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Rothenburger — The state of media in Kamloops, a year later

Staff of The Kamloops Daily News gathered for a picture on their last full day of work.

Staff of The Kamloops Daily News gathered for a picture on their last full day of work.

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.

Melcolhed2And, 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.

Mel Rothenburger can be reached at armchairmayor@gmail.com. He’s also on Twitter @MelRothenburger, Facebook.com/melrothenburger.7 and http://www.areappost.wordpress.com.

 

 

 

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About Mel Rothenburger (5151 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on Rothenburger — The state of media in Kamloops, a year later

  1. Lorraine Winter // March 8, 2015 at 12:44 AM // Reply

    I’m not sure I can bear a single more person telling me how much they miss opening the door, bending down to pick up their daily newspaper and foraging it’s contents over a cup of morning coffee. I’ve heard that story countless times. I know what they are going to say about their morning ritual before they even speak. More than a year after the KDN’s demise my own father says he’s “still to angry to even talk about it.” His angst, by the way, has nothing to do with the fact one of his daughters was employed there. He just misses his daily newspaper. In a great, big way.

  2. Missing the paper

    Yes I miss the daily newspaper…..and why you ask…..

    I miss the the obits..being sad after reading about the ones that left us too soon…..comforted by the ones who lived a full life and defended us to keep us free and celebrating the birth of a new generation that will make a difference.

    I miss…. asking my wife if she’s finished reading the paper so I can take to the bathroom…something doesn’t seem right taking a tablet or a smart phone for a number 2 break.

    I miss reading over a persons shoulder and asking them to not turn the page until I’ve finished reading the article.

    I miss reading the front page of a stranger’s paper from across the floor in a coffee shop.

    I miss the reading the battle of wits between 2 unarmed midgets.

    If I had a budgie bird I would miss putting the paper on the floor of the cage and the bird popping on either the picture of Gordon Campbell or Terry’s Lakes face.

    I miss using the paper to start a campfire,however,reading the news that happen several months ago.

    I miss reading who’s property is up for sale because they haven’t paid their property taxes yet.

    I miss the local banter

    I miss reading about local hockey team not talking to the newspaper sports editor.

    I miss the comics. I miss learning how my year will be based on the stars and the sun.

    I miss talking to the news paper lady in the office to cancel our paper for our vacation and she saying ” have a good time”

    I miss reading about crap that is for sale which I don’t need.

    I miss the Kamloops Daily News

  3. While I do have a tablet, phone and laptop.. and am chocked full of social media “news” outlets, none of them deliver the indepth coverage that I came to rely on from the KDN. For example, I found myself lost during our last civic election. Sure I could look at twitter and read through a candidate’s websites – but they were one sided and shallow. Frankly the coverage smacked of simply printing press releases. I was missing that investigative journalism – someone who would see through the election BS and ask tough questions.

  4. Robert George // January 10, 2015 at 2:56 PM // Reply

    Mel;;I saw you on the tely last night and I could feel your sadness and I sympathize and share some of your feelings.I have to admit weI quit taking the paper daily.I had a blue tube down on the highway along with my neighbour.My paper was pinched on a regular basis. His never was.It,s called local politics.The paper I thought was becoming a little pricey as well so I didn,t renew my yearly subscription.Neither did I think auto adverts on the bottom of the front page too kosher,nor it,s being narrowed.It gave me a feeling that the end was coming,as had been the fate of many other older dailys.I religiously bought the Buy and Sell every week and missed sitting down and looking at all the stuff I didn,t need or already had three of.Unfortunately,most of todays newspapers are owned by a chain who have no personal stake in the communities in which they are published.In todays world ,money is the primary critria.Perhaps you were top heavy,perhaps people expected too much? Why were you surprised at the sudden turn of events?
    The trouble with guys like you and I is we,re too old to understand modern thinking.I don,t have a tablet and won,t have one soon, and the young set are totally disinterested in International trucks,34 Fords and Model A,s.Hey,”funky” but a souped up Honda rice burner is their choice.There are exceptions. My old high school buddies who married as babies live down on Furrerer on the river and have three brand new cars and read their books on a tablet.He,d like a 40 Ford deluxe coupe,but the wife——–
    I once wrote a weekly column.on the coast and I really missed doing that. After having bought the old Docksteader ranch up the Deadman in 93,I wandered into the KDN and talked to then editor about writing a column.Yes,it was the famous and well known and respected M. Rothenburger,as he still is.Needless to say I was politely sent on my way.I bear no grudge.Hell ! I,d a done it for nuthin,.
    Anyway,good luck in your new position.Are you and your partners in being a real pain in the butt at times going to receive a 40% raise.Us poor folk out in the hinterlands hope not.
    Regards as always Bob George,Barriere,B.C.

  5. Pierre Filisetti // January 10, 2015 at 10:43 AM // Reply

    I find there is plenty of news sources about our city compared to just a few years ago.
    Most stuff is online and there is nothing wrong with that. Less recycling at the end of the day. It is not that the good old KDN had this overwhelming and visceral community involvement, IMHO. KTW has made improvements and my impression is, it will get better yet. Although I do understand where you come from. It was your “baby” and your “pulpit” for so many years.
    Personally, I do not miss the 8-track.

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