Black Press Media Group is announcing today the retirement of long time President and CEO Rick O’Connor effective September 2, 2022.
O’Connor has been CEO since 2012 and has steered the company through several challenges that all media have faced through the digital evolution of the media industry.
“Rick has done a wonderful job for our company and while I am happy for him in his next phase of life, we will definitely miss him and the contributions he has made to Black Press and the local media industry in general,” said company owner David Black.
Rick joined Black Press in 1998 as the President of the Metro Valley Newspaper Group and held progressive roles in the company, taking over all BC operations in 2005, followed by Washington state in 2008 and Alberta in 2011. He finally took over Hawaiian and Ohio publishing operations in 2012 when he became CEO.
During the past 10 years O’Connor engineered several transactions with Glacier Media, the Washington Post, Gatehouse, Stephens Media, and various independent publishers to help transform and shape Black Press into one of the leading local newspaper publishers in North America. The company operates newspapers and websites in BC, Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Washington State, Alaska, and Hawaii.
O’Connor commenced his career in the newspaper industry in 1978, starting a newspaper in Vanderhoof, B.C. He then bought another newspaper in 1980 and sold both to Black Press in 1983. These newspapers are still part of the Black Press Media group today. Rick also led the team which launched Kamloops This Week in 1988 and that media operation is the leading news source in Kamloops to this day. He also published newspapers in Quesnel, Maple Ridge, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, and Burnaby, and from 1991 to 1998 was VP of Newspapers for the Lower Mainland Publishing Company.
Rick was awarded the prestigious Dean Lesher award in 2009 for outstanding contributions to the community newspaper industry in North America and was Chairman of the Board of Suburban Newspapers of America (now Local Media Association) from 2000-2002. He recently served on the Board of America’s Newspapers and is currently on the board of News Media Canada. He also holds a Silver Quill from News Media Canada.
“While I am not the type of person to simply stop working and contributing, I am looking forward to slowing down and spending more time with my family and playing golf. I suspect I will do some part time work in this industry and will continue to support the community causes I have championed over the years.
I want to thank all past and present colleagues who have helped advance local journalism in BC and elsewhere. I have collaborated with many outstanding people and the communities we operate in are the beneficiaries of all that effort. I am passionate about this company and our industry and urge all our readers and advertisers to continue to support the work of journalists and media companies.
It is critical work and is a big part of the continuing fabric of each community,” said O’Connor. “After 44 years in the newspaper industry and 46 in media overall, I have seen many evolutions and dramatic changes and feel my future role will be to mentor those who are working every day to advance the cause of journalism and to help find a sustainable future for this industry.”