Our Team

Chris Mackie
Chris started his career in media in 2002 in the Calgary Sun classified department. After moving to an account manager role in New Business Development and Special Features, Chris made the move to Metro News when it launched in Calgary in 2007. In 2012 Chris was able to make the move home to BC, as Sales Director for Metro News in Vancouver where he remained until December 2019. The Summer of 2020 will see Chris move his family to the Okanagan as he assumes the role of Publisher in Vernon.

Caitlin Clow
Caitlin graduated from the journalism program at Mount Royal University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Communication and English minor. The Alberta-raised reporter worked as the editor in Pincher Creek, Alta., before returning to Calgary to work as a copy editor for Postmedia's Calgary and Edmonton Sun. Caitlin has also worked as an editor for the Winnipeg Free Press and Globe and Mail through her position with the Canadian Press. She previously worked with Black Press in 2014 when she took her internship in beautiful Northern B.C. in Terrace and Smithers and she is thrilled to be back again with BP here in Vernon.

Jen Zielinski
Bureau Chief of B.C. Interior South Division
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.

Jennifer Smith
Senior Multi-Media Journalist
Born and raised in the Okanagan, Jennifer Smith is a Kwantlen University College Journalism graduate (and VSS ’01 grad). Having grown up in Vernon, this is where she calls home. At The Morning Star since 2004, Smith (nee Dyck) has covered everything from shootings to shot put. She is an active member in her daughter’s school activities at BX Elementary (which she also attended), enjoys yoga, hiking, camping, paddle boarding and other water sports and spending time with family and friends.

Roger Knox
Senior Multi-Media Journalist
Roger has been a journalist for more than 30 years, first in radio, then the last 21 years with Black Press. He worked in Quesnel, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and Salmon Arm before returning to his hometown of Vernon. A proud member of the Vernon Senior Secondary School Class of 1981, Roger is also a licensed wedding officiant in the Province of B.C., has appeared on stage with a local theatre company and is a former Mr. Quesnel (1984). Away from work, Roger is a devoted fan of the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Red Sox and B.C. Lions, and wishes he could sing and play a musical instrument other than the triangle.

Kevin Mitchell
Sports Editor/Multi-media Journalist
Kevin has been in the newspaper industry for 42 years, including 27 at The Morning Star. He previously worked at daily newspapers in Kelowna, Vernon and Nanaimo after getting his start at a weekly in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. He is a father of three who plays soccer, hockey and golf (badly). He loves the Edmonton Oilers, hot chicken wings and red licorice.

Brendan Shykora
Multimedia Journalist
250-550-7921 ext 221
Brendan started off with the Morning Star as a carrier when he was eight years old. Since then he's earned a Bachelor of Arts at UBC Okanagan with a major in English, and in 2019 he graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University. An avid sports fan, he wrote feature articles on star amateur athletes for the Ottawa Sportspage while studying in the capital. Brendan enjoys reading in his spare time, and he's always up for a round of golf in the spring, before his annual retirement from the cruel and unforgiving sport.

Barry Gerding
Regional Editor
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.

Stephanie Stecyk
Multi Media Marketing Consultant

Michael Finn
Multi Media Marketing Consultant
Michael was born and raised in Vernon, B.C., and has no intention of calling any other place home. His main focus is on the community and doing his best to help guide and promote local business through advertising and marketing strategies. The majority of his adult and teenage life was spent working at a local printing and marketing company, working his way through production and into sales where he found his calling. In 2021 he started working at his first newspaper and is very excited to start his career working for the Vernon Morning Star.

Jules Leroux
Multi Media Sales Consultant
Jules le Roux was born in Kimberley, South Africa, before immigrating to Canada in 1999. She spent the next 10 years living between the two countries before moving to Vernon, B.C., in 2009. In 2014, she packed her bags and travelled the world before pursing further education. After five years of university, she graduated in April 2019 with her Business Management Degree from UBCO. She is happy to have started her career with Black Press Media in October 2020.

Manuela Simicic
Multi Media Sales Consultant
Manuela was born and raised in Croatia. During the Summer of 2017 and 2018 Manuela lived in San Francisco Bay Area as a student intern. After finishing her college education in 2019, she decided to immigrate to Canada. After researching cities, lifestyles and communities, she chose Vernon as her new home in September 2020. She has now been apart of the Morning Star since March 2021. Manuela has loved working with local businesses, learning new cultures and challenging herself everyday. She’s looking forward to getting her Permanent Residency and becoming apart of the Vernon community.

Tammy Stelmachowich
Regional Circulation Manager
250-550-7901 Ext 207
Tammy started working for Black Press in 1999, although she took a year off to travel. She started her career in Salmon Arm then Sicamous, Vernon, Revelstoke, Winfield and back again to Vernon. In that time she worked in the classified dept, sales, was an office manager, ad designer, publisher assistant and even dabbled in photography and writing. She finally settled in the Vernon Circulation dept where she was the manager for 10+ years. She currently is the Regional Circulation Manager overseeing distribution flyering in Vernon, Lumby, Armstrong, Salmon Arm, Chase, Sicamous and Revelstoke. She is the mother of two grown sons and the grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters.

Sydney Watt
Lead Paginator
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.