A newspaper man in the Cowichan Valley is betting against the odds as closures of papers ripple across Vancouver Island.
He’s just started up a new one. The Duncan Free Press launched its first edition last week putting people layed off from the Cowichan Valley News Leader back to work, and telling stories that they thought they’d never get to share again.
Hitting the playing field to interview a successful coach, veteran sports reporter Don Bodger’s getting another chance to play the game he loves after being on the sidelines for a year.
“As time went on you realized just how much you missed that and the chance to do it again and feel rejuvenated was just so great,” says Bodger. “And when this opportunity came up again it was okay let’s go we’re ready.”
He was laid off after 31 years when the Cowichan News Leader closed its doors, in a wave of newspaper closures.
“I mean this paper was over 100 years old. There was a great sense of loss in the community and we’re feeling that now,” says newspaper publisher Warren Goulding. “People like to see these guys back again.”
Because publisher Warren Goulding who already has the Chemainus Valley Courier and South Cowichan Echo in circulation, has launched a new monthly paper in Duncan to fill the hole left behind. The first edition, came out last week.
Peter Rusland is one of the reporters layed off from the News Leader, who now works for the new Free Press.
“Yeah you know it was really exciting launching a brand new paper I mean with so many closing how often do you get to start a brand new paper,” says Rusland.
“I think we’ve got another generation or two that will read a newspaper,” says Goulding.
Goulding understands doubters after all Black Press has just closed newspapers on Vancouver Island from Duncan all the way to Campbell River. But he says the timing of the closures is what makes his project successfully so successful.
“This paper never would have come about if the opportunity wasn’t there to bring on people who have worked in this market for a long time,” says Goulding.
Assembling an A team of talent hungry to cover local stories, like Bodger.
“You know we’re almost going back to the days of old in the paper if you will,” says Bodger. “You know no community event is going to be something we’re going to turn away.”
Who knows firsthand that in life and in sports you should never count the underdog out.