In 2021, Teneile Warren, Fitsum Areguy and Phi Doan created insideWaterloo as a home for our region’s diverse stories. The outlet focused on critically analyzing and reporting on issues impacting racialized community members.
On Oct. 17, 2022 the newspaper shuttered its doors for the last time.
It was not a decision made lightly, as three co-founders were forced to shut down due to burnout.
The unsustainable workload proved too much for the tight-knit team. They wanted to recognize their own capacity as individuals and what they would ask for others, this was made clear in their last editorial.
“insideWaterloo started as an idea with Teniele while I was working in mainstream media with The Record,” Areguy said.
Areguy worked as an independent facilitator and inclusion worker, and did a lot of community work while he worked at the Record.
Before Areguy’s time at the Record, he launched Textile magazine, a literary publication that doubled as a mentorship program. Textile published short stories, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and artwork.
After this experience in journalism and community, Areguy wanted to do something different and community oriented.
“We invest in the writers that we work with. I was very passionate about what I would call movement journalism. Journalism that is very political and not afraid to tackle social justice. It comes up with solutions to problems,” Areguy said.
The co-founders of insideWaterloo sought to provide a place for different social movements in the region. It was a place to help those movements grow, and help the activists in those spaces.
According to the editorial staff sometimes their drive had led to burnout. It was a harsh reality to face that insideWaterloo just did not have sustainable means to continue onwards.
In its prime, insideWaterloo was an outlet for historically excluded communities to see themselves be reflected in media.
The managing staff also acknowledges that insideWaterloo was unable to support its writers fully. There were multiple writers who they wanted to collaborate with but were unable to because they too were feeling the effects of burnout.
insideWaterloo worked with a slow news cycle, rather than the 24/7 news cycle in mainstream media.
As a news model, having slow news provides a space for stories to exist and touch people’s lives.
Sometimes the breakneck speed of the news cycle can cause more harm than good to the people whose stories it shares.
According to the news team of insideWaterloo, taking a slow approach allows for marginalized people to grieve, to accept and to connect with each other for the community.
For contributors and readers alike it provides a space to empower the community to tell their own stories with their own voices.
“There’s a saying about how news journalism is the first draft of history, where it’s all first impressions, it doesn’t really always get into the nitty gritty or putting it into perspective and I find myself leaning towards that more and more nowadays,” Doan said.
Although insideWaterloo has come to an end, the co-founders still plan on a future for the paper.
Areguy plans to publish a collection of the most impactful stories.
The co-founders will be putting together stories and publish it to print for readers to purchase for a limited run.
There is also a plan to contextualize certain stories to build up a timeline for insideWaterloo followers.
All in all their goal is to inspire other people to do what insideWaterloo was able to do, but better.