The Wren is building a new kind of journalism from the ground up — community-powered news that genuinely reflects all of us. But what does that actually mean? These 10 principles guide our editorial and business decisions:
1. The Wren is always listening.
Journalists often decide which stories to pursue in closed meetings with colleagues who have similar educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. We aim to produce valuable, relevant, trustworthy stories by listening without an agenda to the communities we serve. We involve our audience at every stage of our work, from story selection and research to conversations after publication.
We’re always exploring ways we can improve, and are open to feedback from communities that historically have not been portrayed accurately by the media. Above all else, we’re committed to holding space and learning from readers.
2. The Wren is committed to getting it right — every time.
We’re rigorously dedicated to fairness, accuracy and editorial integrity. We maintain the highest journalistic standards while questioning the status quo ethics of mainstream media.
We think critically about our sources of information, seeking lived experiences and community-based knowledge in addition to sources that are conventionally considered authoritative. We’re transparent about our mistakes.
3. The Wren practices solutions journalism.
We’re dedicated to sharing nuanced, untold stories that reveal hidden truths and point to solutions. Our editorial agenda isn’t set by breaking news or press releases. Instead, we dive deep into important issues that don’t fit neatly into the daily news cycle. We explore how things could be, rather than how things have always been done.
This kind of reporting takes a lot of time and care. We invest in it because readers tell us they value it.
4. The Wren is a community ally.
Our work is for everyone. As a primarily settler-owned and run news organization, we acknowledge our privilege and responsibility to build a genuinely equitable journalism outlet.
From our content to our research, from our staff to our internal culture, from our funding to our supporters, we want to contribute to a world where political agendas and media coverage are informed by those who are often left out.
Serving a diverse mix of readers over brands, foreign investors and interest groups means we put community first. We strive to ensure most of our funding comes from our communities so we’re directly accountable to them.
5. The Wren reports with respect.
To give our readers high-quality journalism, we hire hard-working people. And those people deserve respect, fair compensation and safety. That means involving team members in collaborative decision-making – breaking down hierarchies to ensure everyone is heard. It also means refusing to send people into dangerous, triggering or uncomfortable situations without the right support. This respect extends to how we work with community members who trust us with their stories.
6. The Wren aims to break down silos.
To solve the complex problems facing us, we need to have honest conversations with people we disagree with. Our reporting seeks to encourage dialogue between people who wouldn’t normally engage with each other. We report stories that help complicate narratives of division so more people can be brought into the conversation. At the same time, we don’t platform abusive, hateful voices. Read our community guidelines for more.
7. The Wren prioritizes impact over clicks.
We measure the success of our journalism by the value it gives our community. In addition to informing readers about problems, we highlight solutions and ways for our supporters to take action. Instead of trying to reach the largest audience possible to sell to advertisers, we focus on empowering people to effect change in their communities.
8. The Wren is always experimenting.
We value innovation and creativity in local journalism. We never assume we have all the answers, and we invite our community to participate in our experimentation. We value ideas from everyone, and strive to create a culture in which risk-taking is encouraged and failure is viewed as valuable learning.
9. The Wren is radically transparent.
Journalists are among the least trusted people in society. We want to earn your trust by being transparent about why we chose a story, what we don’t yet know, our biases and our mistakes.
Radical transparency applies to our business practices, which is why we share our funding sources, how we spend our money and what we’re grappling with as a company.
Readers who support The Wren financially by becoming members directly support this journalism. Your financial support helps us pay our staff and cover costs like running our website, newsletters, events and social media. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to serve our community with the local news you’ve asked for and deserve.
10. The Wren collaborates to have a larger impact.
We carefully choose stories to ensure we’re filling in gaps in local news coverage, rather than racing to be the first to cover events. We partner with media outlets and other organizations that share our values to pool resources, data and stories. Whenever possible, we make the data behind our investigations open-source and publicly available. The Wren supports press freedom and the rights of journalists to call truth to power without interference.
The Wren is part of the Discourse Community Publishing journalism network, which includes media outlets IndigiNews, Sun Peaks Independent News and The Discourse. We also collaborate with Indiegraf, which supports the growth of indie news entrepreneurs.