The Tyee is an independent daily news website based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was founded in November 2003 as an alternative to corporate media.[1] Articles in The Tyee focus on politics, culture, and life.

The Tyee
A yellow square with black letters reading "The Tyee"
Founder(s)David Beers
PublisherJeanette Ageson
Editor-in-chiefDavid Beers
Managing editorandrea bennett
FoundedNovember 2003 (2003-11)
Political alignmentLeft-wing
HeadquartersVancouver, British Columbia Edit this at Wikidata

The Tyee was founded by David Beers, an award-winning writer and former features editor at The Vancouver Sun. Over the years the outlet has attracted attention not just for its news coverage, but also for its non-traditional funding model. The Neiman Lab called it one of the "kookiest" revenue strategies it had ever seen, incorporating advertising, donations and equity sales in its funding model, and even renting out space in its newsrooms.[2]

Since its launch, The Tyee has featured a number of notable writers, including Andrew Nikiforuk, Andrew MacLeod, Katie Hyslop, Crawford Kilian, Michael Harris, Colleen Kimmett, Geoff Dembicki, Charles Campbell, Christopher Cheung, Tom Barrett, Sarah Berman, Chris Wood, Ian Gill, Chris Pollon, Steve Burgess, Murray Dobbin, Michael Geist, Terry Glavin, Mark Leiren-Young, Rafe Mair, Will McMartin, Shannon Rupp, Vanessa Richmond and Dorothy Woodend.

In 2015, The New Yorker magazine called The Tyee "a fascinating case study" of how local journalism is funded.[3]

The Tyee reported its site received approximately 8 million visitors in 2021,[4] with similar readership figures the year before.[5]

History edit

Creation edit

In 2001, David Beers was fired from the features editor position at The Vancouver Sun as part of a slate of layoffs across Canwest Global's properties.[6] Beers says, "When I was fired it was kind of a wake-up call, I was writing some forthright things after 9/11—they weren't radical, I didn't think, but they challenged the jingoistic tone of many commentators and politicians in Canada as well as the US."[7]

The Tyee launched in November 2003.[8] Its original premise was "investigative reporting no one else is doing, and fresh viewpoints from all over B.C."[8]

Name edit

The name "Tyee" is based on the current local definition of Tyee salmon — a Chinook or Spring salmon weighing 30 lbs or more. The word is derived from the Nuu-chah-nulth language and means chief, king, or champion.[9] According to founder David Beers, the name embodies the magazine's dedication to publishing "lively, informative news and views", and because staff "roam free, and go where we wish."[10] While an illustration of a Chinook salmon was originally used in The Tyee's logo, it was removed in 2022 because "the word [Tyee] meant so much more to the people who created it".[11]

"The Hook" edit

In 2008, The Tyee launched a new blog called The Hook. According to investigative editor and overseer, Monte Paulsen, The Hook was a "superblog" because it published quick, frequent, timely reports and analyses by experienced Tyee journalists and a wide network of contributors, unlike most blogs that offer works of one or two journalists.[12] Posts were approximately 200-300 words in length, allowing coverage of a greater number and variety of topics. The Hook was retired in 2014.[13]

Recent years edit

The Tyee was a founding member of independent media association Press Forward, which launched in December 2020.[14][15]

On December 3, 2021, Robyn Smith announced she'd be leaving her editor-in-chief role that March, with founder David Beers stepping in as interim editor-in-chief.[16] On February 16, 2022, The Tyee announced senior editor andrea bennett would become managing editor, with contributor Jackie Wong joining The Tyee as the outlet's new senior editor.[17]

On February 28, 2022, Jeanette Ageson and David Beers announced the media outlet had transitioned to a non-profit model at the start of the year, a process that had been in the works since 2018.[11] Peter Klein, Michelle Hoar, Melody Ma and Deblekha Guin joined The Tyee as its board of directors.[11][18] The Tyee is now operated by The Tyee Independent Media Society.[19]

Ageson and Beers wrote the outlet's non-profit status makes it clear that "we do not exist to enrich any owner. We won't be bought or sold or merged. We will spend every dollar on more and better journalism."[11] The announcement was accompanied by a logo and website redesign.[11]

Awards edit

In 2007, The Tyee was recognized nationally by the Canadian Journalism Foundation with an Honourable Mention in the category of Excellence in Journalism for Small, Medium, or Local Media.[20] The category includes all Canadian online journalism with fewer than 500,000 unique visitors a month.

The Tyee was awarded the Edward R. Murrow Award by the Radio and Television News Directors Association in 2009 and 2011.[21] It was the only Canadian news organization to be honoured for the national (North America-wide) category in 2011.

The Tyee won the Canadian Journalism Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award in 2009 and 2011.[22]

At 2020 Digital Publishing Awards, The Tyee received gold for General Excellence in the Small Publication category.[23]

The Tyee was awarded The Bill Good Award for making "a significant contribution to journalism in the province" at the 2021 Webster Awards.[24][25] The same year, it won "B.C. Magazine of the Year" at the Alberta Magazine Awards.[26]

Funding edit

In 2010, according to Beers, The Tyee's annual revenue of about $500,000 to $600,000 included $450,000 from ongoing sale of equity, $75,000 from advertising, $50,000 from grants, $25,000 from reader donations, and several thousand from renting out newsroom desks.[27] The outlet has steadily increased its reliance on reader donations since 2009 through its Tyee Builders membership program.[28]

The Tyee has been commended for its creative and unique fundraising efforts, from offering merchandise and signed books to giving donors editorial sway.[27] For example, Beers provided donors a choice of which issues The Tyee should cover during Canada's 2009 elections — the pledge brought in $25,000 in 10 days.[27] In 2014, a campaign to "take The Tyee national" raised $118,000 in three weeks.[29]

Until 2018, The Tyee was owned by a majority and minority shareholder. The majority shareholder was Working Enterprises, a family of companies affiliated with the British Columbia Federation of Labor that also includes insurance, travel and financial services firms that cater to Canadian union members. In exchange for an annual subsidy of $300,000, Working Enterprises owned two-thirds of The Tyee's theoretically for-profit operation.[27] Investors Eric Peterson and Christina Munck were The Tyee's minority shareholder at the time.[27] In 2018, Peterson and Munck were asked to step in as the outlet's sole investor.[30]

In a 2016 Canadaland interview with Jesse Brown, Beers said that "special interests" always fund media. "I can't imagine a media that isn't funded by special interest".[31]

In 2019, The Tyee projected 29 per cent of its annual revenue would come from reader contributions.[32] By 2020, that number had risen to 34 per cent[5] and in 2021 The Tyee reported 47 per cent of its revenue came from reader donations.[4]

Non-profit status edit

On February 28, 2022, Beers and publisher Jeanette Ageson announced the media outlet had transitioned to a non-profit model, a process that had been in the works since 2018.[11] Regarding the non-profit transition, Eric Peterson wrote in a March 1, 2022, op-ed on the site: "It is ultimately contradictory for an entity that purports to champion independent journalism to be privately owned, even if its owners are merely caretakers".[30]

References edit

  1. ^ Morrow, Fiona (August 21, 2009). "A site for sore journalists". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  2. ^ "Cash from every corner: Three kooky ways Vancouver's Tyee pays for top-shelf regional journalism". Nieman Lab. Retrieved June 4, 2022.
  3. ^ Vara, Vauhini (April 15, 2015). "Survival Strategies for Local Journalism". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "The Tyee's 2021 Year in Review" (PDF). The Tyee. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "The Tyee's 2020 Year in Review" (PDF). The Tyee. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  6. ^ Damsell, Keith (September 17, 2001). "National Post makes staff cuts". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  7. ^ Wright, Mason. "Yippee Tyee". This Magazine. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Beers, David. "About us". The Tyee. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  9. ^ MacLeod, Grant (Fall 2004). "The Painter (Tyee) Boat." Carleton University, Material Culture Review 60. Retrieved: September 21, 2013.
  10. ^ Beers, David. "About The Tyee". The Tyee. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Beers, Jeanette Ageson and David (February 28, 2022). "The Tyee Is Now a Non-Profit. What That Means for You". The Tyee. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  12. ^ Beers, Monte Paulsen and David (September 8, 2008). "Get on The Hook!". The Tyee. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  13. ^ Beers, David (December 22, 2014). "We are reeling in The Hook, for now | The Hook, A Tyee blog". The Tyee. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  14. ^ Smith, Jeanette Ageson and Robyn (December 14, 2020). "The Tyee Is Proud to Be a Founding Member of Press Forward". The Tyee. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  15. ^ Zhu, Kayla (December 18, 2020). "Press Forward aims to give independent media a seat at the table". J-Source. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  16. ^ Smith, Robyn (December 3, 2021). "I'm Finishing Up as Tyee Editor-in-Chief". The Tyee. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  17. ^ Olaniyan, Olamide (February 16, 2022). "Two Familiar Faces in Fresh Roles at The Tyee". The Tyee. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  18. ^ "Our Team". The Tyee. February 25, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  19. ^ "What is The Tyee?". The Tyee. February 25, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  20. ^ "Tyee Receives National Honour". The Tyee. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  21. ^ "Prof David Beers' The Tyee wins prestigious Murrow Award". UBC Graduate School of Journalism. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  22. ^ "CJF Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism | CJF". Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  23. ^ "Announcing the Digital Publishing Award Winners of 2020". Digital Publishing Awards. May 21, 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  24. ^ Ageson, Jeanette and David Beers (March 18, 2022). "Welcome to the Tyee's 2021 Impact Report". The Tyee. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  25. ^ "The Bill Good Award". Jack Webster Foundation. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  26. ^ "AMPA Announces Winners of 2021 Alberta Magazine Awards & More..." Mediamag. June 8, 2021. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  27. ^ a b c d e Andersen, Michael. "Cash from every corner: Three kooky ways Vancouver's Tyee pays for top-shelf regional journalism". Nieman Journalism Lab. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  28. ^ "Support fact-based independent journalism". The Tyee. June 23, 2022. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  29. ^ Mckenzie, Kevin Hinton & Ryan. "The Tyee going national after raising $118K in three weeks". BCBusiness. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  30. ^ a b Peterson, Eric (March 1, 2022). "Why We Helped The Tyee Turn Non-Profit". The Tyee. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  31. ^ Brown, Jesse. ""The Tyee"". CANADALAND. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  32. ^ "The Tyee's 2019 Year(ish) in Review" (PDF). The Tyee. November 19, 2019. Retrieved June 23, 2022.