Under the direction of editor Sarah Schmidt, a veteran reporter of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, PressProgress is a new news site from Ottawa with the support of the Broadbent Institute. The site launched on Oct. 28. 

Under the direction of editor Sarah Schmidt, a veteran reporter of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, PressProgress is a new news site from Ottawa with the support of the Broadbent Institute. The site launched on Oct. 28.

J-Source: Give us the elevator pitch for PressProgress. What exactly do you hope it will do?

Sarah Schmidt: PressProgress is all about offering hard-hitting progressive news and analysis. We cut through the day’s spin with facts and an informed take on the news. Regular features include top fives, viral multimedia and special posts like “They Said What?”, “What the Fact?” and “Think Tank Tracker.”

J-Source: How will the coverage on PressProgress differ from the usual Hill coverage one gets?

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SS: Using facts to advance our point, we have a clear target and a laser-like focus on right-wing ideas, policies and proposals for the economy, the environment and democratic renewal. PressProgress has a strong voice and blunt analysis—and I think that’s something we need more of in Ottawa. If you want a sense of where we want to go, check out ThinkProgress.org, a must-read American news site that started out as a blog back in 2007 by our friends at the Center for American Progress. It’s sharp, it’s incisive and it’s fun to read! 


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J-Source: Tell us a little bit about your team.

SS: I’m the only full-time staff at the moment, so my workday is fairly long! As the editor, I’m responsible for all the content that goes out the door—either on our site or on our social streams. I don’t foresee taking a weekend in the near future. Two staff from the Broadbent Institute, Jonathan Sas and Mike Fancie, were essential to PressProgress’ successful launch, and Beisan Zubi has anchored a lot of our research and video work. What really excites me about our team is how tech-friendly we are. I couldn’t tell you how many emails circulate with a gif or a video—we share a lot of content with each other and it’s a big part of how we’ve managed to generate so much exclusive content in just a week.

J-Source: How is the Broadbent Institute involved?

SS: PressProgress is a project of the Broadbent Institute. PressProgress complements the other work of the Institute, such as its research and policy work, and its training and leadership development program. Both contribute to fueling progress and progressive ideas in Canada, and as the policy debate heats up in advance of the 2015 federal election, PressProgress will be one way the Broadbent Institute will play a role in that debate.

J-Source: How is PressProgress funded? What is its budget?

SS: Since we are quite new, PressProgress is funded by the Broadbent Institute. However, as time goes on, we hope to be self-sustaining. 

Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.