A time to mourn. What will become of independent journalism?
Entrenched as I have been in municipal campaign matters, I have had little time to do much more than absorb the shock of Sean Holman shutting down Public Eye Online and keep on going. But today, with a brief moment to sit and have a coffee, I really took some time to mourn. Frankly, if Sean can’t make it work independently, independents and bloggers like myself are all wondering the same thing: What will become of us ? If Sean couldn’t make it sustainable, will we all succumb to the same fate?
One thing I know,for all the tearful, shocked emotions some felt at the news, there were likely just as many smiling faces among those whose Sean’s work targeted. Frankly, that worries me, because Sean is one in a million. His site unarguably stands as a record to some of the best investigative work ever done, and done on his terms alone. I read in the Tyee that he alone, was responsible for 25% of all government FOI requests. That’s a lot of truth that might never see the light of day now.
It’s never easy being independent, forging your own path, making your own trails where none exist, but it is a rewarding one. I mourn the loss of Public Eye Online, I mourn what it reflects in readers understanding of what exactly working independently means. It costs money to write independently, even on my own site – to do freedom of information requests, research, company searches, travel … even bus tickets all add up, and that doesn’t even include making a profit so you are self-sustaining. Advertisements are often a double-edged sword, since even that is often construed as being influenced. What alternatives do we have, I ask you?
In the age where Press and Politics meet in an ever blurring line, Sean Holman was a breath of fresh air. And I will miss that dearly. A tip of the hat to you Sean, for everything you gave the people of B.C. I look forward to whatever ventures, and adventures, life brings you.