National digital news agency launched, focused on energy

TORONTO, June 4, 2014 /CNW/ - Digital news publisher Linda Solomon-Wood used the spotlight of her win at the Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards gala Wednesday night to launch a new journalistic endeavour -- the National Observer.

"The National Observer will be a coast-to-coast digital journalistic organization focused on energy politics," said Solomon, who is also the founding publisher of the Vancouver Observer.

"Canada needs a new journalistic source.  Our country has never had more oil and gas pipelines, projects and conflict over fossil fuels.  At the same time, our democracies are not responding to people's views, and traditional newspapers and broadcasters are deep in debt, and laying off reporters."

"We present a much more nimble, digital news agency with an exciting mobile-friendly website, with award-winning reporters filing from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and the Maritimes."

"We will serve Canadians' hunger for more independent, hard-hitting journalism and special investigations, especially on energy projects."

2,000 journalists have lost their jobs in this country since 2012, according to the Canadian Association of Journalists.

"We want to change that.  We're starting a new national site called the National Observer which will focus on what we have been focusing on at VO, which we really know how to do well, which is energy politics, and energy and its impact on people and places."

"We are looking to go live in the fall, and we are working now on the development and design, and looking to build partnerships with other news organizations potentially.  We are looking for investment money, and people who can help advise us to make this just an outstanding news site."

Solomon said there were many imperatives for her to go national.

"One is, journalism is in decline, and another is we're facing some of the largest energy proposals - pipelines, LNG projects -- they are happening at an enormously rapid pace.  At the same time, democracy is not able to respond quickly enough.  In fact, it hasn't responded that well, and citizens are not having their voices heard."

"We're also going to tell the story of exciting sustainability projects that are happening across Canada."

Regarding the award, Solomon said:

"I am just honoured, amazed and gratified.  We work really hard at the Vancouver Observer, and this means so much to be acknowledged by our peers."

The National Observer will build out from its Vancouver base, with correspondents across the country, including Toronto and Ottawa.  

Solomon accepted the CJF's Excellence in Journalism Award for regional media on behalf of the Vancouver Observer.

The Vancouver Observer broke the story about Chuck Strahl, who was sitting as both the chair of Canada's spy watchdog -- the Security Intelligence Review Committee -- as well as being a registered lobbyist for Enbridge.

The news resulted in Strahls' resignation.

The reporting was by Matt Millar, the Parliamentary bureau chief in Ottawa for the Vancouver Observer.

The Vancouver Observer also broke numerous in-depth stories on LNG development projects in northern B.C. and major changes underway in citizenship legislation.

PHOTO OF NATIONAL OBSERVER WEBSITE, free to use:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/86035149/National%20Observer%20iPad%20mockup%20-%20Vancouver%20Observer.jpg

SOUND CLOUD - AUDIO INTERVIEW of SOLOMON-WOOD
https://soundcloud.com/vancouverobserver/linda-solomon-wood-on-launch-of-national-observer-at-canadian-journalism-foundation-award-gala-june-4-2014

PHOTO of SOLOMON-WOOD and MATT MILLAR winning award at CJF Gala:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/86035149/Linda%20Solomon%20Wood%20Matt%20Millar%20accepting%20CJF%202014%20award%20Toronto%20-%20source%20CJF.jpg

Background:
http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/national-news-site-focus-energy-politics-be-launched

SOURCE: Vancouver Observer

For further information: MEDIA CONTACTS, PHOTO, and AUDIO, Linda Solomon Wood, cell: 604-831-9969, linda@thevancouverobserver.com; Coordinating contact: Mychaylo Prystupa, Energy Journalist, Vancouver Observer, cell: 778-999-3546, mychaylo@thevancouverobserver.com

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