Masthead

Linda Solomon Wood, Editor-in-Chief

Mike De Souza, Managing Editor

Chris Hatch, Executive Editor

Sandy Garossino, National Columnist

Bruce Livesey, Lead Investigative Reporter

Mission

National Observer publishes tough investigative reporting, exclusive special reports, and daily news coverage you won't find anywhere else. With reporters in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, and freelancers nationwide, National Observer's mission is excellence in public benefit journalism. We were founded in 2015 to solve a problem: journalism.

The industry is in turmoil. Traditional revenue sources are dwindling. Decades of disruption have devastated newsrooms and saddled corporate owners with debt.

The practice is under siege. News coverage is starved for resources. Journalists are squeezed to produce more content and compromise quality — and sometimes integrity.

The role is under assault. Reporters and the news media have become convenient scapegoats. “Fake news” erodes credibility and supplants the search for truth with self-serving falsehoods.

We know our readers respond to exclusive, high-impact reporting. We know this because they respond not just with clicks, but with their wallets.

Every time we produce a report that changes a government policy, new readers emerge to invest, subscribe and fund more investigations.

At our current pace, we expect to be funding our entire operations through reader subscriptions by 2020. And we’re doing it with a model that others can replicate.

"The collapse in the information system that happened in 2016 is as severe as the 2008 collapse of the financial system. It will take years to strategize or regulate out of the collapse....We're 30 seconds into a long journey. There's no silver bullet for fixing it." Director Emily Bell, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University

Honours

The publication made history in May 2017 as the first digital-only news site ever to win a prestigious National Newspaper Award. The award came in the business reporting category to honour a story on the wealthy Irving family by Bruce Livesey. We're also the proud recipient of a 2016 investigative reporting award from the Canadian Association of Journalists for Mike De Souza's series on alleged conflicts of interest within Canada's federal pipeline regulator.

Making history again, this investigation landed us as a finalist for the Michener Awards, one of the highest honours in Canadian journalism. National Observer was the first online-only publication ever to receive a Michener citation of merit from the governor general at Rideau Hall.

Recently, National Observer was named a finalist by the Canadian Online Publishing Awards in the following categories: 'Best News Website' in Canada, 'Best Column or Blog, 'Best Continuing Coverage of a Story,' and 'Best Photo Journalism.' In November 2016, the COPAs named us 'Independent Publisher of the Year," and gave us top awards in the following categories: 'Best News Coverage', 'Best Digital Solution,' and 'Best Column or Blog,' for associate editor Sandy Garossino's powerful and popular commentary.

National Observer ranked second in COPA's all-Canada competition for 'Best News Website,' right behind the Toronto Star, and has previously received two other nominations for investigative journalism awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists.

Mike De Souza, Bruce Livesey, National Observer, Canadian Online Publishing Awards
National Observer's managing editor, Mike De Souza, and lead investigative reporter, Bruce Livesey at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards in Toronto on Mon. Nov. 7, 2016.

Ownership and collaborations

National Observer is published by Observer Media Group (OMG), a privately held company, that also publishes the Vancouver Observer. The company was founded by journalist Solomon Wood in 2009, because, she says, "Democracy requires an urgent and fierce journalism."

National Observer's seed funding came from two Kickstarter campaigns: 'Reports from the Energy Battlegrounds,' and 'Reports from the Race Against Climate Change.'

Solomon Wood is the majority shareholder of Observer Media Group. Other shareholders are National Observer's senior staff and reporters, as well as Canadian social impact investors.

In July 2016, the company launched a paywall and starting generating support through subscriptions. The company's goal is to become 100 per cent reader-funded over the next three years.

National Observer has collaborated with the following foundations on journalism projects: United Way of Lower Mainland (for Syrian refugee reporting in 2016); Vancity, Teck Inc. and Tides Canada (for Great Bear Rainforest reporting in 2016); Earthways Foundation (for environmental reporting in 2015) and Tides US (for general reporting in 2015).

Future collaborations: BC Real Estate Foundation, McConnell Family Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, Catherine Donnelly Foundation, Echo Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Investigative Journalism and the Ivey Foundation.

Need a speaker or panel moderator?

Meet the team here. National Observer's reporters, editors, and outreach experts are in high demand as speakers, panel participants and television and radio commentators. Click here for information on booking and rates and visit our team page to see a complete listing of our staff.