Kicking off 2023 with an experiment

We’re trying something new at the top of some of our roundups, as part of our continuing quest to build a sustainable, tech-enabled media business that helps our community understand itself better.

Taproot is experimenting again, as we are wont to do. (Alex Kondratiev/Unsplash)

Instead of a story at the top of the Jan. 17 Food Roundup and the Jan. 18 Health Innovation Roundup, you’ll see a message from the editor pulling together some threads in a meaningful way. We pay a lot of attention to these topics, and sometimes we notice things that aren’t really stories and aren’t really items, but are still worth attention and context. That’s what we’d like to provide at the top of the roundups, in a way that’s more conversational than our usual editorial voice.

We’ll try this again with a couple of other roundups next week to see if we’ve hit on a format that will stick. We’d love to know what you think — send your thoughts to

Why are we doing this?

Change is the Taproot way. We started with long-form features inspired by readers’ questions, and we published them as soon as we had the time and money to put them out, which in the early days was at a pretty slow cadence. Then we introduced roundups, our weekly newsletters gathering items on specific topics, serving readers’ curiosity in a different and more frequent way and opening up a new revenue stream via sponsorship. Their format has evolved over time.

Two years ago, we launched The Pulse, a weekday newsletter that distributes our stories and curates news and items from other sources to help Edmontonians get on with their day in an informed way. That product has become the centre of our editorial work, and its readership is much higher than that of any roundup.

When we started The Pulse, it made sense to distribute the stories that we wrote for the various roundup beats in that newsletter, along with elements that are only distributed in The Pulse, such as some of our city council coverage, our weekly moment in history, and our event listings.

Now we’d like to differentiate the content of The Pulse from that of the roundups, partly for some operational flexibility but also because we think it will be a better experience for readers. We want to encourage you to subscribe to The Pulse for a daily look at what’s happening in Edmonton, and to the roundups for deeper dives into what’s happening in tech, food, health innovation, the region, the arts, and business. You may have a greater incentive to do that with less duplication.

Will we still have stories on our roundup beats?

Many of our story ideas emerge from the topics our readers want us to pay attention to, so we will naturally continue to cover stories that fit our roundup beats, whether this new format sticks around or not. Those stories will continue to be curated into items for the roundups they fit into, as is our practice now.

This gives us the flexibility to publish daily stories that aren’t necessarily related to or timed with a particular roundup. We think this could improve the quality of our work.

What’s next?

We’ll experiment with this for a couple of weeks, then make a call on whether to keep doing it. If we do, that will likely lead to some other changes we’re considering to improve the experience for readers and paying members.

As always, if you’d like to help us go further faster, become a Taproot member or sponsor. You’ll be helping us build what comes next in local journalism.

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