Non-profit journalism workshop focuses on new news models for Revelstoke

Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine/ journalist Aaron Orlando to host a hands-on, participatory workshop on October 17 to explore new community-led local journalism options for Revelstoke.

We’ve all heard the stories in the news: Journalism, which was supported by legacy mediums such as TV, radio or print, is in financial distress. As the business models that once supported journalism fail, the quality and quantity of journalism continue to diminish.

Locally, this has meant reductions in staff sizes at most outlets; the elimination and outsourcing of the publisher position at the local newspaper is a recent example. Resources at all journalism-based Revelstoke media outlets have been cut to the bone.

The problem

At the core of the issue is changes to business models. Internet technologies have created new options for advertisers that have drastically reduced revenues for platforms such as radio and print, leading to reduced staff and capacity.

In addition, web-based news and journalism platforms haven’t been successful in small markets; they draw a fraction of the revenue that legacy models did and are not currently viable in markets like Revelstoke.

But the demand for journalism-based information hasn’t waned, only increased. Ask any small-town editor or radio host and they’ll tell you they must turn down multiple requests for stories and coverage every day due to lack of time and resources. There is a mismatch between community expectations and resource levels.

However, innovative new journalism organization models that support public, community-controlled journalism outlets are emerging; Revelstoke has an opportunity to shift the focus: instead of complaining about the decline, we have an opportunity to be at the forefront of something new and better.

The vision

Aaron Orlando. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

This workshop is for people who care deeply about the community and are concerned about its ability to have factual conversations about the issues we face. It’s for residents who are concerned about the ongoing degradation of public discourse. It’s for those who worry about our ability to dialogue in an effective way that builds community and leads to solutions.

Most importantly, it’s for those who feel things could be done differently and believe the community of Revelstoke is best suited to make its own decisions about the type and level of service it wants from journalism-based media outlets.

Everyone has an opinion on how the news should be done. The Oct. 17 workshop is an opportunity for local journalists and community members who do not work in the field to share their visions for the future of journalism in Revelstoke.

The workshop, hosted by Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine and journalist Aaron Orlando, takes place at the Revelstoke Community Centre on Oct. 17 from 7–9 p.m. in the Macpherson Room.

It will start with a 15-minute presentation by Aaron Orlando, followed by a 90-minute hands-on workshop that will encourage dialogue in small groups. The result will be the start of a community vision for the future of journalism in Revelstoke.

Do you want to put your experience and abilities towards better solutions? This workshop is the perfect opportunity.

If you’re reading this, you’re welcome to attend this free event, but please RSVP to Seating may be limited, so don’t delay.

Aaron Orlando is a Revelstoke-based journalist who serves as creative director of and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's been on the news beat in Revelstoke for the past 14 years, serving in senior editorial roles. If you have or call/text him at 250-814-8710.