Improving our media coverage of northern B.C. will take time

Reporter Trevor Jang reflects on an assignment that got personal.

The Discourse
Dec 9, 2016 · 9 min read
Reporter Trevor Jang flies into Prince Rupert to begin his trip through northwestern B.C., listening to people in communities along the way. Photo: Trevor Jang.

Listening to all sides

On the road I talked to people on all sides of the LNG debate who were feeling ignored. Residents of Dodge Cove voted 98 per cent against the Aurora LNG project. The terminal would be built a 15-minute walk from their doorsteps. It’s hard not to see that there would be impacts. But residents don’t think that means anything to the company or the government.

Des Nobles, a retired commercial fisherman who lives in Dodge Cove, B.C., doesn’t believe the economic benefits of LNG outweigh the potential risks to the environment and commercial fishing industry. Photo: Trevor Jang.

Bringing two sides together in an unlikely way

When it comes to listening, we want to foster a place where other people listen to each other too. And, at least once, our Facebook group helped achieve this.

After talking over coffee in Terrace, B.C., Lucy Sager-Praught and Shannon McPhail have agreed to disagree on LNG and are looking for projects they can support together. Photo: Trevor Jang.

Moving forward with engaging the north

Though I got a lot of positive interest and feedback, not everyone agrees with what we’re doing. Some people are upset we couldn’t visit their community. I apologize for that. I wish I could have visited every community. Some people think we haven’t improved our media coverage of the north at all. They’re right. We haven’t yet. But I’ve built a network I can turn to when a story idea pops up. It’s the beginning of a process for building deeper community reporting.

The Bulkley River flows through Moricetown Canyon on the Moricetown Wet’suwet’en reserve near Smithers, B.C. Photo: Trevor Jang.
This group of people in Smithers, B.C. spends their days at the outdoor stage in Bovill Square. Desiree Naziel, 24 (second from right, wearing black), says she understands why some people in Smithers are uncomfortable with the homeless population. She says the town needs more shelter beds. Photo: Trevor Jang.

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