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.

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.

Senior Multi-Media Journalist
Jennifer Smith

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, along with her husband and daughter. At The Morning Star since 2005, 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.

Senior Multi-Media Journalist
Roger Knox
250 550 7922

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.

Sports Editor/Multi-media Journalist
Kevin Mitchell

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.

Multimedia Journalist
Brendan Shykora
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

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.

Regional Assistant Editor
Steve Kidd
Steve is an award-winning photojournalist turned writer with a long history in the industry, freelancing for newspapers throughout B.C. He came to Black Press in 2007 when the chain acquired the Lake Country (Winfield) Calendar. He is now a regional editor in the Okanagan bureau, after having worked for a decade in Penticton covering a variety of beats from the arts to politics. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Thompson Rivers University and a diploma in new media communications from the College of the Rockies.

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.

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.

Multi Media Marketing Consultant
Stephanie Stecyk
250-550-7911 Ext 211

Multi Media Marketing Consultant
Michael Finn

Multi Media Sales Consultant
Jules Leroux

Multi Media Sales Consultant
Manuela Simicic

Social Media Manager & Multi-Media Reporter
Natalia Cuevas-Huaico
Natalia would describe herself as creative, driven and vivacious.
A Vancouver-born and recent graduate of the Broadcast and Online Journalism program at BCIT, she decided to jumpstart her social media and journalism career in beautiful Kelowna.
Her love for visual storytelling and social media stemmed from watching in-depth documentaries and growing up during the surge of social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Before joining the Black Press Media team, Natalia gained multi-media skills while interning at CityNews Vancouver, CTV Morning Live and Vive Social PR where she learned how to manage digital platforms with compelling content.
Apart from being a social media aficionado, Natalia also thrives in the video editing suite. Her main goal is to transport her audience to new places while teaching them new things. She believes evoking compassionate emotions through storytelling is the first step in creating change. If you asked her what her beat is, she would say community and pop-culture.
During her spare time, she enjoys travelling, all things tacos, immersing herself in all genres of music (except Country) and rewatching her favourite Netflix shows.

Multi Media Marketing Consultant
Sheryll Bissell

Advertising Assistant
Sabrina Leduc

Sabrina graduated from Thompson Rivers University with a Bachelor of Business Degree majoring in Marketing and New Venture Creation in 2017. She was born in Vernon and wanted to move back after completing her degree. She was able to do this when she joined the Vernon Morning Star team in April 2018. Sabrina enjoys photography, volunteering, camping and any summer outdoor activities.

Regional Circulation Manager
Tammy Stelmachowich
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.

Classified Manager
Carol Williment

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.