A screenshot of a news website, with headlines along the left side, and a photo of two people in the centre, headlined, "A note to our readers from the founders of The Coast."
The Coast’s homepage on Wednesday. — Screenshot

The Coast, Halifax’s former print alt-weekly, has been sold to a B.C.-based media company.

Overstory Media Group announced the purchase in a news release on Wednesday, writing, “The acquisition of the acclaimed publication reinforces Overstory’s commitment to supporting and strengthening local news.”

The company owns several media outlets, or brands, in Western Canada, including Capital Daily in Victoria, Vancouver Tech Journal, and Fraser Valley Current.

“We’re excited to welcome The Coast into our community, now coast-to-coast across Canada, and look forward to helping them grow and continue the great work they’re doing for the next 30 years,” Farhan Mohamed, co-founder, and CEO of Overstory Media Group said in the news release.

As Niemen Lab reported in May 2021, Mohamed and co-founder Andrew Wilkinson want “to provide cover (and salaries) for local journalists:”

Mohamed previously served as editor-in-chief and co-owner of the online news site Daily Hive and Wilkinson is a cofounder of Tiny Capital — which owns digital businesses like interface design firm MetaLab, design social network Dribbble, and the podcast app Castro — and launched Capital Daily as a daily local newsletter in his hometown of Victoria, B.C. in 2019. As they saw it, ads made reading local newspapers online a terrible experience and, bloated with syndicated national and regional stories, the coverage wasn’t feeling all that local anyway. Overstory was launched with a different vision: high-quality journalism, starting with a daily newsletter to regularly deliver the local news and events, and expanding from there.

Tiny Capital invested $1 million in Canadaland in 2020, and founder and publisher Jesse Brown told Indigraf that would translate to a 10-16% stake in the company, dependent on performance.

Overstory’s founders told Niemen Lab they hoped to grow to 50 publications by 2023, with 250 journalists. The Coast is Overstory’s largest acquisition to date, according to the company’s news release.

Founded in 1993, The Coast stopped printing weekly at the start of the pandemic in 2020, and shifted to a digital-only model, with the odd special edition on newsstands.

In a note to readers on Wednesday, Coast cofounders Christine Oreskovich and Kyle Shaw wrote that they “struggled to consistently produce an online version of The Coast that achieves the high standards we set for the print edition:”

We knew we needed expert guidance and we felt we owed it to our team and readers to find a partner that could coach and mentor The Coast into being a stronger digital media outlet. Overstory is that partner.

We believe being a part of Overstory’s larger community will help us build up The Coast. During the last two years, we met with many media groups, owners and entrepreneurs learning what makes a small local media brand thrive. We believe Overstory understands the challenges of local media like no other and is committed to hyperlocal digital storytelling as much as we are.

The note suggests The Coast will remain digital-only, and its readers’ choice, burger, and oyster events will carry on.


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Zane Woodford

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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