Kelowna Daily Courier newsroom shrinks again with staff cuts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna Daily Courier newsroom shrinks again with staff cuts

An Okanagan landscape photograph by Daily Courier photographer Gary Nylander.
January 23, 2018 - 6:30 PM

Kelowna’s daily newspaper newsroom has shrunk once again with the termination of two senior editorial staff.

Photographer Gary Nylander and copy editor Grant Jones where terminated Jan. 11, leaving the Kelowna Daily Courier with seven newsroom employees, according to city editor and union shop steward Pat Bulmer.

Both layoffs are being appealed by Unifor, the union representing newsroom staff, Bulmer added, with seniority being the key issue.

Both employees have worked at the Daily Courier since before its peak in the mid-90s, when the newsroom counted dozens — by some estimates, as many as 35 — reporters, editors and photographers at one time.

It now employs no full-time photographers, has only three bylined reporters and a long list of managing editors since Jon Manchester left to join in January, 2015. 

Bulmer described the exodus from the Daily Courier newsroom as a 'slow trickle' of layoffs and retirements that were never replaced, yielding to the rise of the Internet and the disruption and decline of the newspaper industry.

The Daily Courier and the Penticton Herald share owners and resources and are among a handful of daily newspapers still operating in the province. The Vancouver Sun and Province are separate newspapers in name only. The Kamloops Daily News shut down in 2014 and the Nanaimo Daily News shut down in 2016 among even broader losses across the country and the industry in recent years.

“Our staff has definitely been shrinking over the years,” Bulmer said, although he would not make a prediction of future layoffs. “I sure hope not, is what I would say.”

Bulmer said the union and remaining staff will be entering contract negotiations “very soon” and have been without a contract since 2016. He would not comment on if the newspaper could possibly be shut down.

Daily Courier publisher Ed Kennedy did not respond in time to be included in this article.

Nylander has worked at the Daily Courier since the 1980s and has won numerous awards for his news photography, including for his photographs of the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire, which helped illustrate Firestorm, a book about the fire and which populates an exhibit at the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria.

The Daily Courier and its sister publication The Penticton Herald, are owned by Continental Newspapers, a private company which is majority owned by David Radler, the former partner of Conrad Black. Both men served time in prison in relation to the sale of publications owned by Hollinger Newspapers in the 2000s.

— This story was corrected at 5:57 a.m. Jan. 24, 2018. An earlier version said no managing editor lasted longer than a year, which is not accurate. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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