Independent investigative reporter Sean Holman is suspending publication of the British Columbia politics website Public Eye.
"On a long term basis it's not financially sustainable," Holman said. "I think it says that there are a lot of barriers to breaking into the industry as an independent journalist."
He released the following statement:
To my loyal readers
Since 2003, I've been honoured to be your eyes and ears in British Columbia's capital city, providing daily investigative coverage of provincial politics. That coverage now amounts to an archive of more than 6,000 stories - many of which have had a substantial impact on public policy and governance. But all good things must come to an end. So today I'm announcing the suspension of the site's daily reporting.
Public Eye has been supported for the past two years by a small group of readers who have made monthly $10 contributions to keep me filing freedom of information requests, pouring over government reports and holding politicians of all stripes to account. That support has been supplemented by the site's advertisers, whom I'm appreciative of. I'm also grateful to Business in Vancouver, CFAX 1070, The Globe and Mail, News 1130, Shaw TV, the Squamish Chief, The Tyee and the Whistler Question for welcoming my reporting and commentary. But all of this is not enough to sustain an investigative news service that last year was read by more than 200,000 unique visitors.
I have not made this difficult decision lightly. I founded Public Eye because I deeply believe journalism - the reporting of "something that somebody somewhere wants to suppress" - is an essential part of civic society. It informs and engages the public and, in doing so, safeguards democracy. So it troubles me that fewer and fewer resources seem to be devoted to this investigative function.
Indeed, I know there are stories I've covered that would have gone uncovered without Public Eye. I know some of the stories I'm presently researching will likely now go unwritten. And I know there are those who may celebrate Public Eye's absence, having one less media filter to interfere with their narrative.
Unfortunately, Public Eye is unsustainable so long as it's principally me, a computer, a camera and a telephone line. So what's next? Well, Public Eye and its syndicated column may return in another form should a sustainable business model be found. In the meantime, I'll continue hosting Public Eye Radio on CFAX 1070, providing a weekly political commentary on News 1130, as well as teaching aspiring journalists at the University of Victoria. I'll also be filming a documentary and exploring, as is oft said, other opportunities.
So thank you for being part of Public Eye's success - whether it was as a reader, a donor, a source, a colleague or a mentor. These eight years couldn't have happened without you. These stories couldn't have happened if you hadn't cared.
Sean Michael Holman
Holman, a Tyee contributor, said he will continue hosting a show on Victoria's CFAX radio, teaching journalism students at the University of Victoria and working on a documentary about provincial politics, but will no longer cover day-to-day politics for the website.
Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.