To my loyal readers...

Since 2003, I've been honoured to be your eyes and ears in British Columbia's capital city, providing daily investigative coverage of provincial politics. That coverage now amounts to an archive of more than 6,000 stories - many of which have had a substantial impact on public policy and governance. But all good things must come to an end. So today I'm announcing the suspension of the site's daily reporting.

Public Eye has been supported for the past two years by a small group of readers who have made monthly $10 contributions to keep me filing freedom of information requests, poring over government reports and holding politicians of all stripes to account. That support has been supplemented by the site's advertisers, whom I'm appreciative of. I'm also grateful to Business in Vancouver, CFAX 1070, The Globe and Mail, News 1130, Shaw TV, the Squamish Chief, The Tyee and the Whistler Question for welcoming my reporting and commentary. But all of this is not enough to sustain an investigative news service that last year was read by more than 200,000 unique visitors.

I have not made this difficult decision lightly. I founded Public Eye because I deeply believe journalism - the reporting of "something that somebody somewhere wants to suppress" - is an essential part of civic society. It informs and engages the public and, in doing so, safeguards democracy. So it troubles me that fewer and fewer resources seem to be devoted to this investigative function.

Indeed, I know there are stories I've covered that would have gone uncovered without Public Eye. I know some of the stories I'm presently researching will likely now go unwritten. And I know there are those who may celebrate Public Eye's absence, having one less media filter to interfere with their narrative.

Unfortunately, Public Eye is unsustainable so long as it's principally me, a computer, a camera and a telephone line. So what's next? Well, Public Eye and its syndicated column may return in another form should a sustainable business model be found. In the meantime, I'll continue hosting Public Eye Radio on CFAX 1070, providing a weekly political commentary on News 1130, as well as teaching aspiring journalists at the University of Victoria. I'll also be filming a documentary and exploring, as is oft said, other opportunities.

So thank you for being part of Public Eye's success - whether it was as a reader, a donor, a source, a colleague or a mentor. These eight years couldn't have happened without you. These stories couldn't have happened if you hadn't cared.

Sincerely

Sean Michael Holman
Publisher and Editor, Public Eye

3 Comments

Sean;

You were a big part of my success getting YouTube views. I also felt I learned a lot down here. I am very, very sad today at this news. I am sure some BCNDP are happy today that the greatest blog in BCPOLI is about to visit the scrapyard - your sorties such as this and on YouTube at 4:19 really put some damage on the foe of all free people.

Let me conclude with this thought: "I realise that I have a reputation for direct speaking and ‘not suffering fools gladly’ but you should be aware that my integrity has never been challenged". Sharkey Ward - the hero fighter pilot of the Falklands & advocate for naval aviation - can say that for himself, but so can you.

I'm sorry to see Public Eye shut down (for now) - but I'm also aware of the huge impact you've had. Maybe this incarnation wasn't financially sustainable, but I hope you consider the site a roaring success in a larger sense. You shook things up in a provincial capital that desperately needed it, and you pushed the established media players to raise their game at a time when investigative journalism could really, really use it.

I'll miss PEO, but I can't wait to see what you get up to next.

Sean, your passion and determination to learn -- and publicize -- the truth without compromise is, in my opinion, second to none in journalism here in BC.

I'm sure there are many politicians and also some senior civil servants who are heaving a huge sigh of relief at word that you are shutting down Public Eye Online.

I hope your announcement will make more people realize what a loss this is for British Columbians of all political stripes, and will lead to you being offered the funding you need to continue your exemplary work.

In the meantime, I'm glad we'll continue to hear you on the radio, and I hope you'll also continue to be a regular guest of mine on the "Opinion Panel" on SHAW TV in Greater Victoria!

They say that when one door closes, another inevitably opens, and while I believe that, I'm just sad that you had to close this door.

Thanks for eight years of putting a spotlight on how our money has been spent and how important policy decisions have made.

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