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A New ‘Steward’ for The Tyee

Eric Peterson, now The Tyee’s sole investor, wants to ‘build upon the impressive achievements of the past.’

By Robyn Smith and Jeanette Ageson 21 Aug 2018 | TheTyee.ca

Robyn Smith is editor-on-maternity-leave at The Tyee.

Jeanette Ageson is chief revenue officer at The Tyee.

The Tyee is nearing its 15th anniversary, a milestone made possible by the financial support of our readers, advertising partners, philanthropic project funders and, very importantly, our investors. We are happy to report this publication’s finances remain stable and its future bright, as one long-time investor, Working Enterprises, steps away and another long-time investor steps up his support significantly.

Eric Peterson is now the sole investor, or, as he prefers to say, “steward” of The Tyee.

Who is Eric and why has he invested his entrepreneurial smarts as well as money in The Tyee?

“If I am known at all to the public,” he says, “it is as the founder and president of the Tula Foundation, a B.C.-based charitable foundation that focuses on global health and coastal science. In B.C., Tula is known by many for its sponsorship of the Hakai Institute and the Hakai Magazine.”

The Hakai Institute is a scientific research institution that conducts long-term research at remote locations on the coastal margin of British Columbia, Canada. Hakai Magazine is an award-winning publication focusing on coastal ecosystems and societies around the world. Eric Peterson and his wife Christina Munck founded Tula Foundation with proceeds from the sale of a tech company Peterson started.

“Tyee insiders may know that I also personally supported The Tyee in partnership with my friends at Working Enterprises for most of The Tyee’s history,” Eric continues. “I did that because I see independent professional journalism as an important guardian of democracy and social justice. I’ve been asked now to step forward and take more responsibility for The Tyee. I see myself as the careful steward of a property that I know is greatly valued by our stakeholders.

“More than anything, it was the dedication of The Tyee’s loyal readers that convinced me to take on this responsibility. Over the next few months I’ll be working with The Tyee staff, looking at how we can build upon the impressive achievements of the past. I thank Working Enterprises for the sustaining support they have provided in the past and for the goodwill they have shown through the current transition.”

Working Enterprises, a labour-affiliated holding company for socially responsible investments, seeded The Tyee’s start up in 2003. Working Enterprises remained the majority, ongoing investor in The Tyee until its exit on July 31.

“Fifteen years ago, for Working Enterprises to financially launch a new online publication with high journalistic standards and progressive values,” says Tyee founding editor David Beers, “was bold, innovative and historic. That decision proves more prescient every day.

“Then, even as we grew The Tyee’s budget by developing other sources of revenue – most notably financial support from reader Builders – Working Enterprises continued to contribute a third or sometimes more of The Tyee’s overall budget through annual investments. I and everyone who has worked for The Tyee, owe Working Enterprises a huge debt of gratitude, as do all who have benefited from the thousands of investigative and solutions-focused reports The Tyee has published over the years.”

“We identified a need for an online news organization that was factual, balanced and focused on investigative journalism. Little did we know how far the media would slide over the past 15 years,” says David Levi, president and CEO of Working Enterprises. “I met David Beers in 2003 and we launched the same year. I want to thank the staff past and present, the WE board, Eric and especially all our readers for their support. I know the Tyee has bright future”.

As The Tyee’s editor-in-chief (Robyn Smith) and chief revenue officer (Jeanette Ageson), we thank David Levi and Working Enterprises for their sustained commitment for the past 15 years. With their support, The Tyee has been able to establish itself as a valued hub for independent, fact-based journalism that has earned awards and attention for its reader engagement projects.

We’re thrilled that Eric Peterson is stepping up to continue and evolve that legacy. We know through Hakai Magazine and his previous involvement with The Tyee that Eric fiercely values quality, independent, public interest reporting. We really couldn’t be happier about his renewed commitment to this publication.

Lawyers, of course, have their own way of characterizing such changes. Here is how the lawyers involved sum up this transition: “Effective July 31, 2018, the assets owned by Countercurrent Media Ltd. to operate The Tyee online news magazine were acquired by 1171142 B.C. Ltd. The new owner intends to continue operating The Tyee as a going concern.”  [Tyee]

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