After six years leading the Penticton Western News, publisher Mark Walker is moving on.
“It’s been a pleasure working with the team here. We have created a great product and gone from success to success,” said Walker, who is taking a new position with Black Press, parent company of the Western News and the largest independently owned newspaper company in Canada.
But the new publisher will be a familiar name to the Penticton community. Former Western News publisher Don Kendall takes over on April 29 as Walker heads off to take up his new responsibilities as sales and marketing director for Black Press’ digital division.
“Penticton is the core of one of Black Press’ most important markets in the B.C. Interior,” said Kendall. “It’s also been my home for many years. I am looking forward to continuing to strengthen the Western News’ involvement in this great community.”
Kendall has a long history in the newspaper industry. A former sports writer, Kendall was one of the four founding partners of the Vernon Morning Star in 1988, staying on as publisher and eventually vice-president with the new owners, Cariboo Press, the core group of papers for what is now Black Press.
Kendall’s roles in Black Press have been varied, and include a two-and-a-half-year stint in Hawaii when the chain purchased the Honolulu Star Bulletin.
After returning from Hawaii, Kendall continued to hold senior roles with Black Press, including working for the chain’s Sound Publishing Division in Washington state, where he helped establish a network of community papers following the purchase of the King County Journal.
Though Kendall finished his first stint as publisher of the Western News in 2007, he and his wife Teresa never left Penticton. Kendall sits on the advisory board for the South Okanagan Events Centre, is a member of Penticton’s business development committee and is entering his fourth year as president of the Penticton Peach Festival.
Walker and his wife Roberta also plan to maintain their home in Penticton, though he will be based out of Black Press’ Surrey offices, where he will be crafting marketing and sales strategy for the chain’s digital products, including B.C. Daily Buzz and a range of local and regional online news portals, such as bclocalnews.com and the Western News’ own web presence, pentictonwesternnews.com.