The Sprawl is in-depth Calgary journalism. These 11 principles have guided The Sprawl since its inception in 2017 as a “pop-up journalism” experiment.

  1. 1

    We do depth,

    not breadth.

    The Sprawl doesn’t do press release journalism. Instead of trying to cover everything in the city all the time, we make pop-up editions that go deep on specific stories for certain periods of time. Then we fold up our tables and chairs and go away for a bit.

  2. 2

    We do context,

    not clickbait.

    The Sprawl is a local riff on a global movement toward slow journalism”: nuanced, high-quality, curiosity-driven reporting for people who want more than the daily news grind. We ask: How can our journalism deepen Calgarians’ understanding of their city?

  3. 3

    In a world of noise,

    we embrace quiet.

    Periods of silence are built into The Sprawl’s design — and that’s a good thing. No one needs another incessant torrent of fragmented information flying at them. We go quiet so we can return with journalism that’s worth your time.

  4. 4

    We aim to surprise

    and delight.

    Since we have no beast to feed — no next day’s newspaper, no nightly newscast — we’re free to use different platforms and formats for Sprawl storytelling. Instead of just cranking out one article after another, we ask: How might we tell this story in a new way?

  5. 5

    We are constructive,

    not cynical.

    We seek solutions in our reporting rather than just gleefully pointing out mistakes. We ask: As a community, what can we learn from this situation? And how can our journalism contribute to a better, more connected society?



  6. 6

    We reject polarization,

    seeking common ground.

    We’d rather engage people than enrage them. And we’d rather dig beneath labels than unthinkingly apply them. In an age of fear, divisiveness and insularity, we ask: How can we better understand each other?

  7. 7

    We see our members as engaged citizens and local experts, not passive consumers.

    Our journalism isn’t a product that we package up and deliver. That’s the old news model. Instead, we invite readers and listeners into our editorial process, seeking their expertise and insight throughout.

  8. 8

    We question our own

    assumptions and privilege.

    Rather than pretending to be objective, we are upfront about where we come from and how it informs our work, always recognizing that we have more — much more! — to learn. We welcome feedback without defensiveness and own our mistakes.


    Cups of coffee (est.)

  9. 9

    We strive for inclusiveness that goes beyond tokenism.

    The Sprawl is not a voice for the voiceless.” Instead, we recognize that in Alberta, as elsewhere, some voices are heard more than others. We ask: How can we amplify diverse local voices, building reciprocal relationships instead of extracting quotes?

  10. 10

    We don’t put up paywalls.

    We don’t scold anyone on why journalism matters. Instead, we optimistically follow the journalistic maxim of show, don’t tell.” We do the work, then invite you to be part of it by becoming a Sprawl member (if you like what you see, sign up today!).

  11. 11

    We’re a work in progress.

    The Sprawl is not some grand, hidebound journalistic institution. We’re local, nimble and experimental. And we’re always open to change.