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Kamloops News

McDONALD: You won't find me dancing on the grave of the Kelowna Daily Courier

January 26, 2018 - 12:35 PM

So the building housing the Kelowna Daily Courier could be sold. The newspaper could be moved to another location. The Central Okanagan’s oldest and only daily newspaper could shut down.

I could have wrote that sentence 10 years ago when the Courier really began to retrench. I was working there for the second time time as editor of the Westside Weekly and had a front row seat.

I watched my own budget dwindle as the ad line counts shrunk and watercooler talk began to drift to not if, but when the long-serving newspaper would shut down.

My first stint at the Daily Courier in 1994 lasted a mere half-year before I was fired but I have fond memories of those six months.

It was my first real newspaper job, at a daily no less, after trying and failing to break into the media in the Lower Mainland.

The Daily Courier may not have been the Vancouver Sun but the newsroom felt like those I had only ever seen in movies; crowded and noisy, full of energy. It felt like it mattered.

The Courier was an afternoon paper back then and my secret thrill was feeling the whole building vibrate as the presses rumbled to life after a morning of frantic production.

Only in hindsight do I see the irony of my time there.

I came to the Courier in 1994 from another Thompson Newspapers publication called Okanagan Sunday where only a few months before, I wrote a piece about this thing called the Information Superhighway, better known now as the Internet.

The Courier was only just then converting to a desktop publishing system, even as the print newspaper industry began to fade and its own circulation began to shrink.

It would take a few more years before the inevitable decline would become apparent but the digital seeds had been planted, not just at the Daily Courier but at the Kelowna Capital News (where I also worked for 12 years) CHBC and a clutch of radio stations.

Owned by Thompson Newspapers when I started, the Daily Courier has since gone through a series of ownership changes (that’s a story in itself) and is now in the hands of David Radler, famed for his part in the downfall of Hollinger International and Conrad Black.

Radler is and always has been a hard-nosed businessman and has never hid his view of newspapers as income-producing assets and not much more.

So the fact the Daily Courier is still around shows me it is still viable as a business even if it no longer dominates the Kelowna media scene like it once did.

By rights, I should be happy to see a competitor go belly up but I won’t be cheering if the Daily Courier does go under (not least because I still have friends who work there).

It its heyday, the Courier was the paper of record, a must-read that provided a rolling log of life in the Central Okanagan, a starting point for conversations that meant something to the community.

And it did it in a way news websites have not yet been able to replicate (sorry boss).

Maybe I’m just being sentimental but should the rumours of the Kelowna Daily Courier's demise ever finally come true, it won’t be me breaking out the champagne.

— John McDonald is a long-time reporter, editor and photographer from the Central Okanagan with a strong curiosity about local affairs. You can reach him at

News from © iNFOnews, 2018

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