Create journalism that engages you literally at every opportunity

Carson Ting | BCBusiness

Karm Sumal. Founder, Vancity Buzz

Six years ago, accountant Karm Sumal, 34, and his buddy Manny Bahia, 29, were playing video games in the basement when they decided they should try to figure out how to make money off the Internet. Vancity Buzz, which focused on hyper-local news, was born, and began churning out articles that tell people where to get waffles on International Waffle Day or during exam time, and where’s the best coffee shop that stays open 24 hours. Serious journalism is in the plans—if they can get more advertising and fund it. Sumal thinks he knows what’s going to keep journalism alive at a time when the traditional media is losing its audience.

My Big Idea

“Create journalism that engages you literally at every opportunity.”

People want engagement and we have to feed it. The truth is we’re all so connected these days but at the same time disconnected, and that’s why Vancity Buzz is about connections. What’s going to save journalism? From the outside looking in, what’s going to save it is immediacy. Traditional journalism has trouble connecting with a younger audience. They’ve probably never picked up a newspaper before. I used to read one all the time, every day before school. We have these young readers, people in their 20s, and we don’t need to chase them–that’s what the other media is doing. They’re trying to figure out how to get young readers; we already have them. What we want now is to get the 35-to-50-year-olds. They used to read newspapers and they don’t anymore. We need to give them something they are looking for—such as what they can do around town this weekend—and then something else they weren’t expecting.