Our Team

Warren Smith

Warren Smith was born in Alberta and grew up spending summers in the Shuswap at the family cabin, before beginning his news-media career in 2005, where he served as the editor and account manager for Renovations Magazine with Homebase Media.
In 2007 he left the magazine to join the newly launched Metro News, where he worked for the daily newspaper for 12 years as senior account manager.
Following the Toronto Star’s decision to wind down their Metro brand and keeping with familiarity with community newspapers, Warren joined Black Press and the Penticton Western News in September 2020 as the publisher for the weekly newspaper.
“I look forward to being a Pentictonite and I am eager to provide local coverage for community news and businesses as well as forming winning partnerships with our advertisers.”
In his time in the industry, Warren has seen many of the changes and trends come and go, and brings his experience to the Western News as the paper looks to the future.


Monique Tamminga
Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times, a Black Press newspaper on the Coast.
Monique has won several national, provincial and local media awards for investigative journalism, best hard news story and best opinion pieces, to name a few. She sees the role of a reporter as a privilege and each person’s story should be treated with respect.
She made the life-changing move to Penticton with her husband, son and very old black lab in 2018. She is also a certified education assistant and worked full-time in a local elementary school, as well as a substitute teacher throughout SD67 before that. It had been a fulfilling role and reinforced her love for children.
But, reporting is in her blood and she appreciates the opportunity to tell Penticton’s stories.
“In my opinion, being a journalist is one of the most exciting jobs a person can have because we get to meet fascinating people, tell their stories, celebrate community successes, help bring issues to the forefront and give a voice to the unheard. And sometimes, if we are lucky, we get to help make a change for the better.”
Monique is loving life in Penticton. Where else can you live where there is not one, but two gorgeous lakes, kilometres of public beaches and warm and swimmable water? It’s also home to a vibrant arts community, a compassionate charity base, talented athletes and an exciting culinary scene. It’s also home to the best wines and craft beer in the world. Not to mention, there is no rush hour here and you can get from lake to lake in 10 minutes, no matter what time of day. Why didn’t I move here sooner?

Multi-Media Journalist
Brennan Phillips
Brennan Phillips may not have been born in the Okanagan, but he was raised here, and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
Beginning with an internship at the Penticton Western in 2018, Brennan has worked his way up from covering weekends and special events, to a full-time reporter with the community newspaper.
He is excited to continue to cover all of the community goings-on and looks forward to being back out among the people to hear their stories.

Multi-Media Journalist
Jesse Day

Marketing Consultant
Sandi Nolan
Sandi Nolan has worked at the Keremeos Review and Similkameen Spotlight since 2012. She’s spearheaded multiple advertising campaigns during this time and is the driving force behind the Similkameen Valley Tourism Guide, which is done in partnership with TOTA and the Similkameen Valley Planning Society.

Director of Sales
B.C. Interior South

Karen Hill

In October of 1989, Karen began her career in the classified department at the Kelowna Capital News. Most of her tenure in Kelowna was spent in the accounting department where she worked her way to group controller for the Interior with Lower Mainland Publishing and then West Partners Publishing when they bought the newspaper in 2001. In 2003, Black Press purchased the Capital News and Karen integrated into the accounting department, working with the president on all the southern divisions until she took on the position of publisher at the Vernon Morning Star in 2006. In September 2010, she made her way back to Kelowna as publisher of the Capital News and Lake Country Calendar, as well as our specialty products Food & Wine Trails and Grapes to Wine.

Bureau Chief of B.C.
Interior South Division

Jen Zielinski
Jen graduated from the broadcast journalism program at BCIT. She also has bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology from Thompson Rivers University. Previously, the Fernie native was the senior video journalist for Castanet News, based in Kelowna. She has a passion for online journalism, as well as local volunteer organizations, such as the BC SPCA.

Barry Gerding

Regional Editor
Barry Gerding

Barry Gerding is the senior regional reporter for Black Press in the Okanagan. Barry’s career as a journalist in the B.C. community newspaper field spans 37 years working in northwest B.C., Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. He was managing editor of the Kelowna Capital News for 16 years from 2000 to 2016, and prior to that editor of the Burnaby Now, Chilliwack Times and Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle. He also worked as a reporter for Houston Today, Interior News in Smithers, Sidney Review on Vancouver Island and Abbotsford Times. He currently works out of Kelowna and resides in the Toovey Heights neighbourhood, married with two kids and far too many animals.

Okanagan Video Journalist
Twila Amato
Before joining the Black Press Media team, Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island, reporting for stations in the Comox Valley, Campbell River, Port Alice, Port Hardy, as well as Powell River. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and before then, received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, singing show tunes, collecting lipstick and hanging out at Sephora.

Regional Circulation Manager
Brian Gold

Lead Paginator
Sydney Watt
Sydney is the lead paginator for the Okanagan. She started more than a year ago designing ads, but then switched to doing the layout for a few papers and then taking care of the layout for seven of the papers across the Okanagan.