A sad new year for local newspapers

Another newspaper bites the dust - and not because it wasn't good at reporting the news and other community happenings.

I don’t know about the younger generation of women and men working on newspapers these days, but those of my generation and older had a calling. Newspapers called to us and there was no resisting it.

We wanted to make a difference, and newspapers have a centuries old history of doing just that. Whether the “difference” was justifiable is another matter as they have been used, in the past, to spread the owner’s own view of things, usually political. The power of the press.

And so, with foresight, some of those women and men made a difference to the generations of reporters, photographers, and editors who came after them and set up schools of journalism to channel that calling into fair and objective reporting. After that, it was a hard scramble to find work on a newspaper, but many of us persevered because there was just no giving up.

That is what newspapers mean to us.We don’t talk about the economic hardships that leave us gasping, because it’s us who report on the tough times of other businesses, other people. But we are not immune to the downturns of the economy. No one has the magic to create money where there is none. Wouldn’t that be sweet if that was one of the differences we could make?

And still, it was a great shock to find out on Monday that the Kamloops Daily News will cease to publish in a couple of months. We know some of the people there, and have even starting working with a few of them recently, even though they compete for our readership and our advertising dollar. Hard economic times will do that, even with competitors.

They are still colleagues, and I know from looking at their newspaper that they share the same feelings for their publication as I do. We are losing our voices- the ones that help common and vulnerable people stand up against the people and institutions who mistreat them.

It’s very sad – for the colleagues who are losing jobs that they love, and also for the loss of another newspaper. What will we do when there are no more voices?

That is something KDN readers will answer for themselves in March.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal