After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

An introduction to the Vancouver Observer

Note: Due to the combination of an all-consuming search for employment, a general lack of Internet, and the rumblings of summer lethargy I neglected to post this entry written last week.  It follows.

Yesterday began summer activity phase I.  Having submitted my final paper on Friday, my heart fell into my belly the next morning when I received an automated email detailing its failure to send due to a mistyped address.  Since then the days have continued hokey pokey as I try to find steady streams of income. I took a side trip to Seattle Tuesday evening, driving down the I5 as sheets of rain pummeled for miles. The purpose of the trip was ridiculous, yet a reason nonetheless.  Regular employment remains aloof, although I have come up on volunteer work. 

Why would I work for free?  This sounds like something I would not do. 

Answer:  it’s good for me.

I will be executing the task of article editing for the Vancouver Observer.  Orientation was yesterday.  Publisher Linda Solomon asked if somebody could take notes and write a blog article about the meeting.  Some strange compulsion made me raise my hand.  I suspect it had something to do with Solomon herself.  I had epiphanied after my final university lecture that I was leaving an amazing resource behind.  That is, I had lost access to highly educated experts whose job is to pass along their knowledge.  Three weeks later and another accomplished individual presents herself, offering to teach important skills and bump up my experience in a mutually beneficial exchange for my time.  My respect was confirmed when I saw what looked to be a photograph of her as a young woman with President Jimmy Carter on the hallway wall.  I love Jimmy Carter.

Thus, the compulsion; I raised my hand.

The Vancouver Observer is an all-online news publication providing a local, hyperlocal and world-from-Vancouver perspective.  Inspired by the Huffington Post, Solomon and her team strive to fill the city’s huge gap in coverage by writing the best stories and pushing their reporting further into the Vancouver consciousness. The website relaunched October 2009 and receives between 50 000 to 100 000 unique visitors per month. The Observer’s goal is to become the city’s premier forum for local news, building an audience through the miraculous tangle of links, Google search results and word of fingers on a keyboard that make up the Internet.

Prospective summer volunteers gathered May 5th at Solomon’s apartment, which doubles as VO HQ. Overlooking the Cambie Bridge and downtown, helicopters and seagulls float by, catching eyes of the unfocused.  The gathered was predominately female and recently graduated.  Introductions and opening remarks were made. I volunteered my hand as mentioned and upon returning to my notes, realize they are sparse.  I am already learning! Take more notes or you will be doomed to use your faulty memory. This explains the non- specificity of what I have left to say. A lunch break was taken.  I went for pho on Broadway and had a small lost-my-lens-cap crisis. After lunch the volunteers splintered into the PR and editorial interested.  We discussed, practiced and signed up for a day of the week.  I picked Thursday. I found my lens cap.  I parted and returned the next morning for my first day of editing.  It was a piece on dosas.  I see myself learning a lot about city events as I must plunge myself into the article’s content. I reword, cut the unnecessary, rearrange, hyperlink, verify and punctuate. Word out. 

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