The Calgarian — Independent journalism for Calgary
The Calgarian — Independent journalism for Calgary
Let's create an independent, crowdfunded Calgary-focused media outlet producing intelligent local journalism to serve the public.
Let's create an independent, crowdfunded Calgary-focused media outlet producing intelligent local journalism to serve the public. Read more
I want to build a modern, independent journalistic institution to serve Calgary as it grapples with the major issues facing its growth and evolution.
This Kickstarter is seeking to raise two months of funding, equal to $12,000 (cost breakdown below). If it succeeds, I will get to work assembling all the moving parts and launch The Calgarian in September. The ongoing funding for the project will then be handled through Patreon, a different crowdfunding site that allows people to support a project with monthly donations.
This is an important time of change for our city. There are some big conversations about our future that we need to have collectively as Calgarians, and I believe our journalism should inform us about these issues and our community.
I also believe there are big gaps in our local journalism coverage. The companies that own our media outlets are facing tough times. They no longer have the resources to commit to in-depth reporting of serious issues. The significant February layoffs at the Herald and the Sun, and the simultaneous merging of those newsrooms, is just one example of the troubled journalistic landscape in Calgary.
I believe Calgarians care about quality local journalism, and I believe they are willing to pay a fair price for it. If this proves to be true, I will work hard to make sure you are not disappointed.
Why do we need The Calgarian?
Calgarians need to understand their city and the serious challenges it faces in order for us to have intelligent conversations about how we want to move forward, what changes need to be made, and how we can all get along.
In addition, the complexity and diversity of this city means that there is no end to incredible stories of local lives and human endeavours.
Our current local media have to make tough decisions with limited resources, and that usually means focusing on short news stories with quick turnaround at the expense of lengthy, in-depth reporting. There are some very good journalists in Calgary. But there were more of them in January. And even more two years ago.
As our city grows and becomes more complex, we need more journalism, not less.
What will you write about?
Our work will be a mix: meaty in-depth features; shorter, more timely articles focusing on an event or topical issue; interviews and profiles; columns and opinions.
In terms of subject matter, there will be two primary guiding principles:
- What are the most important issues affecting Calgarians?
- What stories are falling through the cracks?
One article might focus on the local geographic and institutional class divides that separate us from each other; another could explore the necessity of suburban redevelopment, and the stress it places on long-time residents of those communities. Racism, how we approach homelessness, the historical choices that gave us urban sprawl, why motorists feel victimized, why people are afraid of Forest Lawn — all topics worth diving into, and that's not even mentioning our thriving arts and culture scenes.
Who will write the stories?
At the launch, there will be two full-time journalists: myself and someone I will hire. There will also be a modest freelance budget to ensure we can provide a platform to other voices.
How often will you publish?
The great thing about a digital platform is the flexibility of publishing. We won’t be publishing every day — we’re not covering breaking news, and the stories we write take time and effort. But my goal is to have new content published at least twice a week.
Will there be opinion columns?
Yes. Columnists are journalists, too — reporters tell you what happened, columnists make a point about it.
Almost all of our columnists are middle-aged or older, white, middle or upper-middle class, and tend to defend the status quo. I want to provide a platform for writers outside of this narrow mould. A diverse city needs diversity in its public voices.
Opinion will be clearly marked to distinguish it from straight reporting.
What’s the money for?
Glad you asked.
The $6,000 per month budget breaks down as follows:
- full-time journalist salary: $2,500 x 2
- freelance budget: $700
- overhead & web hosting: $300
After the Kickstarter, ongoing crowdfunding will be provided through Patreon. If our work is rewarded with more funding, the operation can scale: more freelancers, or another reporter, or a podcast. The sky’s the limit.
Is this a scam?
Yeah, I want to make less money and work a lot harder. Help make my dreams come true.
Seriously though, I’ve worked hard to establish my career, and I’m putting that all on the line to make a go of this.
Are you a lazy liberal millennial trying to get a free ride for your socialist views?
This sounds like a trick question.
I’m not pursing a political agenda with this. There’s no such thing as total impartiality in journalism, but I believe we’re all better served when our horizons are broadened beyond our little worlds, and good journalism can do that.
How can I help?
Contribute, of course! Any amount is appreciated, but there are some pretty sweet rewards for certain levels.
Share this on your social media. Spread the word. Tell people you contributed — they're more likely to take it seriously if their friends do, too.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for this project is the ongoing funding needed to support it. But I'm confident that if this Kickstarter gets funded, that will indicate serious demand for independent journalism in Calgary, and the support will be there to keep it going.
There is no shortage of topics to explore and stories to tell in Calgary. All I need is a market willing to financially support this work.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)