The front page of Canada’s media criticism site, Canadaland, on July 3, 2015

Why I’m quitting Canadaland

All good journalists know they are fallible.

Every good journalists wants to write an honest, more accurate description of the events happening in the world. When stories are published that don’t meet their high expectations, good journalists aren’t happy; they work hard to set the record right. These people are driven by perfection and are as critical of themselves as they are of others.

Canada’s media industry, though, has had little real criticism for far too long. Sure, there are always the snippers and the trolls, but the country lacks an informed critical voice questioning why it acts the way it does. There have been scant public voices offering well-reported investigations into the systematic discrimination built into the news institutions. There are no prominent columns regularly explaining how these big and small biases lead to an erosion of trust that, in turn, inexorably weakens quality journalism.

Then Jesse Brown stepped up and announced he was going to take on that role with Canadaland.

He launched a Patreon campaign, followed shortly by the reporting of long-rumoured allegations against some of Canada’s big media stars.

The success of these efforts have understandably shaped Canadaland and helped define its media voice: Point out an unspoken truth, stir-up some controversy and hope something substantial rises to the surface.

Often something does.

And it may even result in some changes in the industry.

But to call it media criticism misses the mark.

Good criticism comes from a love and respect of the craft. Critiques are meant to improve the subject’s work, not weaken it. I had hoped Canadaland would challenge Canada’s journalists to do a better job reporting in this country. I had hoped it would offer candid criticism that would open an often closed club to more Canadian voices.

But that doesn’t seem to be Canadaland’s primary mission.

And that’s okay.

Jesse Brown has built a rare thing in Canada. He’s created, from scratch, a successful new media brand. And he knows what his audience wants.

I’m just not that audience.

And that’s okay, too.

Because now I can stop funding it. Now I can redirect the money to Canada’s next promising journalism endeavour.

And if you think that might describe your project, let me know.

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