Introducing The Shift, Vancouver-based street paper Megaphone’s co-creational newsroom

Megaphone vendors and staff sit round a table at a meeting of The Shift editorial newsroom

The Shift members (clockwise from bottom right): Eva Takakanew, Yvonne Mark, Julie Chapman, Jathinder Sandhu, David Deocera, James Witwicki, Mike McNeeley, Paula Carlson, Michael Geilen, the late Maryann Sundown, Lance Lim, Richard Young and Nicolas Crier. Credit: Holly Sakaki.

By Paula Carlson

  • Street paper news
Megaphone, street paper, Canada

Canadian street paper Megaphone has launched a new peer newsroom consisting of more than a dozen vendors and storytellers who gather monthly to determine the direction of the magazine. It’s part of a partnership that will develop journalism best practices for reporting on marginalized communities. Paula Carlson, Megaphone’s managing editor, explains more.

There’s something shifting at Megaphone — in a good way.

We’re proud to introduce Megaphone magazine’s new peer newsroom: The Shift. It’s an awesome group of more than a dozen vendors and storytellers who gather monthly with managing editor Paula Carlson to brainstorm story ideas, take on assignments, determine the direction of the magazine and be a part of an exciting year-long project in partnership with the UBC Learning Exchange that will develop journalism best practices for reporting on marginalized communities.

Why The Shift? The aim is to have the framework of Megaphone “shift” to being a more inclusive street paper, empowering those with lived experience to tell the stories that matter to them and their communities.

The inaugural group is made up of Louise Boilevin, Julie Chapman, Nicolas Crier, David Deocera, Yvonne Mark, Mike McNeeley, Jathinder Sandhu, Maryann Sundown (who sadly passed away last month), Eva Takakanew, Richard Young, Michael Geilen, Lance Lim, Priscillia Mays Tait and James Witwicki.

Witwicki is also the magazine’s new copy editor.

A badge with the slogan "shift happens"

The Shift members meet regularly with the managing editor to:

• Collaborate and plan the monthly magazine’s direction for the year;

• Brainstorm topics to cover;

• Map out features, photos and commentary;

• Pitch ideas and take on magazine assignments — including photography;

• Work to change how media reports on the Downtown Eastside; and

• Connect with one another and share their creativity and experiences.

Represented within The Shift are people with direct lived experience of poverty, homelessness, substance use, physical disabilities, mental illness, incarceration, racism, colonialism, immigration, Indigenous issues, LGBTQ2+ concerns and other important aspects of life that make up so much of the current public discourse and politics at all levels of government.

Who better to have their voices heard?

Hold onto your seats… The Shift is happening!

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