It’s not very often you get a do-over; I did.
My newspaper career started at a small newspaper in late 1980s, The Front Row Centre. Penny Sakamoto (then Graham) and Sue Oliver founded the Front Row Centre. Sakamoto and Oliver wanted a paper that would be filled with local content. Stories from and about Revelstoke that would highlight the coming and going, success and failures of Revelstokians. I was hired as the advertising rep. It later became the Revelstoke Review.
After a few years, WestMount Press bought both the Revelstoke Times and the Revelstoke Review. The two papers were combined and The Revelstoke Times Review was born. Everything, except the actual printing of the paper, was done in Revelstoke in those far off days. Accounting, payroll, circulation, classifieds and the collating of flyers all happened at the office on the corner of Third across from the post office. The office buzzed with questions from the public, locals calling in news tips, with reporters and sales staff hitting the bricks in order to keep both the news and revenue flowing. The Review was delivered door to door by a small army of girls and boys.
As I retire for the second time, I’d like to give accolades to all the folks who have worked with me at Times Review. People like Greg Chamberlain and David Rooney. Greg has gone on to become a science fiction writer and a reporter in Ottawa. Unfortunately, David passed away after establishing himself as a crackerjack editor for both The Times Review and the Revelstoke Current.
Greg and David’s dedication to the community of Revelstoke, and the code of ethics to which they held themselves was inspirational to me.
Others who passed through the doors of the Revelstoke Review include Belle Ancel and Kendra Brown who were production goddesses. Belle has her own photography studio in Vancouver now. Sadly Kendra passed away far too young from cancer. Paulette Gaudreault (a friend since grade school) worked in sales for a while and we are still best buds. Fran Carlson was my sidekick for almost a decade and there was nothing that went in our office that she didn’t know about. Nothing got passed Fran.
As the advertising rep with Front Row Centre, I met many people at the beginning of their business career’s. Steven Hui was the new pharmacist at Donaldson’s Drugs. Stephen soon became the owner and changed Donaldson’s to Pharmasave. Fred Beruschi only had one hotel back then, the Regent (I left my job at the Regent as bartender to begin my career in print so Fred and I go way back). Mark and Pat McKee just bought Style Trend that was located in the Alpine Mall. Lorraine Champagne had just opened River City Jeans back then. As advertising rep, my role was to help them grow their business through advertising. I hope I did. I still have relationships with these people and many more. Relationships are the backbone of community newspapers.
As publisher, I hired Rob Buchanon. Rob was probably one of my best finds ever. He is still a favorite. He remains the only cartoonist employed by a newspaper in BC. Cathy English has also been an amazing resource over the years and continues to be a valued contributor. Her version of “Glimpses of our Past” is a reader favorite. It was the one of the first things I brought back and the response to Cathy’s column has been amazing.
Currently our Revelstoke staff is down to four. Only three will remain after my departure.
Everything has been centralized. Classifieds are booked in Kelowna and laid out in Campbell River. Our creative team is located in Campbell River as well. Circulation is done in Vernon where the paper is printed and the flyers are inserted.
Digital is the new norm. When I left newspaper websites were in their infancy and we had no way of knowing if they were even being looked at, now we have statistics that show us what people are reading hourly. We are upload stories to the website, to Facebook and to Instagram almost hourly.
I am constantly amazed by the creative energy of the talented crew currently at the helm of the Review. This team is attending to all the news and advertising challenges a fledgling ski resort produces. In addition to print, they have to keep up with ongoing digital demands.
Jocelyn Doll, as editor, has the whole community on her radar. Since starting in May, Doll has grasped the importance of loyalty to the Review’s readers. She understands that a community newspaper is more than just news. It is Growls and Hugs, Glimpses of our Past, local sports, photo contests and so much more. Jocelyn is a wonderful resource for our community. I encourage you all to reach out to her with news about your club or event. Reach out with breaking news tor stories that you feel need to be highlight in your local paper. News that hasn’t been reported. or news that should have been reported. Share your stories with her. I promise you she will be receptive.
Myles Williamson is a force to be reckoned with. I predict this young man will become a familiar and trusted aid for the new generation of business owners. He is dedicated to learning the myriad aspects of his demanding job. He makes it look easy and is always calm and thoughtful about the demands on his time.
Liam Harrap has just recently joined the Review as a reporter. Liam is a fine addition to our crew. His style of writing is unique and accurate. He is empathetic and compassionate when needed, but can ask the hard questions as well. I have just started to get to know him, and I like what I have seen. He might even share his sourdough starter story with you if you ask him.
As I bow out again, I want to stress that Revelstoke needs a community newspaper. Show me a healthy vibrant community and at the heart is a strong vibrant local newspaper. The Review needs to be supported by you as residents and readers. Send in your news tips, letters to the editor, photo submissions, story ideas, birth and death notices and any other community tid-bits that you might have.
Community newspapers need the support that local advertising and subscriptions provide, but just as important as the revenue is the support only readers can provide.
The Revelstoke Review is your newspaper Revelstoke. Own it, and help it to be the paper you want it be. A newspaper Revelstoke can be proud of. The paper of record for Revelstoke for 120 years.