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Tyee Celebrates Anniversary 10 (and a Bit)

The highlights are too many to count, and our birthday was really in November so that's one more deadline missed. But here's a look back.

By Tyee Staff 3 Apr 2014 | TheTyee.ca

OCTOBER 18, 2003: Plans for a new B.C. focused news publication announced by David Beers on a Media Democracy Day panel in Vancouver.

NOVEMBER 23, 2003: The Tyee launches. First stories include a two-parter detailing erosion of child labour standards in B.C., written by Alisa Smith. Also, kick off to a series of pieces by Charles Dobson on organizing citizens for positive "troublemaking." Among the now-familiar bylines that appear on The Tyee in its first six weeks of existence: Tom Barrett, Steve Burgess, Charles Campbell, Murray Dobbin, Monte Paulsen and Shannon Rupp.

The Tyee's first office of two is inhabited by editor Beers and business director Michelle Hoar.

Financially seeded by advertising executive Paul Hovan and labour-affiliated investment funds, The Tyee will go on to become an independent publication that pays its writers and staff, thanks to added investment and multiple revenue streams, including monthly financial pledges from reader "Builders" who receive perks.

NOVEMBER 2003: At the time of The Tyee's launch:

There is no formal opposition in the B.C. legislature. Gordon Campbell's reigning BC Liberals having denied the two NDP MLAs party status.

Conrad Black has just resigned as chief executive of Hollinger. Though his business dealings were being probed by his directors, he had yet to be tried and imprisoned.

Canwest (now bankrupt) is Canada's largest media company and a financial supporter of the BC Liberals, controlling B.C.'s three major newspapers, top watched news station, top Internet portal and many weeklies.

Jean Chretien is a month away from losing leadership of the ruling Liberal Party of Canada to Paul Martin.

The Tyee's first, self-appointed intern is Jeremy Keehn, now an editor at Harper's Magazine.

Google News is less than a year old.

DECEMBER 28, 2003: Railgate! RCMP execute search warrants at nine premises including the Parliament Buildings in Victoria, a scandal involving the BC Liberals' sale of BC Rail. Covering the story is The Tyee's new lead political reporter, Barb McLintock, former Legislative Bureau Chief for the Province newspaper (and now with the BC Coroners Office).

JANUARY 30, 2004: Tyee's McLintock uncovers preliminary plans by province to soften B.C.'s drunk driving law -- barely a year past the date when Gordon Campbell was busted and jailed for drunk driving in Hawaii. Minister Rich Coleman gives hasty press conference; idea is shelved.

MAY 5, 2004: Dorothy Woodend writes her first of many brilliant and beloved film columns for The Tyee.

JUNE 29, 2004: Will McMartin writes his first of many trenchant political analysis column for The Tyee.

MAY 24, 2004: Vanessa Richmond writes about the Stitch 'n' Bitch knitting revival, kicking off her culture and politics beat for The Tyee she'll eventually name Schlock and Awe.

JUNE 28, 2004: Paul Martin's Liberals eke out an election victory over Stephen Harper's Conservatives who led in the polls for some of the election.

JULY, 2004: Facebook is founded.

SEPTEMBER 2004: Chris Tenove's series of reports from towns hard-hit by government cutbacks in B.C.'s "Heartland" garners first of many Webster Award nominations for Tyee.

DECEMBER 1, 2004: Tyee columnist Murray Dobbin elicits Tyee's first angry phone call from a high-ranking politician when Stockwell Day calls the office and takes umbrage with Dobbin's piece titled "The Man Who Walks with Dinosaurs."

JANUARY 31, 2005: Tyee contributing editor Charles Campbell and Tyee editor David Beers testify before Senate Committee investigating the problem of media ownership concentration in Canada.

FEBRUARY 2005: YouTube launches.

FEBRUARY 17, 2005: Tyee's first Vancouver-based staff reporter Scott Deveau creates a stir with his expose of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson's strange views on child labour. (Deveau now writes for the Financial Post.)

MARCH 28, 2005: Rafe Mair's first column for The Tyee, headlined "The Soft Muzzle," flays timidity and censoring by corporate media.

MARCH 2005: Tyee and New Star Books publish Liberalized: The Tyee Report on British Columbia Under Gordon Campbell's Liberals. Canwest papers, during the run-up to May's provincial election, neglect to review the 200-page book, thick with reporting by over a dozen journalists.

MARCH 2005: Tyee's rather wonky original website is replaced by web designer Dawn Buie's much cleaner and navigable version, created with open source content management software called Bricolage. In a fast changing web era, Buie's sturdy design lasts four years.

APRIL 2005: Leading into the provincial election, The Tyee launches a blog-like section called Election Central that immediately becomes must-reading for media and politicos. It's the forerunner of The Hook. Included: Will McMartin's closely read riding by riding outcome predictions called Battleground B.C. (He has the NDP losing by a bit more than they do.)

APRIL 25, 2005: Tyee reporter Dee Hon, working with election editor Monte Paulsen, break the biggest story of the 2005 B.C. provincial election. "Donategate" begins with Hon's revelation that BC Liberals illegally solicited campaign funding from municipalities, including Kitimat, where officials say they were "duped" into giving. As other media follow up, further campaign donations illegalities are revealed.

MAY 9, 2005: Huffington Post founded.

MAY 17, 2005: BC Liberals are returned to power in a tight election.

JUNE 28, 2005: Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon launch their 100 Mile Diet series on The Tyee. The 100 Mile Diet goes global in raising local food awareness, including a best-selling book, television program, foundation, and attention by pretty much every major media outlet in North America.

OCTOBER 2005: Tyee contributing editor Charles Campbell produces prescient series detailing outsourcing of B.C.'s economy.

DECEMBER 6, 2005: Tyee pioneers online crowdfunding by asking readers to donate to a Tyee Reporting Fellowships Fund, with bursaries of $5,000 awarded by a blue ribbon independent advisory panel to journalists proposing reporting projects that educate the public on important B.C. issues. The Tyee community responds with $50,000. Several more rounds of Tyee Fellowship fundraising make possible, over the years, more than 20 independent journalism projects published on The Tyee.

MARCH 2006: Twitter starts up.

MARCH 6, 2006: A Tyee contributor since 2004, Tom Sandborn takes on role as Tyee labour beat reporter, with a focus as well on public health issues. He kicks off with a series on Gordon Campbell's barnstorming visit to Europe in search of health care privatization schemes.

APRIL 19, 2006: Ace environment and business reporter Chris Pollon publishes his first of many Tyee and Tyee Solutions Society features, this one about salmon and gravel mining.

AUGUST 2006: Chris Wood's "Rough Weather Ahead," the first Tyee Reporting Fellowship reader-funded series published by Tyee, breaks news of a buried government report showing Fraser River dikes won't hold back historic, much less global warming, levels of flooding. Story leads news on local media and proves prescient as following spring brings flooding emergency to Fraser basin. Federal government ponies up millions to shore up dikes.

OCTOBER 18, 2006: Acclaimed B.C. writer Terry Glavin begins his Dissent column on The Tyee under the headline: "Is the Left too smug? New column aims to stoke debate." Glavin surely does that over the next several years.

MAY 2007: Tyee investigative editor Monte Paulsen's relentless focus on state of homelessness in Vancouver and B.C., and potential solutions, includes his groundbreaking series looking towards the coming Olympics: "More Homeless than Athletes in 2010."

JUNE 26, 2007: University of Ottawa professor and digital law and policy expert Michael Geist's weekly column starts on Tyee.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2007: Colleen Kimmett arrives at Tyee as an intern with local reporting experience in Ontario. Several hundred stories later, she's made a national name for her coverage of sustainability issues, co-winning Canada's top prize for online reporting for this project.

NOVEMBER 22, 2007: Andrew MacLeod, already a frequent contributor, comes aboard as The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief based in Victoria; copious scoops ensue.

FEBRUARY 5, 2008: Multi-billion dollar media giant Canwest sues The Tyee and its columnist Rafe Mair for a column that mistakenly stated political cartoonists were being fired at the Province newspaper. At the first complaint, Tyee swiftly publishes a correction and apology, but Canwest pursues suit for nearly a year before settling out of court for legal costs.

JUNE 2008: Inspired by business director Michelle Hoar's ranting about Gordon Campbell's $100 cheque for each British Columbian upon launch of the "revenue neutral" carbon tax, The Tyee team gets creative and launches Green Your Campbell Cash, a microsite that challenges citizens to actually do something green with their $100. Numerous ENGOs partner to spread the challenge, including David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, and Voters Taking Action on Climate Change. Hundreds of readers write in with their $100 commitments.

SEPTEMBER 7, 2008: Geoff Dembicki arrives at The Tyee to serve a practicum for his journalism degree. He is still here, having become one of Canada's leading journalists covering 2010 Olympics issues, and then energy and climate change issues.

OCTOBER 14, 2008: Stephen Harper's Tories are elected to minority government. Tyee's McMartin crunches the votes and concludes: "Canadians whose politics are to the left of centre won't like to hear this: Stephen Harper and his Conservative-minority government probably are going to be in power a long, long time. Or, at least, as long as Harper himself wants."

OCTOBER 23, 2008: Tyee cosponsors with 24 Hours newspaper a mayoral debate on homelessness that draws over 1,000 people.

NOVEMBER 3, 2008: The world ensnared in financial crisis, The Tyee's coverage includes this Tom Sandborn piece based on a novel premise: "Here at The Tyee, we noticed that most of the commentary on our Titanic dilemma seems to be coming from the passengers in first class and the government navigators who helped create the crisis. We were curious about how it looks to the crew and the passengers in third class, so we made some calls to union leaders, anti-poverty activists, and various economists and historians who make it their business to study big business without being part of the action."

2009: Tyee wins three Canadian Online Publishing Awards, for Best Website Design, Best News, and Best Community Feature.

APRIL 2009: Tyee asks readers to help beef up election coverage by contributing money to the site and telling editors which areas they want covered more in-depth. The concept gets some criticism from traditional media but not Tyee readers, who pitch in $18,000. The dozens of stories their investments make possible are tallied by Tyee's editor here. The reporting gets a Webster Award nomination.

MARCH 2009: After frequently contributing news and opinion -- including cutting edge coverage of Railgate -- Bill Tieleman starts weekly column on Tyee, a version of which also appears in 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper.

MAY 12, 2009: Carole James' second run at winning government for her NDP falls short, returning Gordon Campbell's BC Liberals to power. The election's high stakes issues include a referendum to shift B.C. to a complex form of proportional representation called STV -- which fails.

JUNE 2009: Tyee unveils award-winning redesign, the version (with slight modifications) you see today. Key to the effort: Tyee web manager Geoff D'Auria and project coordinator Trish Mau. Among its features is Your BC: The Tyee's Flickr pool of reader photos, which become a tremendous crowdsourced resource for illustrating Tyee articles and creating photo essays on B.C. themes.

JUNE 2009: Tyee receives first of two Canadian Excellence in Journalism Awards for overall content.

AUGUST 2009: Tyee receives first of two North America-wide Edward R. Murrow Awards for overall content.

AUGUST 2009: Tyee named one of province's most innovative companies by BC Business magazine.

OCTOBER 1, 2009: Tyee contributing editor Monte Paulsen gives presentation outlining solutions for homelessness to packed hall at the Vancouver Museum.

NOVEMBER 2009: The Tyee Solutions Society, a non-profit that collaborates with foundations and other organizations to produce solutions-focused journalism in the public interest and share it with other publications, is founded by Michelle Hoar and David Beers. Funding collaborators for ensuing projects include Tides Canada, VanCity Community Foundation, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, the McConnell Foundation and many others.

FEBRUARY 2010: Vancouver hosts Winter Olympics, the social and political aspects of which have been covered in depth for two years by The Tyee. During Olympics, Tyee keeps up its hard-nosed reporting and mixes wry commentary and reader-supplied photos for a widely read daily feature called The People's Podium.

APRIL 2010: Tablet era begins as the first iPad is introduced.

APRIL 2010: Monte Paulsen's investigations into green, affordable housing lead him to an idea untried in B.C.'s Lower Mainland: Why not build homes from used shipping containers? After his series, and a Tyee Solutions Society-sponsored design charrette, Vancouver changes its regulations to allow it. (Four years later, social housing built from shipping containers does arise the Downtown Eastside, planners crediting Paulsen's series.)

MAY 11, 2010: Robyn Smith arrives at Tyee as a student completing her graduate journalism school practicum. Never leaves, and today is Tyee's managing editor.

MAY 14, 2010: The brilliant and prolific Tyee contributing editor Crawford Kilian proves his versatility by publishing what will be among The Tyee’s most read stories ever: The Ten Most Harmful Novels for Aspiring Writers. Story goes viral globally, landing Crawford on U.S. National Public Radio.

JULY 2010: Andrew Nikiforuk is Tyee's first writer in residence. His second piece sets the standard, going viral by blowing the lid off a report suppressed by a Parliamentary committee on oil sands pollution. Invited to stay aboard permanently, Nikiforuk's investigations related to Canada's rise as a petro-state make him one of The Tyee's most widely read contributors.

SEPTEMBER 2010: Katie Hyslop begins her vital beat at The Tyee and Tyee Solutions Society, covering education and youth well-being, with a particular focus on Aboriginal youth issues.

FEBRUARY 2011: The Tyee is featured in an exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery called "WE Vancouver: 12 Manifestos for the City."

MARCH 30, 2011: Her wicked wit having done much hilarious damage since 2003, veteran Tyee columnist Shannon Rupp extols her new weapon: Twitter.

APRIL 2011: Tyee launches mobile app that is free and not downloaded through iTunes. Designed by Phillip Smith and Geoff D'Auria, the app uses HTML5. A simpler mobile site allows Tyee to be easily accessed on all smart phones without app.

MAY 2, 2011: Harper's Conservatives, having been endorsed by the Globe and the Post, wins a majority government, as Jack Layton's NDP surges to opposition status. Here's how The Tyee, after again seeking reader contributions, covers the election.

JUNE 16, 2011: In Vancouver's downtown, Tyee regular contributor Mark Leiren-Young goes to watch the Canucks win a Stanley Cup and a hockey riot breaks out. As it unfolds he files his insightful take on frenzy, headlined "A Social Media Riot Made for TV."

JULY 11, 2011: Twenty-something CTV Quebec City bureau chief Kai Nagata's public note of resignation, critiquing the limitations of television news to facilitate change, goes super viral, reprinted on The Tyee among other places. Nagata joins Tyee as writer in residence and then contributing editor before moving on to do advocacy work.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2011: Katrina Orlowski pens a Tyee piece wondering why Big Media refuses to take seriously an emerging movement called Occupy Wall Street. Tyee goes on to cover Occupy from many angles, including the first interview with Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn who was credited with helping spark the movement.

NOVEMBER 2011: Digital independent muckraking pioneer Sean Holman shutters his Public Eye blog, continues publishing occasionally on The Tyee.

MARCH 5, 2012: Tyee's Mitchell Anderson reports on "The Spill from Hell," how Alberta bitumen spilling into Michigan's Kalamazoo River caused a toxic evacuation emergency, drawing parallels to bitumen pipelines at Vancouver's harbour.

APRIL 2012: Under the supervision of Julie Jenkins, Tyee launches its Master Classes, drawing on expertise in the community to help people gain skills in publishing, political organizing, digital creativity, and more. With the help of generous sponsors, they become a twice a year tradition (including this spring's lineup!)

APRIL 16, 2012: Tyee launches its Builders program, inviting readers to pledge a monthly amount to expand Tyee reporting. More than 500 people sign on including many of Canada's leading cultural figures who lend personal endorsements and signed books to the effort.

MAY 2012: Former Tyee senior editor Richard Warnica returns five years later to receive a Tyee Reporting Fellowship, produces award-winning series on an avoidable death at a B.C. jail holding arrestees awaiting trial.

JUNE 2012: In a series of reports, Tyee's Nikiforuk details U.S. investigators' damning account of how cultural and procedural failures at Enbridge enabled the Kalamazoo spill to become North America's worst inland oil disaster.

JULY 2012: Mitchell Anderson, as part of a larger project in collaboration with Tides Canada reporting on Canada's transition to cleaner energy, travels to Norway and a files widely read stories on how that nation has gained far more wealth from its oil reserves than has Alberta. Postmedia's veteran Ottawa reporter Peter O'Neil tweets that the cost of the trip, about $3000, is beyond the limits of what is possible in his organization.

AUGUST 2012: Tyee publishes "The Enbridge Michigan Pipeline Disaster Files." Energy security analyst Rick Munroe pored over 14,000 pages of documents unearthed by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board's probe into the massive Michigan pipeline rupture.

OCTOBER 18, 2012: Jeremy J. Nuttall breaks story on Tyee that Chinese miners in Canada's temporary foreign worker program are being charged $12,500 illegally to gain entrance to Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Progam. Flaws and inequities in the program become national news, and Nuttall goes on to write over 40 stories about it.

DECEMBER 2012: First Nations movement Idle No More springs to life. Among the varied Tyee coverage is Heiltsuk councillor Jess Housty's advice to non-Aboriginals: "Eight Ways to Take Part in Idle No More."

JANUARY 2013: Formidable reporting duo Jackie Wong and David P. Ball embark on a year-long project looking at the tough search for affordable housing in B.C.'s Lower Mainland. The year culminated in a wide-ranging exploration of the trials and tribulations of Generation Rent, a series that provided space for renters, from the most vulnerable to the middle class, to tell their own stories.

JANUARY 24, 2013: Tyee launches its "Crash Course in Climate Change" crafted by Eric Nadal and edited by Chris Wood. The geekfest gets big traffic, and graduates can download a certificate declaring them to be a Citizen Climate Expert.

FEBRUARY 2013: Tyee's provincial election coverage launches early, including an interactive map, designed by Geoff D'Auria, Phillip Smith and Robyn Smith, providing information about each riding. Traffic spikes. All the polls and pundits project the NDP to win, except Tyee's Rafe Mair who more than once warns Adrian Dix to "row like hell" and go on the attack or risk losing.

MARCH 2013: David P. Ball's series on the US - Canada "Cross-border Coal War" pitting exporters against activists goes on to garner a Webster Award.

MAY 15, 2013: NDP goes down to stunning defeat.

OCTOBER 18, 2013: Longtime Tyee writer Steve Burgess enters a new line of work: Spin doctor adviser to political set. His Please Advise! columns kicks off helping Vlady Putin "stay real."

NOVEMBER 2013: Tyee floats a crazy dream: raise from reader "Builders" $100,000 to expand national coverage. Readers pledge $104,000 in 21 days and Tyee adds more than 1,000 new Builders to its ranks. And you can still join them now...

NOVEMBER 2013: Tyee quietly celebrates its true tenth anniversary, vowing to whoop it up in the spring.

DECEMBER 2013: Series of Nikiforuk reports on Harper government shutting down marine research libraries goes viral, prompts demands for answers from New Democrat opposition.

FEBRUARY 24, 2014: Tyee and SFU History Department jointly award first $1,000 Michael Fellman Memorial Prize for writing that connects history to current politics -- as did Fellman very many times in The Tyee. Recipient Christopher Phelps examines "How Diversity Hides Racism."

APRIL 3, 2014: Tyee finally gets around to celebrating its tenth birthday, a decade's page views totaling over 60 million. Thanks to all who have contributed to this success, our readers, commenters, writers, artists, editorial and business team, funders, and every advocate for independent media.  [Tyee]

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