NNSL newspapers to keep serving the North after buyout by B.C. publisher

“It’s the people who make the news,” not the company, says Northern News Services Limited publisher

Nunavut News, Kivalliq News and five other northern newspapers will be owned by Black Press Media, a B.C.-based publisher, at the end of the month. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Black Press Media, based in B.C., has bought Northern News Services Limited, which ran two Nunavut-based newspapers independently for five decades.

“Nunavut News and Kivalliq News are going to continue sending our newspapers … and we’re going to carry on reporting as we always have,” said Bruce Valpy, the publisher and CEO of NNSL Media.

Valpy said in an interview on Tuesday he is confident the papers will continue serving their northern readers, despite having their corporate headquarters in B.C.

“There’s no question about it,” he said, adding that other northern papers are already based in the south, and “it’s the people who make the news,” not the company.

“There’s no way anybody’s going to control the editorial or change the perspective of the paper,” Valpy said.

Black Press will take ownership of seven northern newspapers and Canarctic Graphics, NNSL’s printer, based in the Northwest Territories, at the end of the month, the companies announced on March 11.

After the deal closes on March 31, Black Press will own Kivalliq News, Nunavut News, the Inuvik Drum, the Hay River Hub, the Yellowknifer, the Weekender and NWT News/North.

It will also take ownership of NNSL’s two news websites, NNSL.com and Nunavutnews.com, and Canarctic Graphics, NNSL’s printer based in the Northwest Territories.

Valpy said across the newspapers, websites and printer, NNSL has 50 employees and about 47 of them will keep their jobs through the buyout. He said as far as he knows, jobs that will be lost are related to duplicate positions between the two companies.

Rick O’Connor, president and CEO of Black Press Media, said in a news release, “we are very pleased to purchase these companies.”

“Our experience with community newspapers in Canada’s North has been very favourable,” he stated, referring to the company acquiring Yukon News in 2013.

NNSL was founded by Jack Sigvaldason in 1972, when he launched the Yellowknifer. When he died in 2018, his daughter Karen Sigvaldason became the president of NNSL Media and Canarctic.

In the release, she said her father “believed passionately in the strong role of NNSL and Canarctic in serving the people of the North,” and she is confident Black Press Media will continue that tradition.

Black Press operates 80 community newspapers in Western Canada, and owns publications in Alaska, California, Hawaii and Washington.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Highest quality on

    I hope we continue to get the same quality of journalism that we got a few weeks ago when a Kivalliq reporter had the courage to use Arabic-to-English Google Translate as a legitimate source and print damning allegations against a former Nunavut resident, and riling people up about something that may very well have been lost in translation (don’t tell that to our local populist personalities though).

    • Posted by iThink on

      Not entirely sure if this is accurate or related, but here are some observations gleaned from journalists and public thinkers I follow:

      Print journalism is an industry in decline, gasping for air in drying puddles of revenue. This, some speculate, has only increased an already strong propensity to ‘sensationalize’ in hopes of upping engagement.

      Similarly, journalism is not a particularly lucrative trade (especially for small outlets like these ones) so it could be that it attracts people who, like the priesthood of old–renouncing the world (that is, wealth), are more acutely attuned to spreading modern gospels; in our age of course this is ‘social justice’ which, though well meaning, has metastasized into a purity cult; demanding public declarations of fealty, while simultaneously engaging in grotesque forms of public purging.

      • Posted by Look & See on

        ^ See anything you recognize up there, Nunatsiaq? Admittedly you aren’t typically this bad, only on the odd occasion.

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