Douglas Coupland’s Digital Orca. Photo by Philip Jama.

30+ examples of Canadian media innovation

Here are just a handful of great examples of experimental, risk-taking media enterprises — Can you help us expand the list? We started at 30 examples, now there are more than 85!


Last week, the following challenge was sent to more than 2500 people working in the media and technology sector across Canada — from Halifax to Vancouver. This week, I want to share the challenge with you in the hope that you can help to identify products, models, experiments, ideas, and startups in Canada that are exploring the “future of information & news” that are flying below the radar. Can you help grow this list to 50 or 100 examples?

When I met with the team at CANADALAND recently to get them excited about Connect Toronto, they presented me with a very unique challenge — they said, “Show us the media innovation in Canada that we don’t already know about.

That very challenge is at the core of what the Connect series is all about: the belief that the information ecosystem of tomorrow will be heavily influenced by entrepreneurial and upstart activities, new experimental products in market, new risk-taking enterprises, and never-attempted-before civic undertakings.

But here’s where we need your help with this challenge… we know that there are exciting new journalism, reporting and media projects, products, and undertakings in Canada that are flying below our radar, and we need your help to put a spotlight on them.

Journalists in the Radio-Canada/CBC newsroom in Montreal, Canada, 1944. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Like our colleagues at CANADALAND, we’ve been obsessed with this question for quite a while. We are familiar with many great examples of experimentation and innovation: the online-only initiatives like Discourse Media, iPolitics, National Observer, The Tyee and Blacklock’s Reporter to name just a few; and the “news labs,” like those at The Globe & Mail and previously at Postmedia; as well as the new funding model experiments like those attempted by The Calgarian and Winnipeg Free Press.

And yet the burning question remains: What don’t we know about? What models have you seen that are exciting, unique, or entirely new? What new developments in the storytelling space are you most excited about, and what are some great Canadian examples of people exploring new frontiers of reporting?

Here’s my invitation to you: leave a comment here, find me on Twitter, or send a quick e-mail to share your example with me and the Connect Toronto team.

Just for sending with your suggestion, you’ll be added to the early-registration list for Connect Toronto (September 23 & 24). If you share something that we didn’t know about — we’ll be honest, promise! — you’ll also get a personalized shout out at the event, as well our enduring respect for being in the know (and maybe, just maybe, a little gift).

What are you waiting for? Impress us!

Sincerely, the entire Connect Toronto Team,

Celeste Côté, Barnabe Geis, Matt Frehner, Pippin Lee, Jessica Murphy, Ana Serrano, Amanda Shendruk, Nick Taylor-Vaisey, and David Weisz, as well as Phillip Smith, Burt Herman, and Ashley McCorriston from Hacks/Hackers HQ.

The Canadian Media Innovation list as of September 14th, 2016 (& many still to add. Thank you for your patience.):

(Where “media innovation” is loosely defined as: entrepreneurial and upstart activities, new experimental products in market, new risk-taking enterprises, and never-attempted-before civic undertakings that — in some way — contribute toward a society that is more informed, connected & empowered.)



Phillip Smith
Hacks/Hackers - journalism meets technology

👉 My passion is helping: 💰 Newsrooms make more money; 📈 News startups grow their audience; 🔥 Journalists succeed as entrepreneurs. Let’s talk 📩