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Data heads, or introducing the spreadsheet

November 23, 2010

I hope that this site can not only serve as a sounding board for issues and ideas, but that we as journalists can pool our combined experiences to better both our profession and our livelihood, if those are two separate things.

I’ll get this out there right now: this has nothing to do with unions or the like. It’s pretty clear that unions have definite upsides, and obvious problems. This isn’t about that, or collective bargaining or anything of the like.

Rather, it’s about collective knowledge. Most of us entered this career because, among other reasons, we believed the cliche that knowledge is power. As community journalists, we don’t have day-to-day contact with dozens of peers, as do reporters in larger newsrooms. Many of us may not talk to more than one or two other journalists on any given day, or in any particular week. There are ways to overcome this hazard of geography and economics, however.

I’ve set up the framework for a spreadsheet of all the community newspapers in British Columbia. I’ll fill in bits and pieces, as I get the time, but I urge readers to take part and use their knowledge to help complete the puzzle. It would also be nice to expand the list (and the site) to include papers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The hope is that the spreadsheet can be a resource for those considering switching papers, or just for those who want to tell a publisher that they are really, really, really understaffed (I realize, of course, that the term “understaffed community newsroom” is redundant).

You can find the spreadsheet here. No need to login or register or anything. Just start typing.

A note to casual Internet plebs: please refrain from petty vandalism. It’s mean and it won’t get you very far as I’m backing up the spreadsheet regularly. Go spray paint your mother’s car instead.

Photo by John A. Ward via Flickr
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