An open letter to Torontoist’s new editor

In an open letter to Hamutal Dotan, the Torontoist‘s
brand-new editor, writer and former Torontoistian (?) Jaime Woo offers some
suggestions for creating a more inclusive site. Step one: look beyond

Woo writes:

“I am most proud to be associated with the site when I focus on how much love the site has had for our city, the real joy it takes in discovering the many nooks and crannies of the city. I’m much less satisfied when those nooks and crannies are contained with a narrow band that runs pretty much along Queen St.

“There was a time when Torontoist explored all of the city, whether through Topping’s photos of all the subway stations or the clever profiles of intersections around town. The Torontoist of 2011 could, for example, fight for Transit City and perhaps show us with in-depth reporting the vibrant neighbourhoods that would better connect from the core.

“We’ve seen through the voting patterns in the mayoral race that the city is split in two—let’s ignore how waffling the mayor’s opponents were—but just as the mid-terms in the States were less a push for Republican values than a strong message to Obama, so I think this election was communication to the core that the citizens of Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough don’t feel reflected in the politics of the city. I’d also argue they aren’t reflected in the media.”

Woo agrees that this is no easy task, but suggests Dotan may be just the right one to tackle it. He also laments that he cannot think of any examples of blogs (or mainstream publications) that meet the challenge he’s posed to Torontoist.

“Okay, it’s time to slap myself silly with reality. I know that writing doesn’t come cheap and sending people out to the boundaries of Toronto isn’t easy. But that’s where new faces to come in. When I wrote at Torontoist, I think I was one of a handful of non-Caucasian writers and one of the few non-heterosexuals as well. So often, especially under tight deadlines and small budgets, contributors can end up writing about what’s in front of their faces and, to be honest, it kinda shows on the site.”