This Week:

Instead of just recapping the year’s most important stories, the paper updated them with “Where are they now”-style pieces. Actually, that’s the tag line for the stories.

I counted 11 stories in total, all which try to bring a new angle to something that happened earlier in the year. There’s an arts page, for which Dale Bass asked local entertainers what they’re up to now, an update by Tim Petruk on what the paper’s 2009 newsmaker has been doing (aside from not being president of the university), and two stories by Jeremy Deutsch on the stalled building plans for two very, very different venues–hint, one involves veils, the other bikinis.

Here’s the start of one unbylined article, which gives a sense of the direction of the pieces:

Months of outrage, protest and finger-pointing all came to ahead on a blustery March night, when the president of the Aboriginal Cogeneration Corporation (ACC)stepped into Kamloops for public forum at Thompson Rivers University.

Failing to sway the public’s disdain for a planned gasification project, only a few days later ACC president Kim Sigurdson said his company was abandoning its plans in Kamloops.

As the year draws to a close, there is little sign of the ACC in the city — and the public outrage has all but fizzled.

According to officials with the Ministry of Environment (MOE), the ACC is now looking at a site near Golden, by the Alberta-B.C. border, to set up its plant.

more…

It’s a great idea and one that adds value, rather than just filling space. Of course, it also takes time so…yeah…

Changes

Lots of newspapers, including the aforementioned KTW, take a page from Time and crown their newsmaker of the year around this time. I like those stories but I love what the North Shore Outlook has done.

The Outlook spotlights a handful of people who have made change — changemakers, in other words — over the past year. And if most of the copy is borrowed from past papers, which it may or may not be, that doesn’t really matter. At this time of year — actually, at any time of year — it’s good to remind people that their New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to be about their weight.

Wow, that last line was sappy. Now, off to drink away 2010.

Night of the Long Blades

December 23, 2010 Comments off

The plan was to not post anything more (aside from an open thread to come later) on this blog until I return from Christmas. Then I was directed to a video titled “Night of the Long Blades” on the Kamloops This Week website.

The video opens with:

The Kamloops Long Blades Festival, what was supposed to be a fun gathering for family and friends, turned into a heated competition between Kamloops This Week’s Marty The Reporter Hastings and speed-skater extraordinaire Chelsea Reith after Hastings challenged her to a race. What follows will go down in short-track history.

Then KTW reporter Tim Petruk tries to stifle a laugh while interviewing a suspender-bedecked Hastings. (Nice microphone, by the way.) (Marty The Reporter got his start taking a pounding in the wrestling ring from TWA champion Seth Knight.)

“I’m expecting to dominate this race. You can take one look at me and see that I’m in peak condition and have been for months,” Marty tells Tim. “I’ve been training for this. I’m ready to go,  I just hope she is.”

Marty stretching

Cut to a video of Marty doing jumping jacks and Reith talking smack about her opponent’s weight. Apparently Marty hadn’t trained enough because he couldn’t fit into a skin suit.

OK, that’s enough typing for me. I’m going to eat turkey.

Just watch the rest of the video.

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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@gmail.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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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