Day 50 - Linda

50 Linda.jpeg

Day 50 - Linda (2nd person I approached)

February 19, 2014 - When I approached Linda, I really didn’t think she was going to talk with me. I offered to show her my Tumblr page, then I showed her my Facebook page. Linda wanted to see what it was all about. She pulled out her own phone and did a Google search. Once Linda was confident that I was legitimate, she agreed to speak with me. It will all make sense in the next paragraph.

Linda was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She lived there until she was 15 years old, and then Linda moved to Massachusetts to attend school. Linda studied journalism (hence the want to understand fully what I was asking her to speak to me about) and American Culture in Chicago. “Studying American Culture was really about political science, the arts, people and really was one of the first programs where you established your own curriculum.” After getting her degree, Linda went to work as an investigative journalist. “I covered a variety of issues, ranging from consumer reports, the arts, to poverty. It was a time when the boss would send you out to cover something and you’d be in the field for months at a time. I worked on a series about what were called the ‘Tennessee Projects’ or low-income housing. I was working with another journalist and we spent about four months gathering information, and two months reporting on our findings. We actually went in, and lived there. It’s about building relationships. That’s how you get the real story. We then published a series of 16 reports based around our findings while there.”

Linda has spent time living in Paris and New York. “I was living in New York in September of 2001. Our home was about 15 blocks away from where the towers fell, and I was pregnant with my second child. There was so much pollution in the days and weeks after that. Initially, we thought of relocating for the duration of my pregnancy. We had spent a number of summers here in Vancouver, and my brother had moved here. It really was just going to be a short-term stay. But I fell in love with this city and have been here ever since.”

In 2007, Linda started what she refers to as “a newsletter,” from her home on her laptop. “In 2009, just before the Olympics, it really started to take off and I am now the CEO of the online news site, the Vancouver Observer. I’m not out reporting now, I’m working in the management of the site. We have a team of people that work very hard to bring the news to our readers,” Linda told me. We chatted about how the city really came alive during the 2010 Winter Olympics; the connections strangers made and the amount of fun and activity that happened every day and night on the streets of downtown Vancouver. We also spoke about how the connections and openness didn’t continue after the Olympics ended.

“I love this city, the mountains, you can’t get better than that. The smell of the air, and how fresh it is. The beauty of nature, all around, in abundance. Walking outside every morning and seeing all that.” I asked Linda what she felt she missed because of living in Vancouver, or what just didn’t make sense. “That it’s not New York. Don't get me wrong, I love it here, but you know, on a Friday or Saturday, when you’re looking for something to do, you have to look harder to find things. There are things happening here, of course. But in New York, there’s so many choices of things to do. That’s what I hope the Vancouver Observer does, help to nurture that here in Vancouver.” #notastranger