So Long, Raccoon Nation

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So Long, Raccoon Nation

Editor-in-Chief David Hains bids farewell, and thanks for all the green bins.

via GIPHY

After five years of contributing to and editing Torontoist, this is my last day as Editor-in-Chief.

I wrote my first Torontoist article in late 2011, when then-editor Hamutal Dotan asked me to cover a panel discussion about how Toronto needs a better approach to its budgeting (some things do not change). After three re-writes, it finally met the standards she had for the publication, and her expectation that I could do better. She was right. I’m grateful that she pushed back, and in doing so, started my career by making me think about how the work we produce can be better.

A few years later, I became the co-editor of Torontoist with the excellent Kelli Korducki. A year later, I became the Editor-in-Chief. This was a great privilege. There are very few opportunities to edit a publication, and it’s even rarer to have the editorial freedom to publish the journalism you believe in.

This meant we were free to publish articles about Kevin O’Leary’s head in a toilet or nuanced explainers about how property taxes work. I recapped the Rob and Doug Ford radio show, we liveblogged City Hall, published the best local history journalism in the city, expanded coverage on affordable and social housing, and former Deputy Editor Erica Lenti led great coverage of LGBTQ issues. We made fun of Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) and Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington, too.

Colleagues at Torontoist make the work more fulfilling. We can win journalism awards and punch above our weight and all those nice things, but no one contributes to Torontoist for the money, which is very modest. Instead, they do it for one of two reasons (or both).

  1. They are passionate about the city and want to bring attention to the issues that matter to them;
  2. They want to develop as journalists and do so with a credible publication.

We don’t have the resources of most other publications, and to make up for it, our core contributors must possess a combination of journalistic ambition and values that are difficult to match. You learn a lot from working with people like that, as they tend to be pretty great. It’s why almost every Toronto publication has a whole bunch of Torontoist alumni that now shape those outlets. These colleagues were great to work with, and I learned a lot from them.

Most of all, I’d like to thank Torontoist readers. It is a cardinal rule that reader time should never be taken for granted, and for good reason—we do this work for you. I hope that on balance we provided something that speaks to you, how you experience the city, and what it could or should be. If you ever walked down the street and experienced a city block with greater understanding because of something you read here then that makes me feel proud.

As of Monday, you can find me at Metro, where I’ll lead their urban affairs coverage. It’s an exciting new opportunity, but I’ll miss Torontoist all the same.

So long, Raccoon Nation. You’re awesome.

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