Peace Arch News has a new leader this week, following Friday’s retirement of publisher Rita Walters.
Mary Kemmis has been publisher of the Black Press sister-paper, the Richmond Review, for the past eight years.
An area resident, Kemmis is no stranger to PAN’s readership area on and surrounding the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
“I love this area – I love the community feel of it,” she said, adding that she and her family have close friends here and shop in the area.
Deeply involved in the social fabric of Richmond – she is current president of Volunteer Richmond Information Services, a director of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and has also served on the board of Gateway Theatre and the Richmond Christmas Fund – Kemmis looks forward to a similar level of involvement in initiatives in South Surrey and White Rock, in the strong tradition of her predecessors and the continuing commitment of Black Press to the communities it serves.
“I know I have some big shoes to fill,” she said, noting contributions made by Walters, PAN’s former ad manager who succeeded the late Linda Klitch as publisher in 2011.
“Rita made her mark in this community in the last 23 years and I’m cognizant of her legacy. I’m also well aware of what Linda brought to the newspaper and how she moved it forward – I’m honoured to be in the company of such accomplished women.”
Kemmis and her husband, Mel – a radio consultant – have two children.
Their daughter, Jaime, 23, is a sales consultant at the Maple Ridge News, while their son, Jackson, 17, is currently in Grade 12.
Born in Smithers, Kemmis grew up on her family’s farm and still returns regularly to visit family members, who continue to be involved in farming there.
For Black Press, she has also served as publisher of the South Delta Leader and the Bowen Island Undercurrent, and has also worked in media as far afield as Cranbrook, Banff, Alta. and Mississauga, Ont.
While she has an extensive background in newspaper and radio sales and management – she was only 23 when she first became a publisher at the now-defunct Ladner Tsawwassen Review – she also notes that she originally came to the newspaper business as a reporter, as a graduate of Langara’s journalism program.
“It gave me a real appreciation of our reader base, and how important our content is to our success,” she said.
“All our content is important to readers. Our aim is to reflect the community and our readership in all our stories and pictures – and our ads are also our news.”