Cowichan Valley.

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Jacqueline Ronson/The Discourse

The stories we want to tell in 2020 — chosen by you

From forestry to food and reconciliation, we're ready to dig deep

In these last few days of our end-of-year funding campaign, I’m excited to share the stories I’ll be digging into in 2020, with your support.

I didn’t choose the below stories. At The Discourse Cowichan, community members set the editorial agenda. We invited you to tell us what stories need investigating, and four topics below reflect what we heard you want. To add your say, provide your feedback here.

With no further ado, here’s what we’ll dig into in 2020:

  1. New in Town: We will continue telling stories about who is moving to the region and why. Our goal is to bring diverse locals together through history (like this popular story about rum-running days in Mill Bay) and newcomer stories like this one.

  2. Food for the Future: In the face of a changing environment and rapid development, how will the long-standing local agricultural sector carve out a sustainable future?

  3. In Good Relation: While Indigenous culture is visible and abundant, significant division remains. Racist incidents persist. Indigenous children are disproportionately impacted by the child welfare system. What could real reconciliation look like here? How do we move beyond words to concrete actions?

  4. Working Together: The forestry industry has long fuelled prosperity on Vancouver Island. Meantime, calls to preserve forests and address climate change are increasing. How can we support local economic growth and jobs while protecting the environment?

Here’s my promise: I’ll spend the time it takes to get these stories right.

I was again reminded of the importance of going deep with my reporting in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, as I covered the second public hearing and rejection of Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit’s rezoning proposal to expand its facility.

After a couple of hours sleep, I hustled to produce a story featuring analysis from a municipal law expert about what the rejection and VIMC’s threatened lawsuit means for our region. The story is complicated and technical. I struggled with capturing the nuance accurately and clearly. Then I saw the following comment from a supporter on Facebook, and I knew what to do.

“You put the local papers to shame with their constant errors in reporting,” Mariah Walker commented on Facebook. “Thank you for always taking the time to deeply understand an issue before writing about it.”

I knew the story could wait one more day, if that meant I would get it right.

As long as this community keeps rallying around this mission, I’ll be here serving you as best I can. Thank you for making it possible for me to contribute to our region in this way!