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Let’s Prove There’s a Bright Future for Independent Journalism

The Tyee is having a great year. It has us thinking really big.

By Jeanette Ageson, David Beers and Robyn Smith 2 Dec 2019 | TheTyee.ca

Jeanette Ageson is publisher of The Tyee. David Beers is founding editor of The Tyee. Robyn Smith is editor in chief of The Tyee.

We wake up every day with two goals here at The Tyee.

Short term: Publish top quality public interest journalism that makes an impact.

Long term: Be here forever, as B.C.’s very own independent source for news and solutions.

Today, we’re checking in with you on both goals.

And we’re not gonna lie. We’re pretty excited about what we have to share.

It’s why we are feeling bold enough to shoot for 500 new Tyee Builders — monthly financial supporters — by Dec. 31. Help us get there! Click here to sign up now.

Have we earned your support?

Let’s start by reviewing that short-term goal: Publish top quality public interest journalism that makes an impact.

What a year for The Tyee, and it’s not yet done.

Since Jan. 1 of this year...

We’ve published over 800 stories, the vast majority original reports about this region and what makes it go.

Our audience has grown by nearly 40 per cent since last year.

We’ve won three major awards. Sparked at least two government investigations (that we know about), and our reader-driven election reporting is being discussed around the world at journalism conferences as an innovative approach to public interest journalism.

Read more about our impact year-to-date here.

This year has been a year of growth in staff, as well. We added four new hires, including David Beers, who returned to spearhead special initiatives, and Dorothy Woodend, our first culture editor.

All of this, we think, adds up to The Tyee’s best year yet, and we could not have done it without readers who engage, especially those who give their financial support by becoming Tyee Builders.

Big news about The Tyee’s future.

So how do we make sure we build on that progress while securing our future and signalling we aren’t for sale to anyone? We’ve decided it’s time to try and change the very structure of The Tyee.

In 2020, The Tyee aims to streak towards becoming a non-profit news organization!

Should we go for it? The best test will be whether we can gain the support of 500 new monthly financial contributors — Tyee Builders — in the next month.

Why become a non-profit? Doing so doubles down on what we’ve always been about. Independence. Putting readers first and being accountable to them. Adhering to the highest ideals of public interest journalism.

We’ve made those our aims since we were founded in 2003. But while we’ve never made a profit, we’ve always been structured as a private for-profit business. Year after year, ‘angel investors’ have put in money but never recouped any. Technically, though, the company has belonged to its investors.

Now we believe the time has come to change to a non-profit owned by no one — and, amazingly, our current angel investor owners are glad to do whatever it takes to aid this transition and continue their support. All they ask is that readers of The Tyee continue to demonstrate their support, too, by becoming Builders.

Our long-term vision is to be a strong, non-profit publication that will be around for the long haul, which receives the majority of its funding directly from readers. This year we were able to cover 29 per cent of our budget from reader contributions. Getting 500 new monthly builders by Dec. 31 will help us move closer to that long-term goal.

In the new year, we will be telling you more about these plans, and about new growth we already have in the works.

For now, if you agree it’s a great idea that The Tyee go non-profit, the best way to say so is by becoming a Tyee Builder. You will be building upon some pretty amazing success we’ve had in the past year. And you will be helping to make history. There’s too much doom and gloom in journalism today, as newspapers lay off staff and shut down. Let’s create a good news story together.

Plus...swag! And a contest!

Makers of history deserve a special thanks. So we’d like to reward you a few ways.

Custom designed Tyee items. Depending on your contribution you can receive a Tyee lapel pin, notebook, mug or tote bag. We worked with a local supplier, Fairware, that specializes in ethical items, and a Vancouver designer, Ciele Beau, to deliver the goods. Don’t want more stuff? Don’t worry, you can indicate that when you give, and we won’t send it to you.

(If you’re already a Builder, we’ll let you know soon via email how you can claim swag, too. Watch your inbox.)

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A chance for an epic river journey. This month we are offering to all monthly builders (current ones and those who sign up by end of month) a chance to win this 11-day river rafting trip for two down the incredible Tatshenshini River through B.C., Yukon and Alaska, courtesy of Canadian River Expeditions.

We’ll tell you more about this incredible trip in the coming weeks. But for now, here’s a preview...

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Float among the ancient icebergs of Alsek Lake. Journey here on British Columbia's Tatshenshini River. Builder, this could be you!

So what do you say?

Are we nuts for believing we can prove there’s a future for independent non-profit journalism in Canada?

We’ll know by the end of the month, when we count the number of new Builders who’ve answered this challenge.

We hope to count you among them.

Click here to join Tyee Builders now.  [Tyee]

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