The Sprawl is Calgary pop-up journalism. It's crowdfunded, ad-free, and made in Calgary— a reinvention of local journalism in tough times. The 11 principles of the Sprawl Manifesto guide all we do.
We launched in September 2017 to cover Calgary’s municipal election. It began as a zany experiment. And hey, it worked! A surge of community support turned our tiny shop into a stable online magazine.
In 2018, The Sprawl won a national Digital Publishing Award for best news coverage (small newsroom). In 2019, we won another Digital Publishing Award for general excellence in digital publishing. The Sprawl took gold in the "small" category, standing alongside national media heavyweights Maclean's (medium) and CBC News (large).
Today we’re supported by ordinary people—800 monthly members and counting!—who want to see Calgary journalism done differently.
In addition to crowdfunding, in 2018 The Sprawl received $100,000 through the Digital News Innovation Challenge, a partnership between Ryerson University and the Facebook Journalism Project to support emerging news startups in Canada.
The Sprawl is a member of the National NewsMedia Council, a voluntary self-regulatory organization that deals with ethical and journalistic practices in gathering and reporting the news. See mediacouncil.ca or call 1-844-877-1163 for more information.
Who we are
Jeremy is a Calgary journalist who has written about the city for more than 15 years—for the Calgary Herald, Swerve, Metro, CBC, CTV and Monocle, among others.
He grew up in small-town Alberta, attended fundamentalist Christian schools and eagerly subscribed to the right-wing Alberta Report as a teenager. (One of his first email addresses was firstname.lastname@example.org — seriously!) Then he swung the other way: after moving to Calgary, he became a staff writer for the alt-weekly newspaper FFWD (R.I.P.), which once described itself on t-shirts as a purveyor of “leftist commie crap.” At FFWD, Jeremy got his reporting chops and got hooked on municipal politics.
Nowadays Jeremy is deeply suspicious of leaders who are full of certitude (political, religious or otherwise). And for reasons he can’t fully explain, he still can’t get enough of urban affairs and city politics.
Assistant Editor—Ximena González
Ximena Gonzalez has an an eclectic background in architecture, urban planning and communications. She sees her work as a web of knowledge that she continuously shares and builds, where co-operation is at least as important as competition. Since 2018, she’s been using her insights to help The Sprawl grow its membership community, along with planning and editing stories. She makes sure The Sprawl isn't a gong show most of the time.
The Listener—Sam Hester
Sam Hester is a Calgary-based graphic recorder and longtime indie comics creator who has collaborated with a wide range of organizations in Canada. She captures visual stories by drawing upon deep listening skills, a unique graphic style, a passion for community-building… and a lot of markers. She makes The Listener, The Sprawl's comics journalism series.
Art Director/Designer—Chris Pecora
Chris is a design and illustration hybrid (basically, a Prius) creating work for clients across North America as well as plenty of personal projects just for kicks. He aims to bring thoughtful ideas to life using bold shapes, bright colours, humour, and a smattering of texture. chrispecora.com