By DEBORAH PFEIFFER
The Similkameen News Leader, a locally-owned, independent weekly community newspaper in Princeton, is shutting down.
The first issue was published Jan. 6, 1998, and the final one will be July 26, 2016.
"I started working here as the advertising sales manager in July 2000. I bought the paper in February 2004 and have operated it since with my wife, Brenda Engel," said owner/publisher George Elliott. "Three years ago we noted a serious dip in revenue. It never bounced back."
Elliott attributes the closure to a number of factors including: the internet, free advertising websites, social media, a sagging local economy and just overall changes in the industry and how news is gathered and shared through digital media.
These things have had an effect on all newspapers, but smaller ones feel the pinch greater.
"We are not bitter, nor are we angry," he said. "We chose to make the change while we still had the chance to do so and retain a bit of control over our demise rather than being forced into making this decision. If anything, I'm a little sad about it. I'm very proud about the quality of our product and feel we accomplished a lot as an independent voice within the community."
"We often covered news that other outlets would not touch because it didn't involve gruesome or gory details. We found our niche in telling stories about regular folk and what is traditionally known as soft news. Sure, there was other things, but we kept our focus 100 per cent on the Similkameen Valley."
Lastly, Elliott explained they spent a lot of time focusing on the contributions made to their local area by volunteers and non-profit groups. They spent a lot of time sharing the small victories, such as elementary school activities and the like.
"We worked very hard to keep community in our product," he said.