Our Team

Andrea Horton
250-832-2131 ext. 92
Andrea began her career in the newspaper business in 2007 as a reporter with The Free Press in Fernie, B.C. After a brief hiatus she returned to The Free Press in 2012, after it had been purchased by Black Press Media, to work as a sales consultant. She was promoted to publisher in 2013. In 2017, Andrea relocated with her family to Salmon Arm where, in 2019, she returned to work with Black Press as publisher of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market News and Eagle Valley News. Andrea loves to be involved in community events and has recently become a Rotarian. She loves walking her puppies by the lake and sharing the longer Shuswap summers with her husband and two sons.

Lachlan Labere
Lachlan Labere is editor of the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market News and Eagle Valley News. He began his career with Black Press in 2004 as a reporter for the 100 Mile House Free Press. The following year, he was given an opportunity to move to the sunny Shuswap to join the team at the Observer. Best move ever. Lachlan loves photographing community events and has won numerous newspaper photography awards. When not in the office, he enjoys spending time with family. He endeavours to make use of the local cross-country ski area in the winter, and hike the region's amazing trails in the summer. Lachlan graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Thompson Rivers University. He and his family live, work and play in Salmon Arm.

Martha Wickett
Senior Multi-Media Journalist
Martha Wickett came to Salmon Arm to work at the Observer in May of 2004. She moved in an effort to escape the traffic and concrete of the Lower Mainland where she had worked in community newspapers for more than a decade.

Zachary Roman
Multimedia Journalist
Zachary (Zach) Roman moved from Ontario to B.C. in May 2021 to begin work at the Sicamous Eagle Valley News and Salmon Arm Observer. His favourite stories to write are those that inform the communities he works in about something important they may not have known about otherwise. When he's not at work, he enjoys downhill skateboarding, downhill mountain biking and snowboarding ' basically anything that involves gravity will likely result in a good time for Zach.

Penny Brown
Multi Media Marketing Consultant
For Penny Brown, her career in advertising sales began with a warm welcome to the community. When Penny moved to Salmon Arm in 1982, it was the kindness of a representative from Welcome Wagon that inspired her to consider trying the job herself. 'What a great job welcoming newcomers to the community would be,' she thought at the time. Penny saw the position advertised in the local paper and applied, not realizing she would have to actually 'sell' businesses to participate in the program. That job led her to sales with the local radio station and then on to the Shopper's Guide, which later became the Lakeshore News. Penny eventually landed at the Salmon Arm Observer in 1996, a perfect fit. She's discovered over the years that she loves sales. 'My customers are like my family. I care about their business and what advertising will work for them, either print or an online package ' there are so many options.' Outside of work, Penny keeps busy with a variety of interests. She is involved with the Salmon Arm Daybreak Rotary Club, enjoys travelling and works at a few hobbies including cross-stitch, woodworking and crafts. Penny, Gene and Duke the dog live on 17 acres northwest of Salmon Arm. 'Just going home at the end of the day is my getaway,' she says with a smile.

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.

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.

Steve Kidd
Regional Assistant Editor
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.

Twila Amato
Okanagan Video Journalist
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.

Natalia Cuevas-Huaico
Social Media Manager & Multi-Media Reporter
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.

Brian Gold
Regional Circulation Manager

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.

Laura Lavigne
Admin Co-ordinator & Circulation Manager
250 832-2131 ext 92
Laura and her family moved to Salmon Arm in 1997 from Ontario. Settling in Silver Creek she found a great community to call home. Laura started at the Salmon Arm Observer in 2004 as Circulation Manager, and moved into advertising sales two years later. Due to the pandemic she moved from sales into the administration side of the Observer, where she manages the front desk, is the Amazon depot coordinator, as well as Circulation Manager for the Salmon Arm Observer, Shuswap Market News, Eagle Valley News, Golden Star and Revelstoke Review. Mother of 3 and Nana to 15, she enjoys baking and spending time with her family.