The Sprawl is Calgary pop-up journalism. Founded by local journalist Jeremy Klaszus, it’s a crowdfunded, ad-free, made-in-Calgary model—a reinvention of local journalism in tough times. These 11 principles guide all we do. If you like what you see here, please become a monthly supporter. Thank you! (PLEASE NOTE: Patreon is USD. There is no comparable platform in Canada.)
- We do depth, not breadth.
The Sprawl doesn’t do press release journalism. Instead of trying to cover everything in the city all the time, we go deep on specific stories for certain periods of time (we call these “editions”). Then we fold up our tables and chairs and go away for a bit. We also make a monthly radio show/podcast—Sprawlcast!—that goes deep on Calgary issues that matter.
- We do context, not clickbait.
The Sprawl is a local riff on a global movement toward “slow journalism”: nuanced, high-quality, curiosity-driven reporting for people who want more than the daily news grind. We ask: how can our journalism deepen Calgarians’ understanding of their city?
- In a world of noise, we embrace quiet.
Periods of silence are built into the Sprawl’s design—and that’s a good thing. No one needs another incessant torrent of fragmented information flying at them. We go quiet so we can return with journalism that’s worth your time.
- We aim to surprise and delight.
Since we have no beast to feed — no next day’s newspaper, no nightly newscast — we’re free to use different platforms and formats for Sprawl storytelling. Instead of just cranking out one article after another, we ask: how might we tell this story in a new way?
- We are constructive, not cynical.
We seek solutions in our reporting rather than just gleefully pointing out mistakes. We ask: as a city, what can we learn from this situation? And how can our journalism contribute to a better, more connected Calgary?
- We reject polarization, seeking common ground.
We’d rather engage Calgarians than enrage them. And we’d rather dig beneath labels than unthinkingly apply them. In an age of fear, divisiveness and insularity, we ask: how can we better understand each other?
- We see Sprawlers as engaged citizens and local experts, not passive news consumers.
Our journalism isn’t a product that we package up and deliver. That’s the old news model. Instead, we invite readers and listeners into our editorial process, actively seeking their expertise and insight throughout.
- We question our own assumptions and privilege.
Rather than pretending to be objective, we are upfront about where we come from and how it informs our work, always recognizing that we have more — much more! — to learn. We welcome feedback without defensiveness.
- We strive for inclusiveness that goes beyond tokenism.
The Sprawl is not a “voice for the voiceless.” Instead, we recognize that in Calgary, as elsewhere, some voices are heard more than others. We ask: how can we listen to and amplify diverse local voices, building reciprocal relationships instead of extracting quotes?
- We’re not afraid to expand our audience and seek financial support.
We don’t scold anyone on why journalism matters. Instead, we follow the journalistic maxim of “show, don’t tell.” We do the work, then invite you to be part of it by pledging monthly support on Patreon.
- We’re a work in progress.
The Sprawl is not some grand, hidebound journalistic institution. We’re small, nimble and experimental. And we’re always open to change.