Scarborough reporter Aparita Bhandari (left) with community member and Scarborough Discourse summer intern Trevon Smith (right).
Scarborough

Scarborough Discourse’s do-or-die moment

Together, we’ve spotlighted diverse voices and shown our community pride. Now is the moment of truth: Is The Discourse valuable enough that you’ll pay for it?

Today, Scarborough Discourse is launching a campaign to ask you, our community members, to financially support our journalism.

Since joining The Discourse in October, and helping launch our Scarborough coverage with my colleague Anita Li, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many of you in person and online. I understand how much it means for you to have local media that reflects Scarborough back to itself — to celebrate the beauty, diversity, vast geography and community members here who make this place special — while also addressing the daily challenges many of you face.

Our mandate is to listen to the communities we serve. You’ve told us that you feel overlooked and misrepresented when you tune into the news. Scarborough Discourse’s approach to journalism, which aims to foster understanding, challenge stereotypes and help bring community together, really spoke to me. It’s one of the reasons why I joined the team.

But I’m not going to lie. It’s hard work to do this kind of journalism. There’s been nights I’ve lain awake at night, hoping I didn’t let anyone down.

That’s partly why your response to our work so far has been overwhelming in the best possible way. I can’t adequately express the joy I felt when one of our Scarborough community members, Carol Baker, described our first Story Circle as “magical.” Or my deep gratitude to Nan Chen, who took the time to send me a detailed email that thanked us “for investigating issues so important to the communities of Scarborough.”

Your moral support means the world to me — and now, I’m going to ask you to support us in another way: Will you tell Scarborough and the world that our community-powered journalism is worth paying for?

Scarborough Discourse isn’t yet sustainable. Right now in Scarborough, it’s just me reporting on the ground from the community, with support from Anita and our small team in Vancouver. We’ve been able to do this so far by bootstrapping and with startup funding The Discourse raised from value-aligned investors and partners (read more about where our money comes from and what we spend it on, here) — but that funding will run out soon. So, in order to keep serving you in Scarborough, we’re asking you to pitch in $15 a month.

Support us now

Over the coming year, your support will pay for:

  • In-depth reporting and dedicated coverage that centres the expertise of our own community members, like this story that combats Scarborough stereotypes and this video that looks at mental health in racialized communities
  • Weekly newsletters that help you keep a pulse on our community and the people that make this place special
  • Next series of community events, like our Story Circles on crime and transit  

The Discourse’s goal is to reach 1,000 monthly supporters across our three communities by June 15. Help us hit this number — and maybe even surpass it — so we can prove that we’re providing a much-needed service that you value. We strongly believe that our journalism should be accessible to everyone; that’s why our work isn’t behind a paywall. But that model only works if those who can afford to pay, actually do.

This is Scarborough Discourse’s moment of truth. This is when we find out how much you value our journalism. I’m all in on this community and this work. Can I count on you to be part of it, too? Become a monthly supporter today and help me spread the word.

ICYMI: Highlights from six months of Scarborough Discourse

  • You told us you wanted stories that challenge stereotypes, so we published this piece about how Scarborough’s strip malls aren’t just an eye sore — they enrich our community. When we asked you to share photos and stories of your favourite malls, we were blown away by the enthusiastic response, so we had to share your suggestions.
  • Homelessness is not just a downtown Toronto problem, so we challenged this perception with a newsletter on the unique challenges our vulnerable populations face when searching for housing: They headed to the furthest corners of Scarborough to find affordable rent — only to be pushed out, yet again.
  • We’re not alone in our Scarborough pride. In this video, Malvern native and music executive Farley Flex credits his hometown with helping launch his career.
  • You told us you wanted in-depth coverage of transit in Scarborough beyond the typical subway vs. LRT debate. That’s why we hosted a Story Circle to hear about the daily commuting challenges you face first-hand, and the many ways you imagine transit could be better.