It may take loyal Valley Echo and Columbia Valley Pioneer readers some time to wrap their heads around the new operating agreement reached between the Black Press and Misko Publishing groups. Rest assured, staff at both publications are still shaking their heads and looking at each other with questioning eyes.

Two competing newspapers are what? Sharing the same publisher? It’s a daring step, and a fairly uncommon one, yet given the changes the news publishing industry has undergone in recent years due to the presence of the Internet, mobile devices and the new global economic climate, to name just a few external factors, more and more of these joint partnerships are cropping up south of the border, and now in Canada as well.

It’s also incredibly commendable that both publishers, in acknowledging that their current situation is not profitable enough for either party, are willing to look beyond their competitive streaks and work together to protect the jobs and livelihoods of their valued employees, as well as the two strong literary traditions that have worked their way deep into the heart of Columbia Valley residents.

And not only protect them, but capitalize on them. Now that Black Press and Misko Publishing have arrived at the conclusion that our little slice of paradise here in the valley has potential enough to support two unique publications, and are putting in place a plan to make that happen, it’s going to be up to the local communities to embrace this process, help identify the personalities of the papers we all want so much to protect, and determine the most successful outcome for everyone involved.

Not all the kinks have been worked out, but staff at both papers are up to the challenge and anticipating the change.

Perhaps this is something we should be doing more of. This consensus-based process sends a very positive message out to the communities it serves, that by finding the shared goals, values and common ground, through dialogue and collaboration we can make decisions from which everyone stands to benefit, and no one loses.