Tuesday, October 29, 2013

BC's The Tyee has a lofty goal: to raise $100,000, start covering more national stories

On the eve of its 10th anniversary publishing, The Tyee is eyeing bigger and better things by asking its supporters for $100,000 to finance national coverage. (Contributors of $15 a month or more will receive a set of paper dolls of the national party leaders, just in time for the forthcoming federal election.) As with its BC coverage, much of the budget has to come from fundraising. This project is by far the largest ask the publication has made.

Until now, the online independent, daily news site has pretty much stuck to its coverage of BC issues and circumstances in a paywall-free environment, reporting national issues with a BC twist. Now it is proposing to expand its coverage (maintaining its BC content), establishing an Ottawa bureau and a pool of knowledgeable national commentators.  Editor David Beers explained why: 
"At a time when our country is undergoing fundamental changes, our national media platforms are in collapse. News rooms are shrinking. There's no money for longer, in-depth investigative reporting jobs. Good reporters are leaving the business, locked behind paywalls, or assigned to trivial stories. It seems some media are more concerned with shareholder profits than what matters to you."
Beers said that The Tyee's coverage is already national in scope and impact and there is a hunger among readers from beyond BC for more of its kind of coverage about their regions.
"We've never asked you for this much before. But this is kind of a big deal. Are we crazy? Maybe. But we think Canada needs more independent reporting. Now more than ever. And this is how much we think it's going to take to help make a dent."

Early comments about the idea have ranged from somewhat lukewarm to outright hostile, with supporters/readers either fearing the watering down of the BC regional perspective or the overwhelming of the site by viral comments.

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