Straight 50: Readers offer their reflections

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      The Georgia Straight has made a genuine effort over the years to provide a voice for those who don't always get their due in the mainstream media.

      Sometimes these efforts to include diverse points of view have resulted in brutal backlashes.

      It occurred when the Straight published the FLQ's manifesto at the height of the Quebec crisis.

      Another such article was "White Peril", which spoofed the media's preoccupation with reporting the ethnicity of visible minorities who committed crimes. 

      More recently, the Straight's Travis Lupick was widely condemned for exploring the role that racism might be playing in media coverage of the Vancouver housing crisis.

      But there are just as many who appreciate these efforts to confront the status quo.

      Below, you can read comments from five long-time Vancouverites who've appeared within the pages of the paper over the years.

      Travis Lupick

      Libby Davies

      Former MP for Vancouver East and former city councillor

      I can’t think of Vancouver without its beloved Georgia Straight. I reach for it every week because it actually has local news on politics that’s sharp and timely. And of course I always check out the reviews and movies. And the annual ‘Best of’ is a nail biter I wait for.

      It’s just part of my life—our Vancouver community life. I have always appreciated the strong coverage of the Downtown Eastside that is honest and sympathetic to its residents.

      Congrats GS—you’re independent, courageous (both rare qualities), have great reporters, and still young at 50!

      Alex Sangha

      Founder of Sher Vancouver

      Georgia Straight editor Charlie Smith was the first person to interview me in April 2008 when I founded Sher Vancouver, which at the time was a social, cultural, and support group for LGBTQ Sikhs. Charlie actually came to my home in North Delta and took photos and I felt special.

      Over the years the Georgia Straight and especially Craig Takeuchi have been a consistent and reliable support for Sher Vancouver’s events and activities and various social justice campaigns.

      The paper is very responsive to the needs of the community and is amazingly still free for everyone after all these years. I was also very proud that the Georgia Straight even profiled me in their Best of Vancouver issue one year.

      This opened many doors for me as a social advocate and activist. Having the seal of approval from such a grassroots, ethical, and citizen-focused newspaper was amazing! Happy 50th Georgia Straight!

      Sid Tan (right) with one of his heroes, Charlie Quan.

      Sid Chow Tan

      Antiracist, environmentalist, and antipoverty activist 

      Wow. Congrats on fifty years of hard copy publishing. A relative newcomer (1973) to Greater Vancouver then, the Georgia Straight was to me rarely read.

      It has been a regular read since 1995 mainly because of Charlie Smith, then news editor and now editor. I can recall connecting with Charlie when Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by the Nigerian military government with the complicity of Shell Oil. Since then, we have chatted and literally chewed over news and views over the years.

      When we first got to know each other, Charlie told me he noted I was an activist who knew about P/E (price/earnings) ratios. In hindsight, this is very astute of him and partly explains what he brings to news reporting.  

      This is an appropriate time to thank the Georgia Straight and Charlie for their coverage of community television and the Chinese head tax/exclusion movement in particular and wider reporting of human rights, social justice, and poverty issues. Oh yeah, entertainment too!

      Charlie Smith

      Constance Barnes

      Former Vancouver park commissioner 

      My absolute favorite memory of Georgia Straight is the fact that when I was chair and commissioner of the Vancouver Park Board the  SAVE THE WHALES story was front and centre!!!


      Indira-Natasha Prahst

      Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Langara College

      Celebrating 50 years of the Georgia Straight is an occasion worth reflecting on especially about a paper that can be considered a gem in the media world providing stimulating stories outside the dominant frame and from manifold perspectives which often get eclipsed in other mainstream outlets.

      What resonates, is the inclusion of narratives that engage with everyday life, aesthetics, the environment, struggles, and the political arena with a much-needed balance in current geopolitical times.

      Most notably, I appreciate Carlito Pablo’s stellar journalism in his thoughtful analysis and attention to subtleties covering highly contentious topics on gangs, violence against women and protests, and bringing into the spotlight, impacts of racism.

      Also, Charlie Smith’s editorship has been valued for his even-handed approach to social issues-especially during election time.  Indeed, the Georgia Straight has provided spaces to interrogate dominant discourses and their discrepancies and cultivate critical awareness, alter subjectivities towards greater ethical evaluations and effect change.