COLUMN — I miss my daily newspaper. I miss it every day. I still miss that walk down the driveway to find it in the tube — sometimes wet and soggy, but still a thing of joy to hold. I miss having it in my hands with my coffee in the morning.
And, I miss the people. Not just those who worked there, but the ones at the front counter, who would come in with all manner of stories to tell, things about their community, about neighbourhood issues, things they thought we might like to know.
A lot of people tell me they miss the Kamloops Daily News for the same reasons I do. And nothing has come along to fill the void, they say.
Well, that’s true. A city without a daily newspaper is a sad situation. It’s not that there aren’t other sources of news, but exactly one year (the calendar anniversary is Sunday but the last edition was published Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014) after The Daily News died, there’s still a news-coverage deficit.
Kamloops This Week grandly declared ‘A new era in journalism’ for Kamloops after the News closed. It returned to publishing three days a week instead of two, has some very good reporters, raised its story count, and added a couple of the comics we used to run at the KDN.
It files stories more consistently and a little more quickly on its website. While in the past it used to simply dump its print-version stories onto the web as a package each day late in the afternoon, it now files them throughout the day and even sometimes on weekends.
In addition, KTW has taken over some of the best projects the KDN used to own — Christmas Cheer Fund (KDN sports editor Gregg Drinnan deservedly won an award for creating that one), Raise a Reader, the Readers’ Choice Awards, and even a version of the KDN’s Christmas Story Competition (which my wife Sydney founded many years ago).
Overall, though, KTW’s page count per edition hasn’t gone up noticeably.
The Downtown and North Shore Echo publications are a good fast read at the coffee shops, and various other coffee sheets come and go.
A year ago, Castanet, a successful online news site in Kelowna, talked about significantly boosting its Kamloops content but I haven’t seen it. At 4 p.m. Friday, I could find only two stories with Kamloops datelines, one of them via Kamloops This Week and the Canadian Press. The next newest Kamloops story was a two-day-old RCMP press release about a missing teenager.
Its competitor InfoNews.ca is a tad under-rated, in my view. A product of InfoTel, the phone directory company, it posts several Kamloops stories every day, and has a breezy writing style.
Then, of course, there’s this humble publication, The Armchair Mayor News, strung together with shoelaces and chewing gum, published because it seems like a good thing to do, with a little roster of volunteer contributors who do it for the enjoyment of writing about their community.
And, there are some excellent personal niche blogs out there, like David Charbonneau’s Eye View, Mark Rogers’ Newsonaut, Daniela Ginta’s The Mindful Writer, and for sports you can’t do better than Gregg Drinnan’s Taking Note.
Even the City of Kamloops has gotten in on the act, launching a newsletter they call The Kamloops Insider written by former KDN City Hall reporter Michele Young. Her writing is a refreshing change from your average institutional press releases, and the first couple of editions look promising.
More players will enter the online field in Kamloops — word on the street is that a new one will be announced very shortly, maybe within days, and that another may be in the works as well.
It’s the age of one-person online newsrooms and J-school grads who’d rather be in public relations or working for a webzine. They know things are changing and they’re adapting to it.
One shouldn’t forget the websites of the broadcast media — NL Radio’s is basically just a headline recap but CFJC keeps its site filled with content from its newscasts, with the added benefit of video. CBC Kamloops Daybreak’s website is pretty clunky but its daily morning on-air yak fest adds welcome breadth to story telling at the community level.
So, our sources for local news boil down to a tri-weekly printed paper and its website, three online sites with varying quality and resources, a TV station and several radio stations, and take your pick of blogs.
It’s not enough, but you and I know Kamloops isn’t going to see another daily newspaper any time soon. There will be no resurrection. That’s why today, on the one-year anniversary of the last edition of The Kamloops Daily News, as we drink our coffee and scroll our tablets, we can only reminisce about what was.
It’s the new era of journalism.