WEP has brought readers and writers together, and neighbourhoods have grown because we employ some of Canada’s greatest writers to write about where we live, reinventing what a community newspaper can and should be in 2020. We want people to read it the way I once read the LA Weekly or the Village Voice: I didn’t live on St. Mark’s, but the stories and writing about it were too good not to read. We’re hoping the same holds true with Heidi Sopinka writing about the chickens of Davenport Road or Ryan McMahon writing about the Sherbourne Street sweat lodge or Michael Winter writing about Vesta Lunch. We pay all of our contributors industry standard amounts, despite getting zero government or granting support.
We rely on patrons and donors for our revenue, plus our approximately 2,000 subscribers, although we need to increase that number to have a chance to sustain our existence beyond three years. We are seeing the paper grow, but part of my job as publisher over the next few weeks and months is to compel readers who are curious and interested in the paper to jump aboard and sign up for home delivery or mail service (we mail everywhere in the world).
Want to help us fight for Canadian culture and public broadcasting? Here's what you can do:
We also run events that help hold up our model: raising money through one-of-a-kind concerts at George Stroumboulopoulos’ House of Strombo and readings with Margaret Atwood (an early supporter) and Claudia Dey (a regular contributor). Last May, we had 500 subscribers come out and celebrate at the Junction Brewery, where we staged a Double-Or-Nothing rock show with Alex Lifeson, Chris Walla, Sarah Harmer and Terra Lightfoot doing duets. Who knew that journalism in 2019 could actually be fun?