Just over a week into the strike, Chronicle Herald reporters and editors have launched a free news website, Local Xpress.
Editor Pam Sword says union members had discussed the idea of creating a site for reporters to continue to do their work before the work stoppage was official, but had nothing set in stone.
Once the strike began on Jan. 23, the journalists continued to do what they love to do and took time between picketing shifts cover events.
“It just seems like people wanted to keep doing their jobs, there were stories they were working on and ideas they had and they wanted to keep working on them.” Sword said.
“People were taking their reporting to Twitter just to get out the stories they wanted to get out.”
The Local Xpress website, localxpress.ca, was launched on Jan. 30. The number of followers on its Twitter account, @xpress_local, grew to 1,500 the first day and at press time boasted over 2,000
Federation of Labour, says he fully supports Local Xpress and sees the site as an opportunity to produce solid journalism.
“You can’t work at a paper where they’re cutting back and cutting back. The Local Xpress gives them a chance to do the kind of investigative journalism that takes more time but ultimately produces a better quality story,” he said.
“So far, we’ve gotten to see some stuff we wouldn’t have normally been able to see from them before.”
Sword and Gorman say as long as the strike continues, so will Local Xpress.
Sword foresees the potential for the site to expand and improve.
“We have to get a better workflow going, it’s just kind of pitch in whenever you have time, so it has to have a bit more formal structure,” says Sword.
“We did get comments on social media from people asking if they could subscribe or donate. It would probably be too early for that, but we might have to talk about whether we have a tip jar … it could pay people’s expenses.”