Citizen Action Monitor

Feisty Vancouver Observer to explore series of in-depth stories about our tar sands love-hate relationship

VO launches Kickstarter fund-raiser to help fund a year-long “drama of epic proportions”

No 931 Posted by fw, December 14, 2013

“The Vancouver Observer’s award-winning team seeks to create one year of stories about the people, places and conflicts associated with Canada’s tar sands that go deeper than daily journalism. Story-by-story, we’ll illuminate the lives of workers in the tar sands, the love-hate relationship with industry on Canada’s West Coast, the resistance by First Nations leaders, and the difficult relationship between activists and the industry.”Vancouver Observer

After years of reading Postmedia/Windsor Star’s shilling for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers – see, for example, Oilsands not an economy-environment trade-off — it didn’t take much convincing to get me to chip in some cash and sign on as a “backer” to the Vancouver Observer’s Tar Sands Reporting Project.

Any donation amount of $1 or more is welcome. And there are creative rewards for donations of $10 or more.

Hopefully the following abridged version of the Observer’s pitch to prospective backers will sway you to kick in some cash and sign on. So watch the following 3:14-minute embedded video and read the accompanying text.

Tar Sands Reporting Project by Linda Solomon Wood and Jenny Uechi, The Vancouver Observer, December 10, 2013

ABRIDGED VERSION

Please help us reach our goal in The Tar Sands Reporting Project Kickstarter campaign

We are 56% funded in only four days. There’s still a long way to go. Please back “The Tar Sands Reporting Project” today.

The tar sands. A drama of epic proportions that we’ll tell story by story over one year.

The Power of Story

The Vancouver Observer’s award-winning team seeks to create one year of stories about the people, places and conflicts associated with Canada’s tar sands that go deeper than daily journalism.

Story-by-story, we’ll illuminate the lives of workers in the tar sands, the love-hate relationship with industry on Canada’s West Coast, the resistance by First Nations leaders, and the difficult relationship between activists and the industry.

We believe that stories can make all the difference in reaching peoples’ hearts and minds.

And we hope that you believe this, too.

What this Kickstarter Will Do

This Kickstarter will give us the opportunity to go to the tar sands and along the route of proposed tar sands pipelines.  It’ll allow us to:

  • Go deep into peoples’ lives: First Nations, environmentalists, academics, those impacted by pollution from the tar sands, those profiting personally from its economic benefits.
  • Visit oil workers and environmentalists in their homes and capture the conversations taking place over dinner tables and to tell these stories to our audience.
  • Provide an ongoing record of the challenges environmental groups are facing as they battle tar sands projects and the changes the Canadian government undergoes in its determination to get Canada’s bitumen to Asian and U.S. markets.
  • Explore tar sands water pollution’s effects on communities and families and look at what industry is doing to mitigate this.

The more funds we can raise, the better we can make these stories.

What’s the Vancouver Observer?

The Vancouver Observer’s reporting is independent. We don’t accept advertising from oil companies or related industries and we aren’t funded by the government or any political parties.  This may often mean that we will tell sides of the story that industry and government would prefer not to be told.

The Vancouver Observer reaches a monthly audience of 140,000 people. Our readers come from around the world with the largest concentration in Canada and the United States. We engage with 35,000 people on social media.

Our stories are referenced and/or aggregated by Huffington Post, Postmedia, Bourque, The Tyee, The Globe and Mail, Sun News, Yahoo, The Real News, TruthOut, Foreign Affairs, DemocracyNow and The New York Times.

The Vancouver Observer was recognized by the Canadian Journalism Foundation with its prestigious Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2012 and an honourable mention by the foundation in 2013. CJF cited The Vancouver Observer for “courage”, “accountability”, “fairness”, and “accuracy”, saying VO operates on small resources and punches “far above its weight.”

New to Kickstarter? Here’s how the process works. 

A person who supports a project is called a “backer.” The process of giving money to the project is called a “pledge.” In return for your pledge, we (the creators of the campaign) are able to offer “rewards,” depending on the amount you pledge.

We’re deeply grateful for support at whatever level is right for you. 

  • Pledge $25 and get a signed copy of Extract, our book on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline controversy.
  • You can also pledge $50 to receive a Tar Sands Reporting Project T-shirt.
  • Pledge $350 or more and receive a print of Zack Embree’s iconic photo from the 2013 Healing Walk in Fort McMurray.
  • Get a special print of a photograph of the Spirit Bear of the Great Bear Rainforest when you pledge $500 or more.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Everything’s harder in practice than it is in theory when it comes to creating great reporting.

These are stories unfolding out in the real world. Nothing is scripted, and anything can happen. This can turn out to be a really beautiful and amazing thing, but also a really trying, difficult and sometimes dangerous thing. We appreciate your patience and support through the year.

In traveling to the tar sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, and in Northern BC along pipeline routes, it’s bitter cold in winter, and conditions are unpredictable. This can make everything much harder.

Another challenge at this point is funding for completing the film we’ve started and would like to complete. We set our Kickstarter goal to cover the bare minimum of getting us back to the tar sands and to Northern B.C. and through a year of reporting and writing. It will NOT cover costs such as paying to have the film completed, or paying for short videos we really need to do along with the written stories.

So — all funds beyond our goal will help greatly! They’ll go toward film and video so we can craft the story in moving pictures, too, and get it out to the world.

Thank you for believing in this project and for being a part of telling this very important story.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog, Citizen Action Monitor, may contain copyrighted material that may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I claim no ownership of such materials. Such material, published without profit, is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues. It is published in accordance with the provisions of the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling and its six principle criteria for evaluating fair dealing.

 

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