, 2022-10-13 18:20:00,
Remember when Mundy Park almost became a golf course? Two former journalists recall the joys and sorrows of writing for a community newspaper in ‘Cereal Killer and Other Tales from the Newsroom.’
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
That old adage may just be the theme of an enjoyable, quick read by two long-time Coquitlam journalists.
In their self-published book of fiction, titled Cereal Killer and Other Tales from the Newsroom, Pat Cooper and Hazel Postma pen a love letter to community newspapers and the characters who sell advertising, as well as to the people who write, edit, print and photograph stories about everyday life in a small- to mid-sized suburban town.
Their Winterton Gazette covers the May Queen, local elections and scandals of the day, including a plan to turn a beautiful park into a golf course.
Advertising features are written as “news” in the business section to keep the publisher happy, and recipes and horoscopes are all part of the mix.
Much of the tale is taken up by the various shenanigans of the reporters, photographer, publisher and advertising manager, which sparks curiosity as to which characters are based on real people.
The authors, Cooper, a Coquitlam Now editor for 25 years, and Postma, who was a reporter at the Coquitlam Now for 10 years, say the characters are an amalgam of real people.
Most of the crazy stories, including the golf course in a park scandal, are based on real life but are somewhat embellished.
In the golf course debacle, Royal Edward Park stands in for Mundy Park, where a golf course was proposed for Coquitlam’s largest and most beautiful forested city park. (You can still play disc golf there, though).
“It’s a sort of homage to community newspapers and the really important role they play in community life,” said Postma.
The book began as a “project” out of boredom during the pandemic, but several deadlines and months of writing, collaborating and editing later, Cereal Killer is now available online.
“One of the reasons we wrote the book the way we did, we were trying to say how vibrant a community can be with a community newspaper and now many don’t have them,” said Cooper.
Even the Coquitlam Now was shut down in 2016.
Cooper was the first editor of the Coquitlam Now, which grew from The Columbian, a former daily where she also worked that was closed in 1984.
Together, Cooper and Postma have many years of experience toiling in a community…
To read the original article, go to Click here