Newspaper sale will hopeful provide some stability

(In August, Black Press Group Ltd. announced it had purchased the Kelowna (BC) Capital News. The paper will be managed by Cariboo Press, the B.C. interior operating division of Black Press Group Ltd.  There were no changes to the operations or the staff.  The following column appeared in the Capital News shortly after the purchase.)
Everyone likes to feel wanted in life. But lately I have been wondering about the desire of the would-be press barons of the world to not only own, but hang onto, a fine publication like the one you now hold in your hands.

Sure, the Capital News may not be the The Times, The Washington Post or the International Herald Tribune, but itÔÇÖs a solid local newspaper that has served its community well for three-quarters of a century and easily holds its own against much bigger competition like a local daily, a local television station, the five private radio stations and a regional bureau of CBC Radio.

But it seems that the ÔÇ£to haveÔÇØ part of the last three marriages of the Capital News to its assorted owners has not been the problem, itÔÇÖs been the ÔÇ£to holdÔÇØ part.

For the first 63 years of its life, the Capital News basically had one ownerÔÇöthe Kerry family. (In the later years, founder Les KerryÔÇÖs son-in-law Graham Takoff was in charge.) In 1993, Takoff sold the paper to Lower Mainland Publishing Ltd. and it, in turn, sold it to Conrad BlackÔÇÖs Hollinger empire. That, of course, was before Black dumped his Canadian citizenship in order to grab a British peerage. Hollinger sold the newspaper to a group of business people fronted by Kelowna RocketsÔÇÖ owner Bruce Hamilton. And last week, Hamilton and his West Partners Publishing group announced the paper has been sold to David Black of Victoria (no relation to Conrad and, to the best of my knowlege, still a Canadian) who is believed to have wanted the Capital News since Takoff sold the paper to BlackÔÇÖs rival LMPL in 1993.

I discovered a new company will be issuing me a paycheque when I was on my way home from a holiday earlier this week.

As I sat in a fast food restaurant in Armstrong with my seven-year-old daughter, I absent-mindedly started flipping through its local paper. (A conditioned reflex in preparation for my return to work, no doubt.) And there in black and white was the news that I now work for B.C.ÔÇÖs own newspaper mogul David Black and his Black Press chain of papers.

After 10 years here, I canÔÇÖt complain about any of the owners. They let me do my job, never directly tried to influence my reporting and my paycheque was always on time and never bounced.

What more can you ask for?

Well, maybe a better supply of candy in the lunch room, but thatÔÇÖs another story.

As for the future, I just hope the new owner keeps this newspaper longer than the 2.5 years that his three predecessors averaged. Empires, even local ones, take a little longer to build.

As for my daughter, she wants just one thing from the new ownerÔÇöshe wants him to be nice to her dad.

Now thereÔÇÖs a kid with business acumen.