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Inspired by Huffpo, VO Keeps Growing

Three and a half years ago, when I still lived on Cortes Island, I sat at Barry Saxifrage's desk with him and we talked about the Huffington Post. I joked that I wanted to emulate Arianna Huffington, and create a site like the Huffington Post, but I lacked her vast contacts and resources. That's all still true, but Barry gave me the use of his Tideline software to see what I could do, managed it for me for three years as a volunteer, and thanks to his generosity, The Vancouver Observer was born and keeps growing.

Every week, new bloggers join our team of talented, local contributors and the conversation at the virtual dinner table gets more engaging.

As anyone who follows the Vancouver Observer knows by now, we are in the process of rebuilding our software and design. When we embarked on this process at the beginning of the summer, I suspected it would be a lot like renovating a house. It would be important not to change directions midstream, or the costs would escalate. And no matter how great the intentions were for making the deadlines, chances were, the project would continue beyond the expected date.

So, our new site hasn't launched yet. And, just like a family waiting to move into a new house, we are all eagerly anticipating the moment that it does. Maybe at the end of this week, maybe at the beginning of next. Definitely by October 1.

Meanwhile, our team is busy pulling together our first ever print edition. This has been another daunting, exciting, demanding project. Sometimes, I have to stop and try to track the moment I got this idea, and whatever made me pursue it right now. Wasn't it enough to be relaunching the site and hosting a party (Oct. 6) at a large venue capable of holding 300 people?

Well, yes, in retrospect, I can say, that would have been enough. But, after my first meeting with printer Byron Sheardown of International Web Express, it all seemed possible, even easy. (Note: don't meet with Byron unless you're really ready to print, because he does make it look so easy.)

The wonderful side of committing to each part of this has been the incredible people who have gathered to make it all happen. Let me mention again my gratefulness to drupal developer Dave Egan who is working so hard right now and to Lorea Sinclair, who made her Emily Carr Art school summer internship program our redesign.

Then there's Cameron McKague, also a student at Emily Carr, who is designing the print edition. And Megan Stewart, an intern from UBC's masters program in journalism, who took on the position of editor-in-chief on the print run. A call came unexpectedly from the delightful Kris Krug who has pitched in as a photographer, adding his eye for beauty. And I'm always grateful for the contribution of photographer Yukiko Onley, and her work to both the online and the print editions. Finally, Jeff Gerein and JonahMcKeen, who come to us from Capilano University's film department, have done outstanding work for us that will be seen starting Oct. 1 in Festival Cinema theatres, and on our relaunched site.

So, come to our party at Ceili's (Smithe and Granville) from 5-7 on Oct. 6, bring your friends, help us celebrate the city, our first print edition, and our soon-to-be relaunched site. We look forward to welcoming you to our newly renovated home.

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