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Posts Tagged ‘Vernon’

Tunnel vision, cranky editors, and very ambiguous headlines

March 21, 2011 Comments off

Some curiosities from the past week in the Interior:

Prince George Free Press editor Bill Phillips writes on his blog about how his cranky editorness caused him to not fall victim to the Enbridge hair hoax that bamboozled many news outlets last week.

This headline in Columbia Valley Pioneer, “Crook family history revealed in new book,” can be read the wrong way. (The family are Crooks, not criminals.)

Last Friday, the Nelson Star published a list, as part of an ongoing series of West Kootenay-related lists, of three abandoned highway tunnels, including one between Slocan and Silverton that was built more than 80 years ago, as the seventh part in a series of West Kootenay-related lists. It’s a good thing the list didn’t run one week later because on Sunday the Star reported that that same Slocan highway tunnel collapsed last week, possibly on the same day the paper went to press. (Remember, the tunnel was abandoned).

The Tampa Bay Lightning released Salmon Arm product Mitch Fadden from his minor league contract after the Salmon Arm Observer broke the news earlier this month that Fadden is facing drunk driving charges (although the Observer didn’t mention Fadden’s NHL connection in that story).

So the Kamloops Daily News ran an article about a man who was unhappy about having to pray at an AA meeting and the comments duly began — some fairly tame, others pretty vicious. And so the Daily News published an editorial pointing out that some of the commenters were a tad impolite and intolerant. I was going to write that this all makes one consider the point of comments in the first place, but then I remembered some of the letters my paper receives and publishes. I guess I can’t be against discussion and free speech, even though those who tend to lead the way are often imbecilic racists.

Ambiguous headline No. 2 comes from the Penticton Western News: “Penticton student heads to Midway.” Midway, some will know, is a small town two hours from Penticton. It looks like this in winter:

And for Midway residents who read that headline,  the story’s lede could be taken the wrong way:

While many high school students are looking forward to spring break as a chance to kick back or perhaps even travel with their family to Europe, Mexico or some other exotic locale, Emily Chartrand is making plans to go a bit farther afield, at least in terms of distance from civilization.

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The student, for those who must know, is going to the Midway Islands, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Don’t get me wrong about the story: there’s nothing wrong with it. But the lede combined with the headline is just plain funny.

And I’m slow on the uptake here, but former Vernon Morning Star reporter Natalie Appleton was shortlisted for a national short fiction award. She also recently finished her memoir, How to Meet a Nice Man from Medicine Hat, and is expecting a baby so all in all, sounds like a good year for Natalie, who’s now teaching at Okanagan College.

Oh, and two jobs, by the way: the Trail Daily Times needs an editor and the Rocky Mountain Goat needs a full-time reporter.

Photo by Havan Kevin via Flickr.

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This blog had more visitors in February than any previous months. It’s still a one-person 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!

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Putting the cold in viral video

February 3, 2011 Comments off

A screen shot from last year's classic.

With the Super Bowl just days away, I had one question: could the Vernon Morning Star sports crew top their NFL Picks video from last year?

The answer yes, if only because sports reporter Kevin Mitchell kept his shirt on.

First a backgrounder: each Friday the Morning Star sports crew and a few other locals make their picks in print for the upcoming NFL week. It’s not the most local of regular features, but whatever. Anyways, beginning in 2009 the Morning Star-ers began also posting a regular video of their picks. It’s a low-fi thing (they are print guys after all), but often hilarious.

The crowning glory came last February when the picksters donned flip flops and floral shirts and took their show to the shores of south beach (actually, Kevin forgot his shirt altogether, which…yeah…). By south beach, I mean the closest Vernon has to south beach: a frigid sandy outpost on the shores of a fogged-out, if not frozen, Lake Okanagan.

It’s well worth viewing.

For some reason, there had been no new videos since December and I was getting worried that there wouldn’t be a Super Bowl finale this year.

Then, yesterday, relief came in the form of Graeme Corbett sitting on a fake horse. With the Super Bowl in Dallas, a local western store owned by an ex-Morning Star employee stood in for Texas (which, strangely enough, has been colder than Vernon in recent days, owing to a huge storm). But let’s not spoil the party. Apparently it took seven days on horseback for Roger Knox, Kevin and Graeme to finally get to Texas.

Graeme Corbett, Roger Knox and Kevin Mitchell in the heart of, ummm... Texas

After straying from the whole football thing and being gently prodded back on course by omniscient narrator, and Morning Star editor, Glenn Mitchell, the trio finally got around to their picks. (They need an external mic next time. Maybe they should borrow Kamloops This Week’s). Graeme had the Steelers by six, Roger picked the Packers by four, and Kevin upped the ante by picking Green Bay by 10 points. Then he began musing about packing companies and Kennedy conspiracy theories. But you can watch for yourself, here.

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Editors on stage (and in drag)

January 17, 2011 Comments off

In the Okanagan Sunday weekend paper, Penticton Herald editor James Miller writes about his brave turn as a transvestite. On stage. Now, he can actually put “transvestite” on his resume or maybe even, he asks, his American Express card.

For those fortunate enough to catch one of five shows this past week of Chess: The Musical, you may have noticed me. I wore a dress, fishnet stockings, brassiere (filled with bird seed), makeup and high heels for a 45-second cameo in the Soundstage Productions musical that played at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

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I now have an even greater admiration for women. It was painful. I started with a bad-ass pair of high heels, something Elton John would have worn in the 1970s, only to fall twice. They were replaced by a pair of stilettos. It‘s tough to find stilettos in size 13, so costumer Kerry Younie cut the back out of them to make them more of a sandal.

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Very funny.

And egads, what’s this? Another editor involved in a theatre production? Nelson Star editor Bob Hall recently confessed to growing muttonchops and a moustache for a pantomime role as a snake oil salesman.

Shortly after my facial transformation, I was walking through the Chahko-Mika parking lot when a big dude with a massive handlebar moustache gave me the head-nod and “heh” greeting. I happily nodded back, but having forgot about the handlebar I was rocking was a bit puzzled by this stranger’s acknowledgment.

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On a less cheery note, the homeless in Kamloops are drinking hand sanitizer, reporters KTW’s Dale Bass. This, it turns out, is dangerous:

One of the components of most sanitizers, however, is a chemical that has a medicinal use treating angina patients.

It does this by lowering their blood pressure, Salter said, but, in homeless people — most of whom are in poor physical health already — this can compromise their health.

The type of ethanol used is also toxic, affecting the central nervous system.

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Apparently students elsewhere have turned to the “booze ooze,” leading the Vancouver school district to not install sanitizer in their washrooms.

Please, if you, like the Merritt Herald, publish a column by a local politician, make sure the politician’s name (and position) is on the page on the website. Otherwise it looks like an editorial you would never, ever want to write yourself.

Nelson Star snow photo kicker: “Oh Snow You Didn’t.” Oh, NO they di’int.

Finally, this photo illustration by Vernon Morning Star shooter Cory Bialecki is pretty rocking. Story by Kristin Froneman is also well done. (I’ve noticed a common theme: good photos tend to be accompanied by good stories, written by a reporter not responsible for the photography).

Photo by Annie Mole via Flickr.

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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 (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!

Castanet video prompts investigation (updated)

January 13, 2011 Comments off

Video is no longer the be all and end all for community newspaper chiefs, but a film shot by a local reporter in Kelowna shows that all you need is an iPhone to get a huge scoop.

As you may be aware of by now, Kelly Hayes of Castanet.net headed to a local golf course Friday morning after hearing reports of shots being fired. When he arrived, he found a police officer arresting Buddy Tavares. Hayes started recording on his iPhone as a Mountie, with gun drawn, booted Tavares in the face.

It’s a great scoop and one instance where video tells much more of a story, and makes much more news, than a simple photograph—which the police can explain away much easier.

Here’s the edited Castanet video. And here’s the raw footage (this should be  somewhere up front on the Castanet site, but isn’t).

And here’s a good follow-up from the Kelowna Capital News and reporter Cheryl Wierda (with video of the guy getting out of jail). (Kudos to the Cap News for mentioning that the video came from Castanet and Hayes).

The video has now sparked an investigation and the suspension of the officer in question.

While I’m in the area, I’ll point out Vernon Morning Star reporter Roger Knox‘s excellent story on a Vernon guy acquitted of murder after he killed his friend and chopped up his body. The guy was legitimately insane, it turns out.

According to his father, Nathan John Mayrhofer was always a “champion of the underdog.”

Which is why it wasn’t a surprise that Mayrhofer befriended Kenneth Scott Barter when the pair worked at a Vernon business.

Mayrhofer, said his father, John, encouraged Barter to seek treatment for his issues which included a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

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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.”

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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.

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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?

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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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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!

Wright leads the way on murder story

December 7, 2010 Comments off

Coronation Street

Hannah Wright of the Vanderhoolf Omineca Express has dug up more dirt on the guy accused of killing 15-year-old Loren Donn Leslie. A friend of the man accused of the killing told Wright that Cody Alan Legebokoff went missing shortly before his arrest on Nov. 22.  Wright talked to the girl’s father, who gave her a dramatic rundown on how he found out that his daughter was dead. She also reports that Legebokoff and the girl knew each other and were “friends by association,” which no one else has reported. As previously noted, Wright was also the only reporter at Legebokoff’s initial court appearance.

Ashley Hendry of the Alaska Highway News asks Trevor Hurst of Econoline Crush why the hell touring bands are heading up to Fort St. John in the middle of winter.

Nice but real tiny hockey photo by Greg Sabatino of the Williams Lake Tribune.

Way down south in Vernon, it’s worth pointing out a wry story by Morning Star lifestyles editor Katherine Mortimer on being interviewed for a CBC series about Coronation Street fanatics. It’s tougher than it looks on TV, she writes:

“As someone who interviews members of the public for a living, I figured this would be a doddle. Turns out I was sadly mistaken. It’s nerve-wracking as hell being interviewed, and when it’s for TV, you have to remember to make eye contact at all times with the interviewer, to keep the “uhs” to a minimum, to slow down (almost impossible for me) and to sound vaguely interesting and at times even humorous.”

I’d rather be hung upside down by my toe nails than interviewed for TV. But then, that’s why I’m in print.

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What about you? Do you dream of TV glory? Leave a comment below by clicking the button above (up by the headline).

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 by Jayneandd via Flickr
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