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Introducing a New Face at The Tyee: Barry Link

The long-time Vancouver Courier editor is joining our fishy faction. Get to know him.

By Robyn Smith 31 Aug 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Robyn Smith is editor of The Tyee.

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Hey, Barry!

After five years writing and editing at The Tyee, it’s time for me to take a brief interlude and tend to a different kind of hot mess (kidding!). I’ll be off on maternity leave next week.

Taking over from me as editor in chief, and joining chief revenue officer Jeanette Ageson and senior editor Paul Willcocks on the Tyee leadership team, is long-time B.C. journalist Barry Link. He officially starts on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

We don’t expect The Tyee, and its commitment to social justice and holding the powerful to account, to change under his watch. Barry’s past work demonstrates that, though if you want further evidence of his scrappy charm you need only glimpse the well-worn New Balance sneakers the guy wears to work. They don’t exactly scream media honcho.

Some fun facts about Barry: he started his career as a reporter in Alberta and then moved throughout the Lower Mainland at various weeklies. He’s covered city councils, school boards, arts and community issues. His first editing gig was as the last editor of the Vancouver Echo, and his longest gig was as editor of the Vancouver Courier for 10 years. He enjoyed a fascinating experiment with podcasting before coming to The Tyee.

Oh yeah, and he’s won some awards for writing and editing. Long ago, he was the author of Zombietown, USA. We don’t know what that is, but it sounds intriguing.

Before his official start, we thought we’d put Barry in the interview hot seat, and he didn’t shy away from the tough questions. Please feel free to send him a welcome in the comment thread below.

Welcome, Barry! Tell us about yourself.

I’m a standard made-in-B.C. person, born and educated here with most of my working life in this province. I’m old enough to remember Dave Barrett’s government and The Beachcombers but young enough to know how to set up my smartphone and get most of the jokes on The Daily Show. I live pretty quietly, mostly in the city but sometimes on an island. I write, read, teach, watch too much Netflix and keep my ancient cat alive. I’ve had no broken bones. I’ve become fascinated with ravens.

What drew you to The Tyee?

The opportunity to contribute to and help shape an original and beloved independent media voice during a critical year for B.C. The people here are lovely and smart. I also hear the parties are good.

What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?

The many stories we’ll tell and how readers will react.

You’ve been editing journalists for a long time. Why have you stuck at it and what’s your philosophy about what makes a good publication?

I needed work, and someone years ago thought I was good at this kind of thing. I don’t have a sophisticated philosophical critique beyond tell the truth about the world and tell it well in a way that will keep people reading and trusting you. Journalism is storytelling, except everything in it must be true. We bring light to dark times.

How are you feeling, in general, about the fate of journalism?

It depends on the day. I’ve personally witnessed the collapse of the industry with a lot of bright, hardworking people unable to stop it and suffering as a result. I tell my students at the journalism school where I teach that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a very long, dark tunnel. I also tell them they’re the ones who will come up with solutions and new models for journalism, and I believe that. I’m comforted that Canadians truly want real journalism and some are willing to pay for it. The Tyee is on the forefront of the new reader-supported model, and that’s pretty cool.

What’s the worst thing about the internet — and the best?

Worst: Facebook. Best: finding something to read on almost any topic. Plus the ability to stay connected with those I care about.

Which in your opinion will last longer, The Rebel, Postmedia, or Donald Trump’s presidency?

Trump, because everyone underestimates him still.

When you’re listening to music by yourself, what’s your guilty pleasure singer or band?

African blues and pop, and some experiments in schlager tunes. I can’t understand any of the languages, but with music that doesn’t matter.  [Tyee]

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