National news site, the National Observer, with focus on energy politics to be launched

National news site with focus on energy politics to be launched, Vancouver Observer wins the Canadian Journalism Foundation 2014 Excellence in Journalism Award, and announces a new national news organization
by Mychaylo Prystupa, June 4, 2014, Vancouver Observer
Digital news publisher Linda Solomon used the spotlight of her news team’s win at the Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards gala tonight in Toronto, to launch a new journalistic endeavour — the National Observer. “We’re starting a new national site called the National Observer which will focus on what we have been focusing on at VO, which we really know how to do well, which is energy politics, and energy and its impact on people and places,” said an ecstatic Solomon from Toronto.

“[After the award] people came up to me, and said ‘that is so great.’ People love what we know what we do at VO, and there was excitement in the crowd about our next step.” …

The National Observer will build from its Vancouver base, and have corespondents across Canada, including Toronto and Ottawa.

“We are looking to go live [with the National Observer] in the fall, and we are working now on the development and design, and looking to build partnerships with other news organizations potentially. We are looking for investment money, and people who can help advise us to make this just an outstanding news site,” said Solomon.

Citing a statistic from the Canadian Association of Journalists, Solomon said more than 2,000 people in journalism have lost their jobs since 2012.

“We’re seeking to change that.”

She added, there are many imperatives that led to her decision to go national:

“One is, journalism is in decline, and another is we’re facing some of the largest energy proposals – pipelines, LNG projects — they are happening at an enormously rapid pace. At the same time, democracy is not able to respond quickly enough. In fact, it hasn’t responded that well, and citizens are not having their voices heard.”

“We’re also going to tell the story of exciting sustainability projects that are happening across Canada.”

Solomon accepted the CJF’s Excellence in Journalism Award for regional media on behalf of the Vancouver Observer.

The Vancouver Observer broke the story about Chuck Strahl, who was sitting as both the chair of Canada’s spy watchdog — the Security Intelligence Review Committee — as well as being a registered lobbyist for Enbridge. The news resulted in Strahls’ resignation.

The reporting was principally by Matt Millar, the Parliamentary bureau chief in Ottawa for the Vancouver Observer.

Vancouver Observer’s Managing Editor Jenny Uechi said:

“This is a huge win for independent media. All of our writers work incredibly hard to bring stories to the public and to give visibility to voices that aren’t often heard.”

“Especially in this time when Canada is undergoing so many changes, the reporting that journalists do is so important and I hope our readers will help support our coverage as we go national,” she added. [Emphasis added]

Press release

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