Journalist launches news website in Moose Jaw

Even in the dark shadow of shuttered newsrooms and journalist layoffs, a 28-year-old journalist says she’s feeling confident about launching a news website in the City of Moose Jaw.

Mickey Djuric believes Daily Jaw will be part of wave of independent models popping up countrywide

A journalist launching a news website for the City of Moose Jaw says she's excited about the future of independent, digital news outlets and how they can serve smaller communities. (Shutterstock)

Even in the dark shadow of shuttered newsrooms and journalist layoffs, a 28-year-old journalist says she's feeling confident about launching a new journalism venture in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Mickey Djuric had given a lot of thought to starting a news website in the community. That vision of two years became a reality with the launch of Daily Jaw this week.

"I'm part of the generation that made Google popular. We made Twitter a news platform. We are the reason Facebook is successful," she said. "So I feel confident in my ability to publish online."

Mickey Djuric says people have been supportive and excited about her venture. (Mickey Djuric/Submitted photo)
Djuric was a Moose Jaw Times Herald reporter that made national headlines when she publicly resigned over the paper's decision not to publish a video she had shot. The video showed a Saskatchewan MP using what she thought was a vulgar word to describe a provincial NDP candidate.

At the time, she said the decision not to release or discuss the video went against her ethics and beliefs, prompting her resignation.

But she said she continued to feel an affinity for Moose Jaw, and the desire to return and call the place home.

"I have always felt a sense of responsibility toward this city to do good journalism, and that's really what inspired me to come back."

Moose Jaw, like other small communities across Canada, is increasingly "under-served and under-reported" by journalism, she said, with the Moose Jaw Times Herald closing down late last year.

The Moose Jaw Times-Herald closed its doors last December, after 128 years of operating in the community. (CBC News)

More and more, residents are forced to turn to social media in the place of journalism, and are not always able to sift out what is rumour from fact, nor are they able to get hard-hitting news or stories of public interest, she said.

"I'm hoping to change that. I'm hoping to bring more clarity when it comes to news, and what's fact and what's not."

More outlets help accessibility, says mayor

Mayor Fraser Tolmie notes the city continues to have a local weekly paper and a radio station that has an online presence. Another news website, the Moose Jaw Independent, has also sprung up following the closure of the Times Herald.

Djuric's venture has him excited to see the "new possibilities" in reporting.

"I can see a cultural change, obviously with technology," Tolmie said. "Going from a daily newspaper, to an online, is obviously the way of the future. We see that. People still want to see local news and that's very important to a community the size of the city of Moose Jaw."

While some appreciate the look, the feel and tradition of a newspaper, others look to online platforms to fill that need to know what's going on, he noted.

"When you have more outlets, there's more accessibility and you get to hear about the city of Moose Jaw's story."

I do believe we will see in Canada more independent models popping up.- Mickey Djuric, journalist

When it comes to funding the journalism, Djuric said she will be putting advertising on the back burner for the next six months to a year, to focus on building the Daily Jaw news brand.

"I think it's important for me first to develop who we are as a brand and that we will stand for good journalism, that our journalism will be straight-up honest and it will not be fluffy," Djuric said, adding she hopes to be part of creating a model for other journalists in other parts of Canada. 

"I do believe we will see in Canada more independent models popping up."