We can’t believe we’re about to turn 20 — and the newest member of our team is taking on a role decades in the making.
From our early days, our morning news stories were handled by a rotating carousel of household helpers — we called them “posters.” They tiptoed into our content management system after we shut off the office lights, caught the following day’s stories from the editors, and plugged them into our site for the first eager eyes come morning. Night owls rejoice!
It was a remote job before working from home was normal. And we wouldn’t be where we are today as a publication without them.
But over the years, as our staff expanded and our daily journalism increased in volume, it became clear it was time to consolidate the posting role into a full-blown staff position.
After sifting through a hefty volume of submissions this summer from emerging journalists, seasoned news media veterans, and people eager to transition their tech and organizational skills into a new industry, we are pleased to say Meg Yamamoto is The Tyee’s new web and copy editor.
Meg’s application stood out from all the rest with her plethora of style knowledge on mental rolodex, her acuity to tease out grammar gone awry, and her sharp eye to fact check the details.
Five days a week, Meg combs through our stories every evening, making sure they’re watertight for the first reader raising a cup of coffee to their screen come morning.
We couldn’t be happier to have her with us — and now, well-versed with The Tyee’s workings after two months familiarizing herself with our relic of a content management system, she’s had time to answer a few of our qs.
The Tyee: Welcome, Meg! Tell us: How did you first come across The Tyee?
Meg Yamamoto: When I moved back to Vancouver in 2012 after more than a decade abroad, I wanted to get caught up on local news but found myself a bit disappointed with the media outlets I’d always read in the past.
A friend told me about The Tyee, so I checked it out — and was immediately hooked. High-quality, in-depth journalism covering issues I cared about, underreported elsewhere? Reader-supported? Yes, please!
What are you most excited about learning and discovering through your new role here?
I’m excited to continue learning about the craft of journalism from the incredibly talented staff and contributors at The Tyee. I’ve been a fan for years as a reader and Builder, so it’s a real privilege to be working with them now.
I also want to discover all there is to know about digital media; my experience has been mostly in the world of print, and I’m eager to broaden it.
You have over two decades of experience as a copy editor, from media to book publishing. What’s the most interesting book you found yourself introduced to by way of this work?
I don’t think I can pick just one. The Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone series by Rick McIntyre (Greystone Books) is a fascinating look at individual animals in that national park’s wolf reintroduction program.
Chad Reimer’s Before We Lost the Lake details the history of Sumas Lake before it was drained to create Fraser Valley farmland (I actually went back and reread this book after the 2021 floods), and Geoff Mynett’s books are also a delight for history buffs. Both are published by Caitlin Press.
And I just love the Lane Winslow Mystery series from TouchWood Editions, charming novels set in post-Second World War Nelson, B.C.
Would you say ecology and environment are big areas of interest for you?
Definitely, and that’s one of the reasons I was so happy to find The Tyee: coverage of local environmental issues. Christopher Pollon’s stories on B.C.’s melting glaciers comes to mind.
You’re a self-proclaimed lover of style guides. What kind of things do you keep an eye out for that Canadian Press style doesn’t address?
CP is fairly comprehensive in addressing style but doesn’t cover much grammar. I watch for the usual suspects: dangling modifiers, lapses in parallel structure, misplaced adverbs, comma splices and the like.
I’m a full-blown style and grammar geek.
And a polyglot! You have a BA in Spanish, which you speak fluently, and are conversational in a handful of other languages. What got you interested in languages? Is there a language you’re learning now?
I think I’ve always been interested in languages, ever since I learned English from watching Sesame Street as a kid. (My first language was Japanese, though sadly I’m not fluent today.) I loved high school French class, unlike most of my peers. In university I took one course in Spanish, discovered [Federico García] Lorca and changed my major.
Currently I am trying to learn gen Z. I always considered “dank” a bad thing, but apparently it can also be a good thing now — I love it when that happens.
Ha, indeed! You lived in Costa Rica for a decade and for a time were the editor of the features and travel section of the English-language Tico Times. What brought you to Costa Rica, and what can you tell us about your time there?
I was at a point in my life where I wanted a change of scenery. I’d visited Costa Rica many years before as a backpacker and loved it, so I took a job doing translations at a language company. Then an editor position opened up at the Tico Times, and that turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.
The people I worked with there were brilliant, so talented and just loads of fun. I learned a lot from them, made lifelong friendships, got to know Costa Rican culture and travelled the country. And sang a lot of karaoke.
I also met my partner in Costa Rica, and we built a house in the jungle and lived there for a year with the sloths, toucans and howler monkeys, before moving here to raise our kids.
You also worked as a Spanish to English translator. Did you find that working in translation led you to discover things about English that you’d never thought about before?
It made me understand that English, despite its maddening irregularities and complex rules, is a very efficient language. The translation in English is always shorter than the original text in Spanish.
One of the most interesting things working in translation brought home to me is how different languages can take separate paths to arrive at an idiom with the same meaning. In English, it’s “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”; in Spanish, it’s “Él que no llora no mama” (He who doesn’t cry doesn’t suckle).
You’re based in North Van these days, and tied to the local community in Vancouver. I recently learned both your kids are in the East Van Panto! What inspires you locally, and what do you love most about the region at large?
Yes, check out the East Van Panto, everyone!
I feel immensely fortunate to live where I do, close to so much nature and sharing space with bears and owls. That inspires me every time I step out my door.
Aside from that, what I love most about the region is the people, the multiculturalism and diversity. I know we’re not perfect or free of intolerance, but overall I think we do a pretty good job of accepting and appreciating our differences here.
Any last thoughts you’d like to add?
I’d like to thank The Tyee’s readers! You are always on my mind as I’m prepping stories for publication.
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