On Jan. 21, The Discourse held an online event with people from the West Shore to hear about what community leaders and members want when it comes to their news.
We talked about what the current news climate looks like in the region and what is missing. We also heard about what topics you’d like us to cover and what kind of reporting matters to you.
I mean it when I say I learned a lot.
I learned that people on the West Shore want news that is hyper-local and don’t want to be lumped in with Victoria all the time. I learned that there’s a hunger for more municipal news coverage and that people want to know how they can contribute to their communities and have their voices heard.
And while I knew that people in the Western Communities are proud of where they live, I learned that they want to see that pride reflected in the stories they read.
To those of you who made it to the event or who have emailed me with your input, I want to say thank you. These conversations will help The Discourse plan our work in the coming year and serve to teach us how we can improve news coverage in your communities. We’re driven by our readers, so this input really is valuable.
Here are some concrete goals The Discourse has committed to based on your input, followed by a summary of what we heard at the event.
What we plan to do:
- We think there needs to be some more good news stories, too! The Discourse will produce a series of articles highlighting community members and local businesses that are making an impact on the West Shore. Do you know an individual or local business that fits into this category? Let me know!
- Early this year, The Discourse will release a solutions-based series on West Shore development and transportation. The series will look at the many nuances around this topic as well as innovative solutions to issues communities are facing.
- We commit to producing resources that help community members understand municipal processes and how to participate where they live, across West Shore municipalities.
- The Discourse is committed to fostering dialogue between community members and leaders as well as complicating the narrative when we approach our reporting. This means including diverse perspectives in our work, asking the tough questions, looking at the big picture and, of course, listening more.
What we heard:
- There’s a desire for a hyper-local news focus on individual municipalities. This includes investigative pieces and in-depth coverage of local happenings. Community members also want to know about what’s happening in other neighbouring municipalities that might be relevant to them.
- People want more good news! The news cycle can be draining at times. A great way to combat this could be with positive stories that highlight what impactful things community members and local businesses are doing.
- Making municipal processes and happenings easier to digest is something people asked for. It’s hard to parse through a long council agenda filled with bureaucratic language. Community members want an easier way to know what’s going on at the municipal level and how to get involved.
- There’s a desire to know more about the arts community and what is happening in that space.
- There are many diverse perspectives that make up the West Shore and community members want to see those perspectives reflected in their news. That means reaching out and talking to residents as well as those in power.
- A gap between those in power and voices that aren’t often heard needs to be bridged in order to create more meaningful, well-rounded dialogue and journalism. Community members want to see that happen on the West Shore.
- Topics community members want covered: rapid growth and development, transportation, mental health, COVID-19 and recovery (economic), homelessness and poverty.
Our team is small but mighty and I’m confident we can deliver on what we’ve set out to do: provide the West Shore with in-depth, community-driven journalism that fills gaps in current news coverage.
As always, I love to hear your input. Send me an email if you think there’s something I missed or if you want to know more about our work.