Recently retired Public Eye, City Caucus and Fair Questions writers say blogging didn't pay bills

Sean Holman was on CKNW today talking about the end of Public Eye
Sean Holman, investigative journalism instructor and former blogger at BC politics blog Public Eye. Image credit: The University of Victoria.

Three recently retired BC-based bloggers, Vivian Krause, Daniel Fontaine and Sean Holman, were on CKNW AM980's Bill Good Show on Thursday morning to talk about their decisions to shut down their blogs.

"I would often post 4 or 5 stories a day, each a piece of enterprise [original] reporting," Holman said on the show about his BC politics blog Public Eye, which ran for eight years before he shut it down in November 2011 due to a lack of financial return for his work. Holman did work briefly at the Vancouver Sun and then at 24 Hours Vancouver as a legislative reporter, where he was able to write stories that ended up both on his blog or in the metro daily.

"It is possible to do investigative journalism on a daily basis, but we don't want to risk devoting resources to stories which may or may not pan out, and that may be putting us behind the eight ball," he said about the decline of investigative reporting in daily newspapers and broadcasts. Holman teaches investigative journalism at the University of Victoria and hosts Public Eye Radio on CFAX 1070.

Krause, who retired her blog Fair Questions in June 2012, said that there are still mainstream news outlets that do quality investigative journalism such as the CBC's Fifth Estate. To supplement her income, Krause has been speaking at industry events and privately sponsored talks. She recently gave a talk at the Vancouver Board of Trade about her research, which highlighted donations from American foundations to Canadian environmental charities. She initially did not disclose the sponsors of her talk, but urged them eventually to come forward. They were mining companies Hunter Dickenson Inc. and Taseko, which were connected to the New Prosperity Mine proposal. According to her blog, Krause's latest speaking appearance was at the Inuvik Petroleum Show.

Former Mayor Sam Sullivan staffers Daniel Fontaine and co-founder Mike Klassen shut down their Metro Vancouver civic politics blog CityCaucus in July 2012, after three and a half years. 

"We had collectively thousands of hours of work," Fontaine said about his, Krause and Holman's blogs. "To me, there's a bit of sadness to that."

Fontaine worked full time while blogging for CityCaucus. Co-founder Klassen also worked as a media relations and public affairs consultant. Both currently write civic affairs columns for 24 Hours Vancouver.

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