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MP condemns closing of Nelson paper

The NDP MP for B.C. Southern Interior has condemned the closing of the Nelson Daily News, while the newspaper itself is writing its own obituary.

In a news release posted on his website last week, Alex Atamenenko called the closure "another blow to rural B.C."

In a letter to President David Black, Atamanenko called for the CEO’s reconsideration of the Nelson paper’s closure.

“Nelson’s local economy has again taken a hit,” says the letter. “You have just fired 25 people who support families and business in this small community of 9,298 people. In the City of Vancouver that would be equivalent to firing 1,560 people,” wrote Atamanenko.

“As well, I am concerned about the increased concentration of ownership of print media in the province,” stated Atamanenko. “This could have serious consequences, diminishing the diversity of voices heard in our communities, given less competition.

The Nelson Daily News, meanwhile, quoted Atamanenko's comments on July 9 and quietly corrected his 25 lost jobs to 34.

The paper also ran a July 11 story on the Black Press decision to shut the paper: "NDN sunk in red ink, says Black":

"It's certainly not something that makes me or us feel good," says Black Press chief operating officer Rick O'Connor. "But it’s not like we put the (NDN's) business in the position it's in today."

How bad was business?

Together, Nelson and Rupert lost close to $1,000,000 last year says O’Connor.

“We didn’t want to buy them, to be truthful,” he explained earlier this week, noting that Glacier insisted the group purchase was contingent on the sale of the NDN and Weekender. “Given the magnitude of the losses there was just no way we could operate them.”

The closure date of the Nelson Daily News, The Tyee has learned, may be as early as Friday, July 16.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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