Why WALKCAST IS GOING Patreon by Tim Querengesser

I have chosen to use Patreon to help cover the costs of creating my podcast. Here is why. 

As you hopefully know, I recently created Walkcast, a podcast that goes walking in cities. Like so many of my non-commercial journalistic ideas, the only limiter is my time and ability to pay my bills. Walkcast is important, though. It is a potential platform for journalism about walking and urbanism that I am passionate about but is not sellable to legacy media because it might be a little too deep-diving or iterative, or a bit too local or pedestrian (oh look, a pun). 

I feel this is an important point. 

An installation based on walking by the Edmonton Wayfinding Project. Photo by Mack Male. 

An installation based on walking by the Edmonton Wayfinding Project. Photo by Mack Male. 

Most legacy newsrooms have slashed all but essential staff and—as I saw in my most recent job running a daily newspaper—sometimes even those people are gone. Ironically, Paul Godfrey, CEO of Postmedia, said it best: "Are our papers as good as they used to be? No, but they haven’t become unacceptable." 

Today we have fewer people writing and broadcasting about more things. Our eyes and ears in mainstream news media have become generalists to keep up; they know the surface of things, at best. This has shrunk the landscape for what's considered important. Which is why issues of walking, car culture, city planning, accessibility and active transportation tend to get passed over. Thankfully, independent journalists and niche websites supporting them are attempting to change this. And yet we do need to pay some very real costs.

This is why I am using Patreon.

I should explain that I am using fundraising tools to pay hard costs for others, not for me. I will not make a cent using Patreon. Instead, I will use money raised to pay for equipment and for a fair wage for other Edmonton journalists and creatives to be part of Walkcast.

And I will ask Edmonton patrons to support a podcast recorded in their city but aimed at an international audience. Think local, broadcast global, as they say (someone surely says this, right?). But why? Well, I see our city as a perfect place to ask questions about urban walking. We are struggling against the dominant car culture here and trying to find new ways to bring back walkability to our streets. We are ground zero for urbanism and the fight to build it.

Once people heard episode one, several offered story ideas and help. I would like to offer them a fair bit of compensation for this work in return. Any money you graciously offer to Walkcast will go directly into it and nothing but it. So please do offer us a few bucks if you can.


City McCityFace is the slogan Edmonton deserves by Tim Querengesser

Coun. Michael Oshry, tongue deeply in cheek, suggested Tuesday that Edmonton might consider revising its slogan to "City McCityFace." He did this as council spent yet more time not devoting itself to addressing things like homelessness or sprawl or, you know, issues.

A city that uses City of Champions: Pittsburgh. Flickr/AhrJay

A city that uses City of Champions: Pittsburgh. Flickr/AhrJay

But despite Oshry's joking, City McCityFace is the slogan we currently deserve.

Edmonton seems torn in two between those who look to the past as our greatest times and those who see the city as needing a whole lot better in the future — and I count myself in the latter camp.

That we've spent so much time debating City of Champions appearing on welcome signs — for people flying past at 130 kilometres per hour — shows you how powerful the nostalgia lobby is in Edmonton. But that we continue having to worry about this lobby's feelings and concern for the good old days is the unexamined and damaging power of populism.

Our city is happening in the future. Nostalgia, most especially around sports and sports venues, is currently affecting simple decisions over the future of Northlands and the Coliseum. If we need a slogan, we need City McCityFace. Why? Because it highlights just how ridiculous all the time we've spent debating City of Champions really is. And it underlines how corrosive populism is to actual progress.

Thankfully, the motion to re-examine the slogan failed Tuesday. 

-End rant



Why so silent? An update on what I'm working on by Tim Querengesser

I'm rarely at a loss for words but my blog here has seen few of them since mid May. What gives?

Well, the truth is I'm working at it.

Flickr/Kurt Bauschardt

Flickr/Kurt Bauschardt

Aside from some stories that I'm writing for The Walrus (online) and The Globe and Mail, I'm also working on a larger project for well, well down the road for Canadian Geographic.

On top of that, I'm also putting the final touches on my first Walkcast, a podcast about walking in cities. In fact, if you're keen to help out and learn more about podcasting, I could very much use a production assistant on this one.

The first episode of Walkcast features an in-depth walk about with Kurt Borth, where he explains his research into location efficiency, and a walk with Prem Singhmar, who had some blunt words about The Quarters and how the city of Edmonton has encouraged development in the area. I can't wait to post it.

Beyond all of this, I've also started preliminary work with the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market, to build a communications strategy for the next generation. Oh, and I've taken a seat at the steering committee Paths for People has built for an upcoming, transformative event in Edmonton in 2018.  

All of this, I'm hoping, will allow me the time and financial security to resume work on my memoir about car dependency. I'm hoping to be back to writing there by the end of the summer. 

If you're keen to help with the Walkcast, please be in touch. timquerengesser at yahoo dot com.