Our Team


Andrea DeMeer
Publisher/Editor
250-295-3535
Andrea DeMeer is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight. A relatively recent transplant to the valley from southwestern Ontario, she is formerly a group, daily and weekly newspaper publisher with Sun Media, where she was also a regular contributor to the opinion pages of 200 weekly and daily newspapers across the country. She also served for several years as an executive director for the Ontario Community Newspaper Association, happily working to support the industry in that province through a time of transition. With more than 30 years in the business, she has experience in reporting, editing, advertising sales and management as well as circulation and distribution. She is the winner of numerous national and provincial awards for news and feature writing, excellence in advertising, and particularly editorial and column writing. Most recently she was the 2016 silver winner for column writing in the British Columbia and Yukon Newspaper Awards, and in 2015, she was the bronze winner for column writing in the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards. Andrea and Robert have been married for 30 years, and have four children. A rich family life is often fodder for her local column, Old Dogs, New Tricks. After moving to B.C., she declares the place to be 'just like home, except with waaaaaay nicer scenery.'

 Jen Zielinski
Bureau Chief of B.C. Interior South Division
250-979-7306
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
778-738-1055
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
778-738-0627
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
778-738-3057
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.

 Sydney Watt
Lead Paginator
778-738-2902
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.

Brian Gold
Regional Circulation Manager
778-212-0524
brian.gold@blackpress.ca