What we learned from you

What we learned from you r1 ...

A few months ago we asked you to share your thoughts on what you like most about DeSmog Canada and how we can improve. More than 500 of you filled out that survey — thank you!

After studying the responses, there were six key takeaways, which we plan to take action on in 2018.

Takeaway #1: You love what we’re doing but want it to reach a bigger and broader audience, especially outside of B.C.

What we’re going to do: First of all, we’re blushing — thank you. Secondly, we wish we could provide you with more coverage from across Canada as well. This is largely a capacity issue for us and we are cautious about spreading ourselves too thin.

As you may have noticed, we have launched a monthly membership program for readers to support our investigative journalists on an ongoing basis. We’d like to send an enormous thanks to the 150 readers who’ve signed up to become monthly members so far. Thanks to our members, we’ve been able to hire an additional investigative journalist part-time. If you’d like to help us expand in 2018, please become a member.

Takeaway #2: You want to see our reporting influence other media more.

What we’re going to do: When we saw this comment, we realized we need to do a much better job of letting you know when our reporting is re-published in other outlets or is referenced by traditional media because it actually happens quite a bit. We frequently share content with The Tyee and the National Observer and our reporting often sparks coverage in places like the Globe and Mail and CBC. We're going to be prioritizing this even more in 2018. Watch out for more frequent updates, both in our newsletter and on our Facebook page.

Takeaway #3: About 40 per cent of you expressed doubts about how well our name represents what we do.

What we’re going to do: This point was clearly related to you wanting us to reach a broader audience. We are investigating this further so stay tuned!

Takeaway #4: Some of you want us to be more impartial in our reporting.

What we’re going to do: This is a challenging one because we are extremely wary of providing what’s called “false balance” — giving opposing opinions equal weight when they aren’t equally rooted in facts. Additionally, our reporting often provides an antidote to the type of coverage found in newspapers and on TV, so we are purposefully highlighting stories you aren’t hearing elsewhere.

All of that said, our goal above all else is to be fair so we take this comment very seriously. Our credibility is at the core of everything we do so we have a request to help us understand this better. If you read a story that you don’t think is fair, please write us an e-mail and let us know how you think we can do better. We are committed to continually improving our work and we only serve you, our readers.

Takeaway #5: You want us to improve the usability of our website.

What we’re going to do: We’re working on some big improvements and can’t wait to give you a better user experience. We are very excited to roll this out in 2018. Thanks for being patient with us!

Takeaway #6: You dig our videos and want more.

What we’re going to do: The past year was our first big foray into video and our videos were viewed more than three million times! We want more of that magic too and we are doing our best to create more videos — but they are time consuming and expensive. Hiring a video editor would make this easier for us, so please consider helping to make this possible by becoming a member.

Last but not least, we are continually heartened and humbled by your support. Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to share your feedback with us. We are incredibly excited about what we can accomplish together in 2018.


Emma Gilchrist
P.S. It's been a busy week. Since our newsletter on Thursday, we've published at least four new stories. Swing by DeSmog.ca to check them out.

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