The Discourse Nanaimo questions answered
A street scene in Downtown Nanaimo. Jesse Winter/The Discourse
Nanaimo Vancouver Island

Your questions about The Discourse Nanaimo answered

As we work to launch an in-depth journalism outlet in Nanaimo, we want you to have all of the information you need.
Lauren Kaljur November 20, 2020

The Discourse wants to bring community-powered digital news to Nanaimo, with in-depth coverage on the issues you care about most. A healthy news ecosystem is a diverse one, and we know people in Nanaimo have felt the gaps with recent cuts and closures to local media.

After delivering careful, in-depth reporting on issues that matter you for a series of months, we’re ready to make it official. If enough people sign-up by entering their email to say they want The Discourse Nanaimo to stick around, we will:

  1. Officially establish The Discourse Nanaimo
  2. Hire local journalists to investigate stories that matter to you 
  3. Create a weekly Nanaimo news and events newsletter 
  4. Offer “public newsrooms” that bring people together, face-to-face (or virtually, for now)

There are lots of issues to be investigated. You’ve told us you want to understand more about what Nanaimo’s rapid growth actually means for the community, the economic opportunities and success stories, and a deep dive into urban planning and local transportation. We want to dig into these important questions for you, but as a reader funded news outlet, we need your support. 

How do you plan on getting there?

In order to continue this work, we need to know that people in Nanaimo want this kind of community-driven, in-depth news. If 5,000 locals sign-up by Dec. 4, we will continue to deliver journalism that people want and need. For now, we’re simply asking you to submit your email to say that you want to follow our work. From past experience, we know that people and organizations who support community-driven local journalism will be willing to chip in to keep it going.

Who is behind this?

The Discourse was founded in 2014 by journalists who wanted to fill the gaps in news coverage and better serve communities that had been left out of public dialogue. For the past three years, The Discourse has been successfully providing in-depth local journalism in The Cowichan Valley in the form of online stories, email newsletters and local events. We don’t publish our work behind a paywall or rely on traditional advertising. The Discourse is funded by a combination of reader support, community partners, and grants, so we are accountable to the community. 

We’ve heard repeatedly from people in Nanaimo that we should start providing coverage there too and we want to make this permanent.

The team working to launch The Discourse Nanaimo includes local reporter Julie Chadwick, Cowichan Valley reporters Jacqueline Ronson (based in Youbou), and Shalu Mehta (based in Langford), director of partnerships Terri Potratz (based on Salt Spring Island), producer Lauren Kaljur (based in Vancouver), and executive editor Lindsay Sample (based in Vancouver). 

You can learn more about The Discourse’s business model, here.

Why Nanaimo?

Nanaimo is a growing, dynamic region and we’ve heard loud and clear that you want local reporters present in the community. 

“We just miss the news as it appeared in the local newspaper before it was closed after 141 years,” one person told us. 

So far nearly 100 people have responded to our local news survey. Respondents say that while local news offers some information, stories often don’t dig deeper. We’ve heard you want reporters to look into ongoing reporting on issues from city council, to small businesses, to local First Nations history, to the unsung heroes in the community making a difference. 

Since July, we’ve been delivering pop-up coverage for Nanaimo and it’s already made an impact in Nanaimo. Green MP Paul Manly mentioned our housing, homelessness and mental health series in Parliament.

Reader Shaunnah S. wrote, “I’d like to think you are truly educating our communities on the complex issues our community is facing from a serious, informational and compassionate point of view. You are looking at all sides of the issues. Thank you.” Thank you for the kind words Shaunnah! We’d love to keep going. 

A healthy news ecosystem is a diverse one. Our reporters at The Discourse Cowichan have developed a proven model for in-depth community driven journalism and we want to bring this to you. We know that there are a lot of stories to tell that go beyond daily news and we’re ready to tell them with your support.

Still have a question? Ask us, here.