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This Moment Calls for More Independent Journalism. We Need Your Help to Deliver It

We can’t let journalism fade away. Contribute to The Tyee so we can add to our team.

By Jeanette Ageson and Robyn Smith 7 Sep 2020 | TheTyee.ca

Jeanette Ageson is publisher of The Tyee. Robyn Smith is editor of The Tyee.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was a huge test for news media. So many life and death aspects in need of reporting. And journalism itself was suddenly at risk, as revenues for many outlets dried up.

At The Tyee, we quickly re-tooled our operations. Our reporters pivoted their beats to report on how the coronavirus would change all aspects of everyday life, including school, work, how we move around the city, and of course, our health.

At the same time, we understood that in crisis, collaboration is key. So we struck up some great partnerships. Into our pages flowed brilliant science journalism by reporters at Hakai Magazine, fascinating video conversations conducted by the Salt Spring Forum, and crisp, clear video explainers by Avo Media — all with the aim to make sense of a fast-changing story and dispel myths.

The result is that we’ve been publishing more than we ever have before, about twice our normal daily output.

It has made us think we can and should do even more. Amidst a public health crisis, we are aiming to grow — with more investigations, more solutions reporting, and even a new podcast.

We want to keep up the pace. To do that, we need to bring on 600 more monthly supporters to our Tyee Builders program. Will you join us? Click here to sign up now.

What tells us we should think bigger is this simple fact. We’re having more impact.

Our resident pandemic experts Andrew Nikiforuk and Crawford Kilian are publishing widely read stories that are adding to public understanding. Our new health reporter Moira Wyton is turning out multiple stories a week on the public health crisis, with a special focus on how this is affecting different communities.

We hear reports that government is springing into action after we published articles about communities being ignored and important voices being left out of economic recovery plans. Cities are incorporating solutions outlined in The Tyee into their plans for how to make our streets better for people and the environment.

And we’re delivering to readers the latest scientific findings about the novel coronavirus directly from academic journals.

With support from the Local Journalism Initiative, we started a brand-new reporting beat with journalist Jen St. Denis covering The Tyee’s Downtown Eastside.

We’ve dug deep on the crisis in long-term care, systemic racism, the challenges facing our school system and the pandemic’s impact on workers and local businesses.

Our reporting on climate change solutions seems to have one reader in Alberta. When a Calgary radio journalist asked Jason Kenney if it was time for him to dialogue with green energy politicians, he made news by snapping, “It sounds like you’re reporting for The Tyee.” No, but we appreciated the shout-out from the premier.

We’ve also been mindful that in tough times, a sense of humour can soothe and connect. We invited readers to share in what turned out to be a delightful crowd-sourced community art project and have featured beautiful essays with original art by the one and only Dorothy Woodend.

In May, The Tyee was honoured to receive three awards at the Digital Publishing Awards. Dorothy Woodend won silver for best column, Olamide Olaniyan and designer Erika Rathje received gold for best editorial newsletter for The Run, a pop-up federal election newsletter. And The Tyee was recognized with a gold medal for general excellence in the small publications category.

More people than ever are reading and sharing Tyee stories. More reporters than ever are working under The Tyee banner every day.

At the same time, Canadian journalism writ large has experienced brutal blows in the past few months. The COVID-19 Media Impact Map for Canada has tracked closures and layoffs since the beginning of the pandemic. In late April, they found that 29 newspapers and magazines cancelled some or all print editions, 82 media organizations announced layoffs, and at least 2,100 editorial and non-editorial workers lost their jobs.

The only reason we have not suffered the same fate as our counterparts in other news organizations is our Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders contribute to our editorial budget so that we can do what we do best: publish in-depth journalism on topics that matter, pay talented journalists to do the work, and make our work freely available to everyone, without a paywall.

The need for journalism has never been greater. We want to keep up this new pace of ours and publish even more work every day. In order to do that, we need to add capacity to our team.

Behind every piece that gets published on The Tyee is a mountain of work done by people whose names you don’t see on the articles: our editors. Editors and reporters work as a team to identify story opportunities, get interviews, file freedom of information requests, double-check the facts and consider what information the reader will want to know.

We badly need to hire a new editor to meet demand and do even more.

We need your help to do it. Over the next three weeks, we’re looking for 600 new monthly supporters so that we can beef up our editorial team and produce even more impactful journalism. That podcast would be cool, no?

Are you in? Click here to sign up now.

Our editors have been working tirelessly over the past few months to ramp up our coverage. It’s been a joy and a privilege, but in order to keep it up, we need some reinforcements.

Getting more help on the editorial side will help us move faster and slower. We’ll be able to respond faster to breaking news, and also allow editors to spend time on slower-moving, tougher stories that take a while to come together. It will allow us to have another set of eyes and ears scanning the environment for interesting developments and work closely with reporters to create the best stories possible.

The only reason that we’re in stable condition is our readers, and you’re also the only way we can grow.

Will you help us hit our goal of 600 new monthly contributors by midnight on Sept. 28? Click here to contribute now.

How much should you sign up to give? That’s up to you. We welcome monthly contributions in any size, but if you give at a certain level, we’ve got some pretty sweet swag for you (if you don’t want it, you can opt out).

If you’re not into commitments, we also gladly accept one-time contributions. Seeking recurring monthly contributions helps us plan better and know that we can support an ongoing staff position, but we get that not everyone is into monthly charges. Whatever we raise in one-time contributions will go towards the editing role and extra freelance reporting.

When you give, you’re joining thousands of other readers who have stepped up to help independent media thrive. We’re looking forward to a future that includes strong independent media that can respond in times of crisis.

If you value the work that we do, and want to help us do more, please consider joining Tyee Builders today.  [Tyee]

Read more: Coronavirus, Media

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