Saturday, July 17, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Friday, July 16, 2010)

The final day and the final edition of the Daily News,  a review of a life lived as the community commemorates Walter Smith and Terrace RCMP close the file on a missing persons case, some of the news items of the day for Friday.

Daily News, front page, headline story
THE PRESSES TURNED FOR THE LAST TIME AT PRINCE RUPERT'S DAILY NEWS -- A final picture for the scrapbooks and a final edition for the Daily News, with remembrances from past and present employees placed throughout the final press run, the front page story providing the epitaph for 99 years of Prince Rupert history.

Monica Lamb Yorski provides a revealing and fitting tribute to Walter Smith, the life long time resident and one of the most renowned members of the community passed away at the age of 94 on Tuesday.

And as former Pacific Coast School Principal Steve Riley prepares for his new adventures in the Nass Valley, the Daily took a final look at his achievements in School District 52.

The Sports section featured a review of Patrick Witwicki's time at the helm of sports information in the city and reprised the article that heralded the heyday of competitive hockey from the days of the Kings.

(Daily News Archives for Friday July 16, 2010)

The Presses turned for the last time at Prince Rupert's Daily News
Prince Rupert will miss Walter Smith
One of a kind Principal Riley
AESP brings training to FN
A lot can happen in a century

**Note we will offer up some of the farewell and remembrances from the final edition on a separate post over the weekend, the catalogue of items from the final edition will be found under the banner, Farewells and Remembrances, Final Chapter, Final edition.

The Northern View
The Northern view had no new features posted to its website on Friday.

Prince Rupert Daily published for the last time
CFTK reviews the final press run of the Daily News (see article here) Sahar Nassimdoost also filed this report for TV 7's evening newscast.

Body of missing Rosswood man found -- Terrace RCMP outline that the search has ended for a Rosswood resident who had gone missing earlier this week, his body was discovered east of Terrace on Thursday, foul play is not suspected (see article here)

BC News Northern BC Daybreak North
Daybreak North is only posting selected items on their website now.

The most recently posted items can be found on the archive page for Daybreak North click here

Daily News, front page headline story
The press turned for the last time at Prince Rupert’s Daily News 
By George T. Baker 
Prince Rupert Daily News
Friday, July 16, 2010 

The newspaper has broken the erstwhile rule and has become the news.

The Prince Rupert Daily News, for 99 years the paper of record in the community, will end its historic coverage of the community and shut down for good today.

Residents and politicians alike marked the final day with sadness and regret, with some saying that the closure of a daily newspaper is reflective of the tough economic climate Prince Rupert is currently mired in.

“I think it sucks. It shows that the town is really drying up,” said 19-year old Jordan McArthy. 

McArthy who, like many residents in rainy Prince Rupert, once delivered the paper as a way to make a small allowance in her younger days, said that she enjoyed the free copy Wednesdays and Fridays, but admitted that she did not subscribe and rarely bought the paper.

“It’s really unfortunate. Everyone in town is talking about it,” she added. “It’s been here for so long, with so many people who started their journalism careers there.”

Longtime reader Doug Sankey echoed her sentiments. Sankey has been an avid reader of the Daily News since the 1950s and was dismayed that such a community icon would abruptly stop printing today.

“It’s a crime. It brought a lot of news from the outside world,” said Sankey. He also said that the community would lose something very large starting Monday. Sankey is a loyal fan of the All Native Basketball Tournament. And he always enjoyed the coverage that the Daily News gave the tournament each and every February, including the supplement produced by Sports Editor Patrick Witwicki.

“It means a hell of a lot to lose the Daily News. I’m going to miss the sports. I really enjoyed that section,” said Sankey.

All-Native Basketball Tournament president Peter Haugen said that he didn’t like the idea of anything closing down in town. “It’s a big sign - that the Daily News is closing,” said Haugen.

The newspaper is shutting down after Glacier Media Inc. sold it to Black Press, who has subsequently shut the paper down. Representatives from Black Press have said that the closing is a business decision, feeling that the way the Northern View produces its content is the most sustainable way to operate a newspaper in this market.

However, talk amongst the community has been one of shock that the ‘newspaper of record’ will close.

Mayor Jack Mussallem agreed, saying that he worried about how he would communicate city plans with taxpayers.

 “It’s a loss because, when you have a daily newspaper, people can follow events certainly more immediately than a weekly. And there are events where things happen that are of interest to the public at large. You miss that with a weekly newspaper,” reasoned Mussallem.

“The other thing is that a lot of people don’t realize the impact it will bring until afterwards. There have been a few generations here that have grown up with a daily newspaper. I’m sure that there are people who are going to miss it.”

In the past, the newspaper has played a vital role in holding politicians accountable and challenging the status quo in the community, said Mussallem.

“I’ve always taken time to get stories out. I know I can phone [reporters at the Daily News] and the other people in the local media business. What it means is local government will have to switch and rely more heavily on a weekly newspaper.”

Vacationing North Coast MLA Gary Coons said the closure of the paper was a complete surprise and that it’s a real disappointment.

“I leave town and you guys shut up. The story of my bloody life,” joked Coons. “After close to 100 years, I think it is going to be a real hit to the community. But I guess it’s a sign of the times. Unfortunately, it’s not good for the community.”

Coons said his best memory of the Daily News is the people who worked at the paper. Every time something was happening in the community he saw people from the newspaper there.

“You had Ed [Evans] knocking on your door for every activity to advertise. I spent a lot of time there. It was my second home. And it will be devastating to the 20 people [on staff]. Anywhere else in the province, we would be talking to a 500-600 job loss equivalence.”

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen said that a good newspaper is the recording of a community story.

He also dismissed the direction of newspapers in British Columbia.

“For a long, long time that has been the Daily News. To have that gone is a real loss. I’m frustrated with the media concentration going on in B.C. and the bean counters that make choices about things that are so critical as a local paper. It’s unfortunate.”

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