One more metro newspaper closing its doors today
The Surrey Leader celebrated its 88th year in publication this year, but announced that it will be merging with the Surrey Now. Only one staff member, Rick Kupchuk, from the Surrey Leader will be moving over to the Now.
Kevin Diakiw is one of the journalists leaving the Surrey Leader today, and despite an invitation to join the Surrey Now, decided to leave his journalism career behind him.
“I’m going to miss all of the people I work with, this is probably one of the most crack team of journalists in community journalism today,” said Diakiw. “Journalism has been great to me, it’s been a marvellous ride, we’ve done some amazing work here, but I think it’s time to move on.”
In its final issue, the newspaper published an obituary with condolences expressed by several civic leaders including former mayors Diane Watts and Bob Bose, longtime MLA Sue Hammell, Surrey Food Bank Executive Director Marilyn Herrmann, and Dave Hayer, former assistant editor of the Indo-Canadian Times newspaper.
Each remaining staff member also wrote their own opinion piece, as their personal goodbye to the longstanding paper.
Jennifer Moreau, the Vice President of Unifor Local 2000, said the merging of the two papers means less coverage of local news.
“My heart really goes out to those people losing their jobs,” said Moreau. “It means there’s going to be fewer reporters covering the stories so it’s going to be more difficult to get a really good in depth understanding of what’s going on in your local community.”
Dale Bass, the B.C. and Yukon representative for the Canadian Association of Journalists said the loss of the Surrey Leader means a loss of community history.
“Anytime a newspaper is shut down, it silences voices, it means stories that won’t be told, people who won’t be heard,” Bass said in an email. “In the case of the Surrey Leader, that voice being silenced is 88 years old and that’s a lot of history that is being given up on. It’s been the newspaper of record for many who live there.”