Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

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:


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.


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?


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.)


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.”



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.


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


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.


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?


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



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



Vancouver Courier’s Cheryl Rossi leads way on Athlete’s Village story

March 2, 2011 Comments off

When you work for a skin-flint community newspaper chain, competing with daily papers  staffed by reporters who may work for the same corporation but are nonetheless infinitely better financed can be difficult.

So it’s pretty high praise when City Caucus’s Mike Klassen writes the following about Vancouver Courier reporter Cheryl Rossi‘s work:

With the possible exception of Frances Bula, no other reporter than Cheryl Rossi at the Vancouver Courier has done a better job of documenting what has been happening at the Olympic Athlete’s Village on Southeast False Creek in recent months around the rental housing issue. Rossi broke the story last August that the City’s rental plan had stalled (because council had delayed their decision until after the Olympics), triggering a whole series of political earthquakes at the Village.

Ultimately the Village went into receivership, and the public was figuring out that Gregor “train wreck” Robertson’s running down of the project for political purposes had cost Vancouver taxpayers $150 million.

On Friday Rossi’s latest report titled Plan favouring ‘essential’ workers as tenants for Olympic Village flops shows that the plan moved by Coun. Geoff Meggs, seconded by Raymond Louie during an overnight city council meeting, has been a costly bust.

What you think of Mike Klassen likely depends on your political affiliation. But that’s neither here nor there. I can’t keep track of how community newspaper reporters cover ongoing, technical issues like the Athlete’s Village thing, so that type of reporting will fly under this blog’s radar, but I’m glad to see Cheryl leading the way on what has become a huge issue in the province’s media hub.

Here’s the start of that above-mentioned story:

Filling the city’s market rental apartments at The Village on False Creek with essential services workers hasn’t worked.

In January, 283 applicants had signed up for a waiting list to get into 126 market rental units given priority by the city to essential workers, including police officers, teachers and nurses, at the former Olympic Village.

But as of this week, only 15 of 252 suites the city owns at the project have been rented to essential workers, and 41 of the suites have been rented overall. “We’re fully engaged in going out to the general public now,” said Thom Armstrong, executive director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of British Columbia, which through its COHO Property Management spinoff, is recruiting tenants for the suites on behalf of the city.

Categories: Roundup Tags: ,

Gators, pinball wizards, school boards and animal people

February 28, 2011 Comments off

Lotsa stuff from around the Lower Mainland last week. (Two more posts coming later today).

Superb story, in the Burnaby Now, by Jennifer Moreau on an autistic pinball genius and aspiring poker king.

Robert’s latest passion is poker. For the past three or four months, he’s been teaching himself how to play by watching YouTube videos and has already ranked No. 11 in one of B.C.’s amateur leagues. With his natural ability to handle numbers, statistics and probabilities, Robert seems cut out for the game.

“If you ask him, ‘What are the chances of getting royal flush?’ He’ll probably say, ‘One in 650,000,’ ” Maurizio says. “He tells me this stuff, and it goes over my head.”


The poker thing blows me away because it’s generally assumed that a large part of that game is the ability to read competitors’ intentions. And yet, a major symptom of autism is the inability to pick up such social cues.

Also in the Burnaby Now, Janaya Fuller-Evans reports on allegations of bullying, infighting and other alleged misdeeds that one normally expects to see in the arts community, rather than among animal lovers.

Arnold noted many instances of harassment, from board members directly confronting her over issues to moments where she felt threatened, including when her truck was vandalized while parked at the association’s barns.



The new Black Press front pages are improved, but the stories themselves badly need paragraph breaks. I imagine someone’s working on that. Meanwhile the WordPress Theme for Black Press blogs is truly horrible and gloomy and makes me not want to read on even when the content is quite good. Please change it.


The phrase “board of education” sounds stupid. They’re school boards, they should be called as such.


I just noticed the sleazy weekly editorials in the Delta Optimist. How do you get your editorial percentage when the copy is so obviously an advertisement? The Optimist is the only Postmedia paper with a business column down the right hand side of its news page. Why? Why? Why?


A crazy crime spree in the Chilliwack area included, as Robert Freeman of the Chilliwack Progress puts it, “one woman’s emergency 911 call, one vehicle burning under the Agassiz/Rosedale bridge, one dust-up with a Chilliwack car dealer, one startled shopper in the Chilliwack Safeway parking lot – and one alligator.” Oh, yeah, and there was a marijuana grow-op involved (although I guess the presence of drugs isn’t all that surprising).

In a similar vein comes this beauty of a headline from the North Shore Outlook: “Stinky thieves steal laundry loot.” And yes, the thieves were actually smelly.


Two stories — one in the Richmond News, the other in the Coquitlam Now — about stutterers are hooked on last night’s Oscars and The King’s Speech. I think a smart PR person is probably behind each, given that they both mention Columbia Speech and Language Services, but that’s OK; the stories are good.


The Richmond Review has published its 30 under 30 section. These features about all these high-flying young achievers always depress the hell out of me, but are fun to read anyways.


Your webinar of the day:

Be like Delta Leader photog Evan Seal and turn your camera on an angle.

This Tri-City News file photo of an ambulance at a hospital is awesome. File photos don’t have to be boring.

And for some reason community newspapers forget that the simple Q and A format can make for great reading and very easy writing. Marisa Babic of the Surrey Now puts questions to under-fire Vanoc head John Furlong.

(One thing, though: we Canadians don’t have a timid sense of patriotism. We just like to pretend we do. If we weren’t patriotic Molson’s I Am Canadian commercials wouldn’t be so successful. Hopefully the Olympics ends the charade.)


Nice story (and lede) by the Vancouver Courier’s Naoibh O’Connor on a First Nations school that has rebranded itself as an “Earth School.”

Rainwater drips like a broken tap off the corner of the First Nation long house roof into a concrete barrel. Droplets barely ripple the surface of six-inch deep water pooled above a bed of rocks, sand and debris. Fidgety Grade 2 and 3 students gather around Brent Mansfield on this cool late-January morning at Grandview/¿uuqinak’uuh elementary. Mansfield, the school’s garden project coordinator, hoped for more of a downpour for today’s lesson, but a drizzle will do.



Finally, in case you missed the Black Press shuffle, the North Shore Outlook and WestEnder have got new editors.

Photo by Ryan Somma via Flickr.


That was a pretty good post, eh? Or not? Either way keep them coming by helping me out. 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!

Hoekstra, Spalding win at Websters

December 3, 2010 1 comment

Derek Spalding

Corrected: awards happened Nov. 1, not Dec. 1, as I had falsely written.

I’m a little very late on this, but awards can slip under the radar if you’re not nominated I should catch up with some important awards that were handed out not long before this blog came into existence. The Jack Webster Awards took place Wednesday Nov. 1 and a couple of community reporters were up for prizes.

Derek Spalding of the Nanaimo Daily News won the community reporting award for his story “Outbreak Exposure,” for, as the Daily News put it “for his hard-hitting coverage of an extended outbreak of Clostridium difficile at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.”

Spalding began the story after going to the hospital in 2008 for an unrelated assignment and seeing signs indicating a C. difficile outbreak was under way.

Efforts to obtain accurate information from the Vancouver Island Health Authority then led Spalding on a two-year odyssey under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

He eventually learned that the health authority was deliberately withholding his requested information.

Documents he obtained showed that VIHA intended to put out its own information to the public before releasing his requested documents to soften what he was about to reveal.

“It feels good that it’s recognized, but it’s an important story for the people of Nanaimo. It shows how important freedom of information laws are and demonstrates how important it is for the media to continue scrutinizing public bodies,” said Spalding.


Spalding beat out Kamloops This Week reporter Tim Petruk‘s “East Side Stories” along with the CFJC TV Kamloops news team.

Gordon Hoekstra

Gordon Hoekstra of the Prince George Citizen won the Jack Webster Business, Industry & Economics Award for “Pipeline Promise? A Prince George Citizen Special Report,” which the Citizen described “a three-part series about Enbridge’s proposal to build a pipeline across northern B.C.” Hoekstra beat out the Victoria Times Colonist and the Vancouver Sun for his award. While Hoekstra did pose for a photo of his award, I prefer this one from a past awards gala.

Naoibh O’Connor of the Vancouver Courier was nominated for the best print feature story for her Jan. 14 story on private schools in Vancouver. Alas, she was defeated by The Province, which won a team award for its massive Operation Phoenix series. One suspects the presenters were worried about having to pronounce her name.

Find a full list of award winners, along with links to photos and videos from the gala, here.

If anyone can find online versions of Hoekstra and Petruk’s story, please leave a comment with a link.

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