Rollie Rose has been awarded the Eric Dunning Award for Integrity from the BCYCNA.

Former Chronicle owner awarded

Longtime Chronicle owner, former mayor and member of the BC Press Council, Rollie Rose is again making headlines.However, this time it’s not in the way he used to during his long newspaper career.Rose has just been awarded the Eric Dunning Integrity Award from the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspaper Association for his years of service.When asked about the distinction, Rose wasn’t mincing words.“I’m surprised. I’ve been away from it for a while,” said Rose, who sold the Chronicle to Black Press in 1984.Rose said was also surprised because most of his news experience was forged through time in bigger daily papers and he was under the impression winners of this award must have worked a certain amount of time in community news.Rose is also honoured because he knew Dunning well.“I spoke to him about a month before he died,” Rose said of the 100-year-old.“It’s an honour to win his award.”Rose owned the Chronicle from 1974 to 1984 before selling the paper to David Black.Rose fell into the newspaper business as a carrier in New Westminster.During high school, Rose worked at the paper office in the evening taking circulation complaints.“Then the manager said ‘Why don’t you do some high school sports for the paper?’ ”Covering high school sports led Rose to the Columbian, Vancouver Sun, Province, Prince George, Port Alberni and, eventually, Ladysmith.Still no stranger to the industry, Rose serves as executive director of the BC Press Council which handles complaints charged against member papers.Rose spent a lot of time covering the Westminster Royals hockey team, eventually moving inside to a desk job.Working in the daily atmosphere, Rose said he didn’t get the opportunity to get out and meet many people.“I got disenchanted with that, so I went out into the community field and really enjoyed myself. “I knew then I was in the area I wanted to be.”Rose said the Chronicle was struggling when he took over and what followed was 10 years of rebuilding the town’s long-standing record.Rose put in the press and built up the readership.During his tenure, the Chronicle was a real family operation for Rose. His four kids all served their time at the office after school.At one time, the Chronicle employed 50 people including part-time collators.“It was a good little business.” After selling the Chronicle, Rose served as fill-in editor for a number of community newspapers including some in the Interior and up Island.Rose also served as town councillor for two years and mayor for five (from 1988 to 1993).After 37 years living in Ladysmith, Rose said this is his permanent home.Kevin Laird, now Black Press editorial director for Greater Victoria, got his start at Rose’s Chronicle.“He gave me the opportunity to enter journalism,” said Laird.When Laird heard the news Rose was getting the award, he was surprised it took this long.“He is one of the great guys of journalism.”Laird said the paper was struggling a little, but Rose’s professionalism and ideas helped add some meat to the town’s record.Laird also remembers the Chronicle at the time being a family-run organization, with Rose’s kids doing everything from photography to janitorial work.Laird started with the Chronicle covering high school sports, just like Rose, in the ’70s. When he started hanging around the office a lot, Rose decided to put him on the payroll.To this day, Laird still considers the Rose his mentor and keeps in touch as a fellow member of the BC Press Council.