Even as a young girl I enjoyed reading the newspaper. I loved how the newspaper provided a window into the wide world outside my small Prairie community. I found it satisfying to canvass a paper front to back — to feel like I’d seen all the stories worth knowing. I liked how, on weekends, the paper was a family activity, with something for everyone: hard-hitting journalism, columns, book reviews, recipes, crosswords and comics.
Much has changed since then.
Today, the news reading experience is fragmented — split, in my case, across a half-dozen apps — and relentless, denying you the sense that you’re ever done reading. Most newspapers have been stripped of their pleasures. (Can you remember the last time you stumbled across a Funnies section?) And, in the Canadian context, newspapers are shadows of their former selves — offering but a sliver of the solid, reported journalism that’s necessary to hold the powerful to account and understand the lives and concerns of your fellow citizens.
There is no going back to the news-reading days of my childhood. But there is a path forward.
While ad-dependent media companies are in their sunset years (if they haven’t already folded), subscriber-centric papers like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times are flourishing. The subscription model has not merely saved these businesses, it’s made them better — and has removed any doubt that news businesses that hope to survive must produce content that readers are willing to pay for.
In Canada, there are a handful of newspapers — both legacy and new — that have adopted the subscription model and are reaping the benefits. I applaud their successes. Canada needs more like them. Specifically, we need a robust ecosystem of news organizations that speak to diverse audiences if we are to have a democracy that is accountable, transparent, ideologically diverse and politically harmonious.
That is where Canadian Affairs comes in.
I am launching Canadian Affairs on the premise that a great product can support a sound business. Our small but impressive team of professional reporters and editors is committed to producing great journalism — journalism that is original, relevant, necessary and produced in adherence to traditional journalistic principles such as balance, accuracy and fairness. Journalism that doesn’t advance an agenda but strives to reflect the audience it covers.
Because our team is small, we have to be focused. Specifically, we are focused on producing journalism that, in substance and style, resonates with two key audiences: Canadian families and professionals.
By families we mean individuals who treat the well-being of their kids, parents, siblings and communities as a daily priority. And we mean individuals who treat their work as more than a paycheque. In short, people for whom family and work are core to their identity, community and purpose.
That is where you — our reader — can contribute. I ask individuals who believe in our mission, vision and product to help us achieve the scale we need to be viable by subscribing early, sharing our content and encouraging others to support us as well.
In return, you will get a great product: daily, reported news stories from reporters based in Calgary, Charlottetown, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg. Stories such as our exclusive on emerging social media addiction treatment models, our piece on Calgary parents’ reaction to Uber for Teens, our story on the Competition Bureau’s controversial THC limit recommendation and our coverage of the business effects of Quebec’s new language law. Stories that you will want to share with your family, friends and colleagues.
Beyond that, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your Canadian Affairs subscription is enabling us to employ and train bright young journalists. Journalists who are smart, driven and motivated to help create a better news environment in Canada. Journalists who, like me, have put passion above pragmatism in setting the course of their careers.
Finally, in the grander scheme of things, your subscription will play a small part in buttressing an industry that is essential to the health of this great country — a country that is worth celebrating, defending and bettering, today and in the future.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey.