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Stories of hope and drama are quietly taking place in remote wilderness areas. We'll bring them home to you.
Stories of hope and drama are quietly taking place in remote wilderness areas. We'll bring them home to you.
257 backers pledged CA$ 17,825 to help bring this project to life.

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CA$ 17,825

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Help us investigate what happened to salmon after the Mount Polley mining disaster.
Help us investigate what happened to salmon after the Mount Polley mining disaster.

Onto the STRETCH GOAL!!!!!  $20,000

If we can bring in another $5,000, we'll produce a powerful piece of journalism on the Mount Polley mine disaster of 2014. 

You may or may not know the story of this environmental disaster. But it was so bad, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs' Grand Chief Stewart Phillip compared it to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

Disaster or an ongoing environmental catastrophe or example of nature coming back strong?

We don't know. We know that when the Mount Polley tailings pond had a breach, it emptied years of mining waste into the neighbouring creeks, lakes and river. And we know at the time, salmon were sickened by the toxicity of the debris. How have they been doing since that time?

If we make our stretch goal, we can afford to find out and bring that story to hundreds of thousands of readers.  

With your support, we can report on how the Mount Polley disaster has impacted local wildlife, particularly salmon, over the last three years. We'll put two reporters to work to quickly bring this story to Canadians in time for British Columbia's provincial election.

The State of the Animal got funded today!

The State of the Animal is an ongoing series by the award-winning Canadian news team at National Observer.

Please back this project so we can tell a moving and important story of whales and bears in the Great Bear Rainforest.

We'll look at how global warming, trophy hunting and the fracking industry are impacting these animals.  We'll also explore how their habitat is being affected, their amazing home in the temperate rainforest of Canada's West Coast.

Your dollars will fund research with scientists, naturalists, local First Nations, and other experts on the humpback whales, orcas, Spirit Bears, and grizzlies in North America's most precious coastal wilderness.

Please pledge now so we can start reporting on stories that  otherwise will simply not be told.

 

 

Spirit bear naps in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Andrew S. Wright
Spirit bear naps in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Andrew S. Wright

 

The thing about bears...

Whether you live in Toronto, Manhattan or Montreal, you probably have fond memories of reading bear stories to a child (or being read to) — those magical furry creatures with adorable ears.

From Winnie the Pooh to dear old Paddington, bears have a disarming way of helping us see ourselves in the world.

Bears rough-house in Great Bear Rainforest Photo by Andrew S. Wright
Bears rough-house in Great Bear Rainforest Photo by Andrew S. Wright

There's something deeply nourishing to the human psyche, knowing that 'Wild Things' still roam the earth. It's the stuff of mythology. It feeds imagination, fuels dreams, and inspires adventures. 

And about those whales...

Beneath the ocean, we are enchanted by the profound grace and mystery of whales. They delighted us as children with their songs and spouts, and as adults, rekindle a deep sense of connection with other sentient beings.

Maybe you even relished singing to your kids about the baby whale frolicking in the sea, asking 'Is your mamma home?'

Humpback whale breeching at dusk by Trish Boyum
Humpback whale breeching at dusk by Trish Boyum

 

A humpback whale and filmmaker take a close look at each other for the very first time. Photo by John Cooper.
A humpback whale and filmmaker take a close look at each other for the very first time. Photo by John Cooper.

 REWARDS, REWARDS!

$29 reward Stand Up for Truth mug
$29 reward Stand Up for Truth mug

 

$39 reward: Stand Up for Truth t-shirt
$39 reward: Stand Up for Truth t-shirt

 

$39 reward 'Stand Up for Truth' t-shirt in white
$39 reward 'Stand Up for Truth' t-shirt in white

The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest coastal temperate rainforest left on Earth.

Stretching 64,000 square kilometres from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Alaska, it's famous for towering fjords, thousand-year-old trees, First Nations communities, and of course, those impossibly magical white Spirit Bears, which are found nowhere else on the planet.

You might think the Great Bear Rainforest is a place beyond time and the ravages of industry. But this is a critical moment for the wild animals of the Earth, even in a remote and magnificent rainforest.

Four month-old grizzlies playing. Photo by Trish Boyum.
Four month-old grizzlies playing. Photo by Trish Boyum.

 

 

An aerial view of the Great Bear Rainforest reveals magnificent fjords and waterways in a landscape of mountainous rainforests. Photo by Andrew S. Wright.
An aerial view of the Great Bear Rainforest reveals magnificent fjords and waterways in a landscape of mountainous rainforests. Photo by Andrew S. Wright.

 

Grizzly Mom with yearling cubs. Photo by Trish Boyum.
Grizzly Mom with yearling cubs. Photo by Trish Boyum.

While most of the ancient trees have been protected by conservation legislation, the rainforest animals remain at risk.

They're threatened by trophy hunting, climate change, new pipelines, and industrial projects that would send tankers of fracked gas through this stunning ecosystem. 

British Columbia still permits trophy hunting of grizzly bears, even in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Four month-old grizzly. Photo by Trish Boyum.
Four month-old grizzly. Photo by Trish Boyum.

Local First Nations oppose the practice, as do more than 90 per cent of the people in the province. Yes, you read that right — 90 per cent, which means more people still believe Elvis is alive than support the grizzly trophy hunt.

And most of the trophy hunters coming to the Great Bear Rainforest are Americans, looking for a thrill by getting their kill.

 

An unworthy end for a king of the forest. This grizzly was beheaded, stripped of its fur, and its carcass abandoned. Photo by Ian McAllister.
An unworthy end for a king of the forest. This grizzly was beheaded, stripped of its fur, and its carcass abandoned. Photo by Ian McAllister.

The New York Times calls British Columbia the "Wild West" of political cash because its government refuses to limit donations to political parties. Millions of dollars pour in from foreign sources and corporate interests.

Grizzly with yearling cubs. Photo by Trish Boyum.
Grizzly with yearling cubs. Photo by Trish Boyum.

 

                                                      
A dominant male grizzly marks his fishing territory in Mussel Inlet. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.
A dominant male grizzly marks his fishing territory in Mussel Inlet. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey.

Back this project and you'll be funding investigations into the political donations and money trail behind the trophy hunt.

You'll also be funding interviews with scientists, First Nations, and other wildlife and climate experts to learn how climate change, hunting and industrial development are impacting the delicate balance of the rainforest.

You'll learn how warming waters are affecting the lives of whales and salmon. You'll learn what songs the humpbacks are singing. You'll learn how noise from ships and tankers impacts life under the sea.

Some salmon travel more than 10,000 miles through the ocean to reach the river of their birth to spawn. Photo by Andrew S. Wright.
Some salmon travel more than 10,000 miles through the ocean to reach the river of their birth to spawn. Photo by Andrew S. Wright.

Back the team at National Observer

There are so many reasons that your support is critical. Please back this project today and we can get started, even before this Kickstarter ends!

Your support will send National Observer's award-winning reporting team into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. We'll bring back the same kind of stunning, audiovisual, feature-length stories that have made us a daily read for tens of thousands of Canadian households.

We will bring this astounding place to life through words, videos, pictures. We will listen, read, write, and speak the truth.

Back this project and National Observer's award-winning team will bring the rainforest animals' story to the world.
Back this project and National Observer's award-winning team will bring the rainforest animals' story to the world.

There is no undo button.

"Once we lose the wild places and wild things that live here, we'll never get them back... We cannot undo some things once they are done."

Grizzly swimming with her cubs. Photo by Trish Boyum.
Grizzly swimming with her cubs. Photo by Trish Boyum.

 

That's the way Moira Le Patourel, a naturalist who spends months every year in the Great Bear Rainforest, described the urgency of the moment.

But it's a future you can help prevent. It's not too late, and with your help, National Observer will give a voice to these silent creatures that will echo in the halls of policy-makers and advocacy groups around the world.

A Spirit Bear catches his dinner from a creek in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Andrew S. Wright.
A Spirit Bear catches his dinner from a creek in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Andrew S. Wright.

 

Here's why we're worth it

National Observer is a progressive, proudly independent, made-in-Canada news outlet.

We're committed to bringing you stories about animals from across Canada, from Spirit Bears in the Great Bear Rainforest to the threatened caribou in Quebec. From the wolf cull to the trophy hunt; from animal experimentation to animal welfare — our journalists are winning awards for their off-the-beaten-path investigative journalism.

Back this project! National Observer's managing editor Mike De Souza and lead investigative reporter Bruce Livesey attend the Canadian Online Publishing Awards in Toronto on Nov. 7, 2016.
Back this project! National Observer's managing editor Mike De Souza and lead investigative reporter Bruce Livesey attend the Canadian Online Publishing Awards in Toronto on Nov. 7, 2016.

Across Canada, National Observer is known for its in-depth coverage on under-reported stories. We specialize in climate, energy, business, culture and politics.

Our reporters get days, weeks, sometimes even months, to do what it really takes for the investigative reporting that is so vital to defending democracy.

Many of our long-term investigations and features can be found in our Special Reports section.

We know Kickstarter, and we know journalism.

And believe it or not, we were actually founded through Kickstarter. We're a team of veterans and young reporters who got together to challenge the lack of meaningful coverage on climate and the environment.

Founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood guides and manages the organization from Vancouver. In Ottawa, managing editor Mike De Souza directs the investigative team. Bruce Livesey is our lead investigative reporter and he works from Toronto.

National Observer founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood. "Please back this project so we can produce this urgent special report."
National Observer founder and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon Wood. "Please back this project so we can produce this urgent special report."

 

To date, we have successfully over-delivered on three Kickstarter projects: the 'Tar Sands Reporting Project' in 2014, 'Reports from the Energy Battlegrounds' in 2015, and 'Reports from the Race Against Climate Change' in 2016. Kickstarter even named us the "most socially responsible project" of the year in Canada.

A history of award-winning animal stories

And when it comes to animals, we get it.

In 2016, our senior national reporter Elizabeth McSheffrey won the Clement Award for Media from the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals for her unparalleled coverage of animal welfare issues in Canada.

Her investigations uncovered the legislative loopholes that permit cruel farming practices in Canada, the ethics of animal liberation, how pets keep getting caught in fur traps, and the deficiencies in a federally-funded regulator for animals in science.

Elizabeth caught Canadian luxury retailer, Kit and Ace, lying to the public about its use of canine fur, which ultimately led to the company banning its use the following year.

Mink hanging out in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Trish Boyum.
Mink hanging out in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Trish Boyum.

 

 

               

We don't mean to brag

We swear we don't mean to brag, but we want you to feel confident that we can pull this off.

At the 2016 Canadian Online Publishing Awards, National Observer won gold as the 'Independent Publisher of the Year,' and in the categories of 'Best News Coverage' and 'Best Column.' We won the Canadian Journalism Foundation's Excellence in Journalism Award in 2012 and 2014.

Thanks to successful Kickstarter funding, we have already built a progressive news platform, in a country dominated by Conservative-controlled media, that:

  • Exposed the oil industry's powerful influence over the government of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  • Exposed conflicts of interest behind the biggest pipeline proposal in Canada and its government oversight panel, prompting the chief executive of the National Energy Board and the pipeline panel members to recuse themselves.
A bald eagle shows off its incredible wingspan. Photo by Trish Boyum.
A bald eagle shows off its incredible wingspan. Photo by Trish Boyum.

 

None of it would have happened without Kickstarter and it especially wouldn't have happened without you.

We mean business

Your support highlights inspiring solutions in the race against climate change; stories of breakthrough technology, resilient communities and individuals making the world more sustainable as we transition off fossil fuels.

This kind of reporting is expensive, time-consuming, and URGENT.

Thank you ahead of time for backing the project.

 

 

This dolphin has places to go. Photo by Trish Boyum.
This dolphin has places to go. Photo by Trish Boyum.

 

 

A big thank you to Trish Boyum of Ocean Adventure Charters for her stunning photos that bring the animals of the Great Bear Rainforest alive. Photo by Trish Boyum.
A big thank you to Trish Boyum of Ocean Adventure Charters for her stunning photos that bring the animals of the Great Bear Rainforest alive. Photo by Trish Boyum.

 


And thank you to nature photographer Brad Hill for our project photo "Eyes of a Spirit" of a spirit bear in a crab tree.

Witness Living Treasures first hand on a Great Bear Rainforest Cruise.

The $13,000 reward will give you the opportunity to see this magnificent coastal rainforest for yourself on a eight-day cruise with members of National Observer's reporting team.

Don't miss your chance! Check out the video below.

For your reference:

More than 2,000 people have backed National Observer's award-winning reporting on energy, climate and the environment since 2013. Get to know our in-depth journalism better by viewing our last three Kickstarter projects...

 2016 Kickstarter

 2015 Kickstarter

 2013 Kickstarte
r

Risks and challenges

National Observer's editorial team are true Kickstarter veterans who have over-delivered every time. National Observer was founded with funding from a Kickstarter campaign in 2015! We're managed and owned by a dynamite team of women (and a few great men) and we are confident we will succeed. Having a female CEO and editor-in-chief is incredibly rare in the news industry. We emphasize diversity on our team, a passion for the craft, compassion and expertise. Our mission is high quality, in-depth investigative journalism on energy, environment and climate.

The risk? If you've read this far, you probably get it. The risk is that too few stories will be told; too many people will pay too little attention.

All we'll hear about is the latest thing Donald Trump said or did. The risks of fracked gas, trophy hunting and climate change will remain as invisible as the carbon we pump into the air.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 8 or more About US$ 6

    National Observer subscription

    Get a month! All of National Observer's crowdfunded reporting, including this project, is free. But the rest of the goodies — exclusive investigations, scandal unearthed from secret government documents — is behind our paywall. Donate $8 to this project today to receive one free month of access to journalism found nowhere else. Plus, we'll give you a heads up when we're about to publish the story that your funding helped us create.

    National Observer's subscription drive is an experiment in media innovation. Can a new media company deliver such great journalism that enough readers will pay for it, and sustain that journalism into the future? We'll need 7,000 new subscribers to achieve this goal.

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    National Observer subscription 3 mos

    What's better than 1 free month of groundbreaking, exclusive journalism? Three months of groundbreaking, exclusive journalism! Find out what makes us an award-winning publication today.

    National Observer's subscription drive is an experiment in media innovation. Can a new media company deliver such good journalism that enough readers will pay for it, and sustain that journalism into the future? We'll need 7,000 new subscribers to achieve this goal.

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    Listen. Read. Write. Speak. Coffee mug

    Make your cubicle colleagues jealous as you drink your morning coffee in this one-of-a-kind mug. But this mug isn't just for eye candy — it contains an important reminder to help you start your day: Listen. Read. Write. Speak. Stand up for Truth.

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    Stand up for Truth t-shirt [Size: Small]

    In a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts,' stand up for truth, integrity and journalism that matters with this one-of-a-kind National Observer t-shirt. Designed by our own reporter, Elizabeth McSheffrey, this groovy garb features original photography from the Great Bear Rainforest and an important message: Listen. Read. Write. Speak. Available in small, medium, large, and xtra large for both men and women, available in black only.

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    Stand up for Truth t-shirt [Size: M}

    In a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts,' stand up for truth, integrity and journalism that matters with this one-of-a-kind National Observer t-shirt. Designed by our own reporter, Elizabeth McSheffrey, this groovy garb features original photography from the Great Bear Rainforest and an important message: Listen. Read. Write. Speak. Available in black only

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    Stand up for Truth t-shirt [Size: Large}

    In a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts,' stand up for truth, integrity and journalism that matters with this one-of-a-kind National Observer t-shirt. Designed by our own reporter, Elizabeth McSheffrey, this groovy garb features original photography from the Great Bear Rainforest and an important message: Listen. Read. Write. Speak. Available in black only.

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    Stand up for Truth t-shirt [Size: X-L]

    In a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts,' stand up for truth, integrity and journalism that matters with this one-of-a-kind National Observer t-shirt. Designed by our own reporter, Elizabeth McSheffrey, this groovy garb features original photography from the Great Bear Rainforest and an important message: Listen. Read. Write. Speak. Available in black only.

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    Stand up for Truth tee white [Size: S]

    In a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts,' stand up for truth, integrity and journalism that matters with this one-of-a-kind National Observer t-shirt. Designed by our own reporter, Elizabeth McSheffrey, this groovy garb features original photography from the Great Bear Rainforest and an important message: Listen. Read. Write. Speak.

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    Stand up for Truth tee white [Size: M]

    In a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts,' stand up for truth, integrity and journalism that matters with this one-of-a-kind National Observer t-shirt. Designed by our own reporter, Elizabeth McSheffrey, this groovy garb features original photography from the Great Bear Rainforest and an important message: Listen. Read. Write. Speak.

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    Stand up for Truth t-shirt white [Sz: L]

    In a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts,' stand up for truth, integrity and journalism that matters with this one-of-a-kind National Observer t-shirt. Designed by our own reporter, Elizabeth McSheffrey, this groovy garb features original photography from the Great Bear Rainforest and an important message: Listen. Read. Write. Speak.

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    Stand up for Truth tshirt white [Sz: XL]

    In a world of 'fake news' and 'alternative facts,' stand up for truth, integrity and journalism that matters with this one-of-a-kind National Observer t-shirt. Designed by our own reporter, Elizabeth McSheffrey, this groovy garb features original photography from the Great Bear Rainforest and an important message: Listen. Read. Write. Speak.

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    Stand Up for Truth t-shirt & mug [Sz: M]

    Now you don't have to choose between the Elizabeth McSheffrey originally-designed 'Stand Up for Truth' t-shirt and mug. You can get them both in one great reward! T-shirt available in black only.

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    T-shirt, mug + subscription pack

    This is the complete National Observer package. You can read our groundbreaking, exclusive journalism while wearing your one-of-a-kind 'Stand Up for Truth' t-shirt and sipping coffee from your 'Stand Up for Truth' mug. Ah bliss!

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    Year access National Observer

    All of the reporting from this project (and all crowdfunded reporting we do) is free. But much of our site is behind a paywall. Get one year subscription to National Observer.

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    4 mug set + 1 month subs

    Because four original bear mugs really are better than one. And are best enjoyed with a one month subscription to National Observer's ground-breaking, exclusive journalism.

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    Fun office package

    You get 8 mugs to share with your team plus 1 large-sized black tee shirt, just for you. Bear with us, because you get a 3 month subscription, too.

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    Pledge CA$ 500 or more About US$ 379

    Five tweets and a bear

    National Observer will thank you or your business 5 times on our Twitter feed, which reaches 50K people around the world. We will say you are a hero, a brave supporter of journalism, and a protector of animal rights. With each tweet, we will post a different, stunning image of a bear in the Great Bear Rainforest.

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    National Observer forever

    Available on Kickstarter ONLY. This may be the best deal you've ever gotten! Subscribe once, read ad infinitum! This reward gives you access to National Observer, year after year. You will never reach the end.

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    Pledge CA$ 1,500 or more About $1,137

    I LOVE ANIMALS: family pack

    Because you love animals, you get to put some meaningful power and dollars behind National Observer's critical reporting. And, you'll also get a few great rewards. You'll get four #standupfortruth tees to share with family or friends. Choose from white or black in small, med, large and X-L sizes. We'll contact you after the campaign to confirm colours and sizes.

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    Pledge CA$ 4,500 or more About US$ 3,412

    Publish your story on National Observer

    Take advantage of our talented team of writers, editors and photographers to tell the world your story. Our reporters will write a compelling, 500-word narrative about your business, organization, or cause of choice on National Observer's award-winning news site, which reaches half a million readers per month. Add your voice to our award-winning coverage. National Observer will adhere to its usual high editorial standards for this story.

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    Pledge CA$ 7,000 or more About US$ 5,308

    Your story: All the bells and whistles

    Forget the 500-word news article. Your vision, business, friends, or organization deserves a feature-length, audiovisual masterpiece, carefully crafted by National Observer's team of writing ninjas. We will provide a photographer and a stunning, multimedia story-telling platform that is sure to impress your audience and create a legacy piece for your business. National Observer will promote your story, identified as sponsored content, through targeted advertising on social media and email blasts to our thousands of readers. We will adhere to its usual high editorial standards for this story.

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    Pledge CA$ 13,000 About US$ 9,858

    Great Bear Rainforest Cruise

    Unwind on the wild and beautiful waters of northwestern Canada for seven days on the Island Roamer, a luxurious 68-foot ketch. Sail right into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, a rare and stunning ecosystem rife with bears, whales, eagles, and salmon. National Observer's team will join you, along with the Roamer's seasoned captain, brilliant naturalist and gourmet cook. This reward is good for one person.

    The Great Bear Rainforest cruise encompasses the best of Canadian wildlife-viewing, from breaching humpback whales to grizzlies snatching up spawning salmon. It's also profoundly educational; learn from local scientists as you kayak through babbling streams, catch a glimpse of furtive sea wolves, soak in a natural hot spring, and if you're lucky — come face to face with the mystic white Spirit Bear. Evening discussions include a dynamite selection of wine, and perspective from National Observer's expert team on the state of journalism, animals, and how climate change could change both forever.

    The cruise will take place fromSept 28 – October 5, 2018, starting and ending in Bella Bella, B.C. Airfare is not included in the cost of the trip, but once you’re on board, it’s all inclusive. Please note, that if you are unable to attend the cruise last-minute, your funds will provide the opportunity to a deserving, evolving reporter whose focus is the environment, climate or animal rights beat. This reward comes with unlimited access to National Observer's news and features for a year, and awesome National Observer swag to take home with you, including a t-shirt, coffee mug, and framer Spirit Bear photograph. See you on board the Roamer!

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    Pledge CA$ 13,000 About US$ 9,858

    YOUR WEEK of hard-hitting journalism

    Your reward will be knowing you paid for a week of award-winning journalism by National Observer's team. At the end of every article we produce that week, your name will appear as the sponsor of the stories. Before YOUR week, our editors will phone you to give you a heads up that YOUR WEEK is about to happen. And what's on the calendar for the week. All stories will adhere to National Observer's editorial standards and policies and will be generated by National Observer's team. Your reward? GREAT JOURNALISM.

    Help build the future for excellent reporting in Canada.

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Funding period

- (25 days)