Visiting Southam Lecturer

David Beers

WEDNESDAY, Feb 12, 2023

When veteran journalist David Beers founded The Tyee two decades ago as one of Canada’s very first independent online-only news sites, he intended an “experiment to see if the nascent internet would allow the flourishing of diverse, public interest-minded journalism organizations, which collectively would strengthen Canada’s existing journalism ecosystem.”

Today he’s sobered to see that ecosystem not stronger but decimated — a situation that sparked his Feb 7 talk at UVic, “The War on Journalists: Who’s waging it and why … and what’s at stake if they win”.

Fresh layoffs at Canada’s largest newspaper chain Postmedia, as well as Victoria’s vibrant online startup Capital Daily, are further blows to the diminishing ranks of journalists in Canada. The trend is global, and Beers thinks it’s not by some accident of technological fate that journalism crafted to high standards — which he terms a “bulwark of democracy” — is left to atrophy.

Beers, an award-winning writer who worked in senior editor roles in two big city newsrooms and Mother Jones magazine before starting The Tyee in Vancouver, gives this year’s prestigious Harvey Stevenson Southam Lecture, organized by UVic’s Department of Writing.