Black Press names new Kootenay/Boundary publisher

Eric Lawson comes to the West Kootenay/Boundary with three decades of community media experience.

Eric Lawson has 30 years of experience in community newspapers as a reporter

Eric Lawson has 30 years of experience in community newspapers as a reporter

Black Press newspapers in the West Kootenay/Boundary have a new publisher. Eric Lawson took over Monday at the helm of the Trail Times, Castlegar News, Rossland News, Nelson Star, West Kootenay Advertiser, Grand Forks Gazette, Creston Valley Advance, Arrow Lakes News, and Boundary Creek Times.

Lawson and his wife Linda have just moved to Nelson from Manitoba, where he was the publisher of the Brandon Sun. He says it’s part of their gradual lifelong journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

“My wife and I were both born in a hospital in St John’s, N.L., that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and we say we have been trying to get to the Pacific ever since. We have been moving steadily west. For me it is an experience of getting to know the whole country. We have visited BC a number of times and loved it here and looked for an opportunity to move here. When this opportunity came along, all the pieces seemed to fit.”

Lawson has worked in community newspapers for decades.

“My first job when I got out of college was as a reporter and photographer at a community newspaper in Truro, N.S., and I have worked in community media ever since, for 30 years.”

Since then he has worked in the Maritimes, Ontario, and Manitoba as a news editor, sales manager, general manager, and publisher.

“What I like about community newspapers is the connection you have to the communities you live in,” he says. “There is absolutely nothing that will connect you to your community faster than working in community media. Everywhere I have gone I have tried to be involved with the community, and tried to make sure that the newspapers reflected and were committed to the communities they served. I hope I am able to do that here as well. And I enjoy the variety newspapers always give you lots of variety.”

Lawson holds a master of arts from University of Western Ontario and an executive MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ont.

Asked about his views on the role of newspapers in the media world, and the financial challenges they often face, Lawson is optimistic.

“I feel I am working in a vibrant industry. It never crosses my mind that I am not. I have worked with newspapers that were deeply connected to their communities and were successful. It is true we have to think about our online strategy and non-traditional competitors, but it has never crossed my mind that I was working in a failing industry. I don’t mean to be naive I understand there are real challenges in the industry. But I think it is vibrant and has a future.”

Lawson says he’s been active in all the communities he’s lived in. He was president of the Rotary Club in Brandon and involved in the Chamber of Commerce. He was a board member of the YMCA. As dog lovers and the owners of a Siberian Husky, Lawson and his wife have also been involved in supporting animal shelters.

To the people of the West Kootenay, Lawson, interviewed on a sunny 25-C afternoon, says, “Wow, is the weather ever nice! I hope we will be given an opportunity to settle into the community on a personal level and a professional level and give back. I want to jump in with both feet, get to know the communities, get to know the people, and get started.”

Lawson replaces Chuck Bennett, who had been group publisher since 2007.

Just Posted

Photo: Trail Times
Trail RCMP start June by nabbing impaired drivers

Latest brief from the Trail and Greater District police

“This is very costly to replace and it seems that Rossland is getting more and more theft and vandalism happening, which is really unfortunate,” says the commission’s Michelle Fairbanks. Photo: Submitted
Two plaques stolen from Rossland heritage square

The plaques were located at Washington and Columbia by the Olaus statue

No matter your age, the city’s two skate park hosts Jaryd Justice-Moote (left) and Brenden Wright can help you roll into a new pastime this “Summer at the Skatepark.” Photo: City of Trail
Free coaching at the Trail Sk8Park begins next month

The city is rolling into a summer of inclusive recreation by, for… Continue reading

Pastor Tom Kline
‘Why I became a Christian’ with Pastor Tom Kline

That night, a peace came over my heart that has remained from that day to this, 36 years later.

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters block Castlegar’s main street for 24 hours

Members of Extinction Rebellion stayed overnight in downtown Castlegar

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read