Jan 6, 2016

So long for now, Outside the Circle

In the spirit of a new year filled with new beginnings, I'd like to tell you about Outside the Circle, a project of mine for five years. In that link you can see the archives through Haligonia.ca. Five years is a long lifespan for a blog, and now I'm shutting OTC down.

In the last few years I have not been able to give it the attention or even the technical maintenance and care it deserves. It's time to say thank you, and good bye.

 OTC started when one man who lived in Spryfield challenged me about reporting there.

 "How come reporters never come out here when there's a good story?" he said. "They only come out for the stabbings and the shootings, and then they leave." I was freelancing and had a lot of spare time on my hands. I thought I would rise to the challenge.

 So I went to community meetings, wandered around the neighbourhood, interviewed people and reported little stories. I couldn't do it full time, but I did what I could.

 The OTC site was built in partnership with the people at Haligonia, and they have been amazing to work with over the years. I'm so grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to do this.  I never made a cent off OTC in money, but here's what I have gained:

  • Connections with great people doing noteworthy work in Spryfield
  • People in my neighbourhood telling me they read the blog
  • Other journalists in the city took notice of my work
  • A job offer. Yes, a job offer directly because of the site - not the job I currently have, but a job in journalism that would have been challenging and interesting had I chosen to go that route. 

I never, never expected any of those things to happen when I started OTC. I was just throwing things at the wall, practicing and playing. I learned what reporters do by imitating them.

Now I am a reporter, and I continue to hold a special place in my heart for stories about the neighbourhood of Spryfield and the whole Sambro Loop.

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