Welcome to our online publication, LiveWire Calgary. We’re pride ourselves on being people-powered news – that means a commitment to the City of Calgary, its people, its issues and its nearly 200 neighbourhoods.
Many of our early supporters know our back story. We’ve grown so much over the past year, and we’ve attracted tens of thousands of new local news readers with our commitment to community, we thought it would be a good idea to answer a few questions for those of you just becoming acquainted with us.
We thought the best way to do that is in a Q and A format. This might not answer all your questions, so if you have others, please feel free to contact our editor directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and he should respond within 24 hours.
Who are you and why are you in my Twitter / FB feed?
We’re one of the city’s fastest-growing online, independent local news publications. We launched on June 4, 2018 and have delivered more than 1,300 local stories in that time.
Why did you launch a local news site?
Our founder and editor, Darren Krause, was the managing editor at the Metro Calgary virtually since its inception in 2007. For 10 years, it was the fastest-growing print newspaper in Canada; at its peak it had the highest revenue in the Metro English Canada chain; it garnered the only ever National Newspaper Award nomination in the brand’s history – and it built by covering community news that no one else would.
There’s a real niche in local news reporting. Whether it’s city hall or community associations, feel-good stories or problems with garbage collection – stories like these resonate with every day readers.
When Darren was let go from Metro Calgary during its rebranding to StarMetro, he saw an opportunity to seize that neighbourhood feel for news that wouldn’t be delivered under the new brand.
Does your reporting have a bias?
Everyone comes into issues with a bias. We try to check our biases at the door to deliver objective and fair news coverage. We like details; sound bites are fun, but they rarely tell the real story.
Our political views are agnostic. We’re neither progressive, nor conservative, but we’re also both. We do not carry an agenda. What we do have a passion for is the middle. It represents the vast majority of Calgarians. There’s no room in journalism for extremes… Well, that’s just not journalism.
Journalism with a bias or slant is contributing to the problem in, not only this industry, but in exacerbating the wedge between people and communities.
If we have a bias, it’s to the citizens of Calgary. If we’re going to err in our coverage, it will be on the side of the people.
How are the bills paid?
We have split our system into two buckets: Editorial and operational costs
Operations: We do have a small (and growing) advertising revenue stream. Right now, it generates about $750/month (Partner Content, display ads, newsletter ads, Google AdSense). That covers everything from website costs to Adobe subscriptions to podcast hosting, insurance, etc. That’s a break-even proposition… some months.
How do you expect to compete with the big media guys?
We’ll outwork them. Plain and simple. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again. Plus, we do it on a shoestring budget with a focus on journalism, not the big apparatus around it.
Most days, the big guys all chase the same news item believing that it’s best to fracture the audience. That’s where we go to work.
We love to focus on unique content. Yes, we’ll carry some of the stories you’ll see on their sites. We’ll have so many more fresh pieces on our site, they end up chasing our stories.
After all, no one wants the underdog to regularly scoop the deep-pocketed, heavily-resourced Calgary newsrooms, right?
Do you accept freelance submissions?
We don’t accept unsolicited freelance submissions. We do, however, encourage any freelance writer that understands our brand and our mandate, to pitch us stories. Our freelance guidelines are here.
We also have a Community Contributor option (we’ll be honest, it’s slowed over time), but anyone that wants to put together a short piece about something going on in their community, we’re happy to publish it under our banner. More information on that is found here.
What’s the end goal for LiveWire Calgary?
Great question. Total world domination, right?
We want more voices. We want better accountability. We want unbiased, unadulterated, un-agenda-ized information that people can count on.
We want to touch the community. We want Calgarians to lean on us when times are tough and celebrate with us when times are good. We’ll be there as long as we can.
We want a robust staff of fairly-paid, hardworking passionate journalists, with a heart for their city, just like us.
In the end, we want to be that place Calgarians can turn for information they can trust. Whenever they need it.