No word yet on whether 24 Hours will do t-shirts or posters of today's cover
The popularity of 24 Hours Vancouver has surprised many media observers in recent years. It is now the third largest publication in Metro Vancouver after the Sun & Province newspapers. There is speculation that it may rise to the number two spot someday, with plans to expand into mobile editions and other media. Certainly you can't ride public transit today without seeing several people reading the paper, and almost no one reading the major dailies.
Today's cover story by crack reporter Bob Mackin about the number of people making six-figure salaries features a classic "collector's edition" cover. It's City Manager Penny Ballem atop a stack of pennies. We know that Penny makes a helluva lot of pennies. Recall her abbreviated work with the controversial E-Health Ontario, where she made $32,000 for just under 2 weeks work. Ballem's $3000/day rate made headlines in the Globe and Mail from coast to coast to coast.
Clearly Ms. Ballem thinks that as a medical doctor-cum-civil servant that she deserves to be paid very, very well. Funnily enough, when we asked whether Ballem was getting a scheduled 4% pay increase approved by Gregor Robertson, a Mayor's office staffer lied to the media saying she wasn't getting the raise. But as Jim Green argues, we're lucky to have Ballem who "took a pay cut" to work for the City of Vancouver.
The pay levels of top civil servants like Penny Ballem is a good story, and it's because of the prominent play 24 Hours gives to good reporting like this that the audience for their publication keeps growing.