The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

In Vancouver, ‘Voices of the Street’ Renewed My Faith in Storytelling

Listening to the words of these talented writers reminded me why journalism matters.

By Vanessa Hrvatin 18 May 2017 |

Vanessa Hrvatin is a freelance multimedia journalist and science writer living in Vancouver, with a special interest in public health reporting. Have a cool story that needs telling? Tweet her @VanessaHrvatin.

image atom
Megaphone's 7th annual literary edition, ‘Voices of the Street,’ is on sale now by Megaphone vendors on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria. Photo by Taylor Roades, cover design by Anthony Goertz.

When I completed my undergraduate degree in 2014, I felt like my life was full of possibilities and I couldn’t wait to put school behind me. As it turns out, this sense of excitement lasted only a fleeting moment, before I was thrust into the reality of trying to find a job.

For months I searched and came up empty-handed. I ended up spending a year working a few retail gigs before deciding to go back to school and pursue my Master of Journalism degree at the University of British Columbia.

I graduated from the Master’s program in April, where I was promptly met with the crushing realization that I was back in the same place as 2014 — educated and unemployed.

For the past month, the anxiety and stress of finding a meaningful job during a time when journalism is rapidly changing has often been overwhelming. I’ve spent many days trawling the internet for job postings, only to admit defeat after a few hours and spiral into a state of self-doubt. There have also been many restless evenings, where I wake up wondering if I made the right career choice and contemplate what the next steps in my job search should be.

Last night I took a break from it all and attended Megaphone’s Voices of the Street event. For those who haven’t heard of Megaphone, it’s a magazine sold on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria by low-income and homeless people, and features stories from vendors and members of the Downtown Eastside community. Before last night I’d only read one issue (last year a vendor passionately told me about the magazine when I passed by him on the street, and I figured I could spend the two bucks to support him).

The event saw eight contributors share their pieces, which were published in the magazine’s seventh annual literary edition. Here were people, many of whom live in Canada’s poorest postal code, reading their stories about addiction, love, and personal growth. Tears were shed and nerves overcome as the readers shared some of their most intimate feelings and experiences. Moments were taken to remember the many contributors, vendors, and friends who lost their lives during the worst year of drug overdoses this province has ever seen.

As I listened to these stories, I thought about how one small publication has changed the lives of many British Columbians by giving them a platform to express themselves. These contributors may not have gone to journalism school and may not have many subscriptions to “well-respected” publications, yet they are doing journalism in its rawest and truest form.

In a time where some of the biggest newsrooms in the country are reporting click-bait stories and presenting ridiculous notions like appropriation prizes, here were real people doing real journalism. Right now my path feels uncertain, but this group of people gave me hope, and reminded me of why I became a journalist — to tell stories that matter, and to give a voice to those that are often left unheard.

Below, a poem from Megaphone's 7th annual literary edition, Voices of the Street. Courtesy of Megaphone Magazine.

Dead to the World
By Yishi Going

I’m more than just a digit that you fit into your budget
I’m more than just a number that’s projected on a sheet
I’m more than just a fraction for the figures you come up with
I’m more than a statistic for the records that you keep
I’m a person just like you, but nobody seems to care
I was standing on the corner, and you barely saw me there
When I asked you, “Would you please have a dollar you could spare?”
You just tossed me down a quarter, and said, “Call someone who cares”
I was lost and in despair feeling hungry with no food
When you threw me a few peanuts, like to a monkey at the zoo
I had finally hit rock bottom, and it made me want to use
But that’s someone else’s problem, so it didn’t bother you
I had nothing left to lose by the time I found the drugs
My dealer said a friend just died, that’s another down this month
The death toll just keeps rising, but it isn’t adding up
Why can’t we count on them, when they keep on counting us?
I think I’ve had enough, I’m tired of being sick
This life has left me broken, that’s why I need my fix
But these so-called “human beings” just act like I don’t exist
I am every single person of this plight called homelessness
When I finally called it quits, you just sat and watched me die
Overdosed outside your condo, as you laughed and walked on by
And it makes me wonder why, you would leave me there to suffer?
But the sad thing is to you... I was just another number.  [Tyee]

Read more: Media

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Coverage Would You Like to See More of This Year?

Take this week's poll