Saw this on Facebook a while ago… Then heard this morning that it’s done. Finished. Gone. No ceremony. No reminiscing about the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial’s hundred-year history in the Cowichan Valley. No celebrating its writers, editors, photographers, staff, and salespeople who many citizens came to know through their storytelling and advertising. No roasting those same people so we can poke gentle fun at their idiosyncrasies.
My writing grew up in the Cowichan News Leader Pictorial. Its demise is like watching your high school get torn down. With the physical structure is gone, memories stay but pride fades if you can’t walk the halls.
I had the privilege of writing for five minutes in the relative history of the paper, and I feel a loss. I can’t imagine how the rest feel, the staff who I worked with and who have been there since (what feels like) the beginning of time, like sports writer Don Bodger, who made heroes out of our local athletes; features writer Peter Rusland, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of this valley; photographer Andrew Leong, whose images last in our memories long after the paper they were printed on is scrumpled into the fire; and last and the opposite of least, editor John McKinley, who orchestrated every issue with a calm that made the monumental twice-weekly task look easy.
Black Press is entitled to make choices about how to run their business, but they must understand that closing a local rag that was a main source of information for this community for over a century—a century!—is dishonourable to do so without fanfare. This is a sad ending to a long, colourful, and essential Cowichan Valley story; sadder still that it passes with no wake.