To recap: the Canadian government is funding reporter salaries for civic journalism as part of the govt's so-called news bailout. A few weeks ago, I shared how criteria had been added to specifically exclude @sprawlcalgary.
Yesterday, @NewsMediaCanada gave its side of the story in a @NiemanLab article. This is the org administering the LJI program for the Canadian government—ostensibly for print AND online media. I'll let you read it.
Wow. It's news to me that @sprawlcalgary hasn't been "engaged in ongoing service to the community." And what's this about not having relationships with residents? OUR ENTIRE MODEL IS BUILT ON AND DRIVEN BY COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS. Just ask our 1,100+ members.
The cluelessness is astounding. Because we're not a newspaper, and we don't put up online paywalls, and we don't have fat-cat executives cutting themselves obscene cheques as our newsroom tanks—our model is somehow inscrutable. We are growing and that scares them.
It gets worse. News Media Canada openly admits it's using the LJI program to shore up its members—dying newspapers—and keep out scary upstarts. “LJI is a support program for the news industry, so we do not want to introduce new competition into already struggling markets.”
Canadian Heritage never should've handed the LJI program to a newspaper lobby group. Heritage needs to do the right thing and remove it from the group—immediately. No trust. News Media Canada is actively obstructing the next wave of Canadian journalism, by its own admission.
Meanwhile, this week @sprawlcalgary got a $40,000 USD grant from Facebook. Talk about ass-backwards. We can get funding from an American corporation—but can't access any of the Canadian federal funds that are ostensibly to support Canadian journalism.
The FB grant will help as we expand to serve Albertans.
We're working towards hiring a full-time #ableg reporter. A thrilling and scary dream! This grant will kickstart that—but we need more ongoing support to make this ambition possible and sustainable.
In sum, the Canadian government isn't supporting @sprawlcalgary—but you can. Support independent local journalism and let's get a Sprawl reporter into the Alberta Legislature!  #ableg
Thanks everyone for the overwhelming support. Too many tweets to reply to right now—but will get to them. Need to finish recording Sprawlcast first, aka "engaging in ongoing service to the community." 😜
You can follow @klaszus.
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