Blog

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 CAJ Awards!

VANCOUVER, May 11, 2014 /CNW/ – The dogged and determined work of CTV News parliamentary bureau’s Robert Fife into the Senate expenses scandal has taken Canada’s top prize for investigative journalism.

Fife’s entry was selected as the best from among the recipients in the investigative categories of the 2013 CAJ Awards, presented Saturday evening by CBC Radio One host Stephen Quinn at the Holiday Inn and Suites Downtown Vancouver. The award is named after Don McGillivray, longtime and founding member of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

In an acceptance video, Fife thanked his colleagues, CTV’s media lawyer and his sources for their support throughout his work on the file. Earlier in the evening, Fife had received the open broadcast news award.

The recipients in all categories of the 2013 awards program are below.

The recipients in the OPEN MEDIA category are:
Selena Ross, Frances Willick
Rehteah Parsons
The Chronicle-Herald, Halifax

And,

Glen McGregor
Senate Expenses Scandal
Ottawa Citizen

The recipient in the COMMUNITY MEDIA category is:

David P. Ball
Cross-Border Coal War
The Tyee

The recipients in the OPEN BROADCAST FEATURE category are:

Garth Mullins, Lisa Hale, Yvonne Gall
The Imaginary Albino
CBC Radio One – Ideas

The recipient in the OPEN BROADCAST NEWS category is:

Robert Fife
Senate Under Scrutiny
CTV News

The recipient in the COMMUNITY BROADCAST category is:

Abigail Bimman
Behind Prison Walls
CTV News – Kitchener

The recipients in the CAJ / MARKETWIRED DATA JOURNALISM AWARD are:

Andrew McIntosh, Kinia Adamczyk
De L’Aide Sociale, Même En Prison
Agence QMI / Journal de Montréal – Bureau d’enquête

The recipients in the ONLINE MEDIA category are:

Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira, Ian Johnson, Eric Foss
Pipeline Safety
CBC News – Online

The recipient in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category is:

Jonathan Hayward
Portfolio entry
The Canadian Press

The recipient in the SCOOP category is:

Robert Fife
Senate Expense Scandal
CTV News

The recipient in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category is:

Mark Ross
Alberta Floods
CBC News Network

The recipient in the TEXT FEATURE category is:

Ryan Maloney
Veteran Says Sacrifice Being Demeaned
Huffington Post Canada

The recipients in the JHR / CAJ AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING are:

Mark Kelley, Lysanne Louter, Tarannum Kamlani, Aileen McBride
Made in Bangladesh
CBC News – The Fifth Estate

The recipients in the CWA CANADA / CAJ AWARD FOR LABOUR REPORTING are:

Kathy Tomlinson, Raj Ahluwalia
RBC Foreign Workers
CBC News – The National

And,

Krystle Alarcon
Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Controversy: Years in the Making
The Tyee

The recipients in the CAJ / CNW GROUP STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE are:

Allison Drinnan, Anna Brooks
Into the Shadows: An Inside Look at Alberta’s Sex Trade Industry
Calgary Journal / Mount Royal University

Consistent with information in the entry package, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total 213 entries for the 2013 awards program.

Congratulations to all our recipients. Your work has been outstanding and once again proves the value of why journalism matters. We thank you for entering.

Read More

Congratulations to all the 2013 CAJ Awards finalists!

OTTAWA, April 7, 2014 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce the finalists for its annual awards for outstanding investigative journalism in Canada for 2013.

The winning entry in most categories will receive a $500 cash prize. The winners in each category will be announced May 10, 2014, at the CAJ Awards gala and conference banquet in Vancouver, part of the #CAJ14 conference at the Holiday Inn and Suites Downtown Vancouver.

Delegates registering for the full conference (May 9-10) in most registration categories get a banquet ticket as part of their registration. Standalone tickets are also available at a cost of $45. Register and purchase tickets today via the conference registration pageEarly bird rates for the conference run until April 25.

The Don McGillivray Award for the best ‘overall’ investigative report for 2013 will also be announced at the awards banquet.

Please note that the media outlet listed is where the finalist worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Finalists are listed alphabetically by media outlet. Links, where available, have been provided in the titles of the finalists’ entries.

The finalists in the OPEN MEDIA category are:

Selena Ross, Frances Willick
Rehtaeh Parsons
The Chronicle-Herald, Halifax

Glen McGregor
Senate Expenses Scandal
Ottawa Citizen

Kevin Donovan, Jayme Poisson, Robyn Doolittle, Jesse McLean, Jennifer Pagliaro, Dale Brazao, Kenyon Wallace, David Bruser, Emily Mathieu, Mary Ormsby
Mayor Rob Ford Investigation
Toronto Star

Kim Bolan
Inside the Angels
Vancouver Sun

Craig Pearson, Trevor Wilhelm
The Way of the Gun
Windsor Star

The finalists in the COMMUNITY MEDIA category are:

Krystle Alarcon, Sam Eifling
Angel’s Story: Trapped in a Violent World
The Tyee

David P. Ball
Cross-Border Coal War
The Tyee

The finalists in the OPEN BROADCAST FEATURE category are:

Timothy Sawa, Marie-Maude Denis, Annie Burns-Pieper, Nicole Reinert
Offshore Exposed
CBC News – Investigative Unit

Adrienne Arsenault, Stephanie Jenzer
Travels in Terror
CBC News – The National

Garth Mullins, Lisa Hale, Yvonne Gall
The Imaginary Albino
CBC Radio One – Ideas

Sandie Rinaldo, Marleen Trotter, Mary Dartis, Brett Mitchell, Anton Koschany
Cheatin’ Hearts
CTV News – W5

Sonia Desmarais, Sylvie Fournier
Force Policière
Radio-Canada – Enquête

The finalists in the OPEN BROADCAST NEWS category are:

Dave Seglins, John Nichol, Heather Evans, Carla Turner, Jeremy McDonald, Brigitte Noel
Rail Safety in Canada
CBC News – Daily Investigations Research Team

Robert Fife
Senate Under Scrutiny
CTV News

Sandie Rinaldo, Litsa Sourtzis, Steve Bandera, Brett Mitchell, Anton Koschany
Crisis in Care – Deadly Care
CTV News – W5

The finalists in the COMMUNITY BROADCAST category are:

Charles Rusnell, Jennie Russell
Imported Politics
CBC News – Edmonton

Geoff Leo, David Horth
Carbon Conflict
CBC News – Saskatchewan

Zach Dubinsky, John Lancaster, Heather Evans, Harvey Cashore
Municipal Muckraking
CBC News – Toronto

Abigail Bimman
Behind Prison Walls
CTV News – Kitchener

The finalists in the CAJ / MARKETWIRED DATA JOURNALISM AWARD are:

Andrew McIntosh, Kinia Adamczyk
De L’Aide Sociale, Même En Prison
Agence QMI / Journal de Montréal – Bureau d’enquête

Anita Elash, Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira, Kimberly Ivany, Romilla Karnick, Sina Zapfe
Rate My Hospital: A Fifth Estate Investigation
CBC News Online / The Fifth Estate

Leslie Young, Anna Mehler Paperny, Kate Grzegorczyk
Crude Awakening
Global News

Jeff Outhit
‘A Question of Life and Death’
Waterloo Region Record

Claire Brownell
Land Grab: How a Bridge Baron Ruined a Neighbourhood
Windsor Star

The finalists in the ONLINE MEDIA category are:

Amber Hildebrandt, Michael Pereira, Ian Johnson, Eric Foss, Joanne Levasseur
Pipeline Safety
CBC News – Online

Christopher Johnson
The End of the World
Globalite Magazine

Patrick Cain
Remembrance Day – Mapping the Dead of Canada’s Wars
Global News

Sunny Freeman
Staking Claim: First Nations and Resource Development in the Ring of Fire
Huffington Post Canada

The finalists in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category are:

Jonathan Hayward
Portfolio entry
The Canadian Press

Shaughn Butts
Portfolio entry
Edmonton Journal

Darryl Dyck
Portfolio entry
Freelance / The Canadian Press

Steve Russell
Portfolio entry
The Toronto Star

The finalists in the SCOOP category are:

Andrew McIntosh
Conversations Secrètes Finalement Révélées
Agence QMI – Bureau d’enquête

Frederic Zalac, Alex Shprintsen, Nicole Reinert, Zach Dubinsky, Harvey Cashore, Doug Husby, Kris Fleerackers, Sheldon Beldick, Emmanuel Marchand
Offshore Secrets: Massive Data Leak Exposes Offshore Financial Secrets
CBC News – Investigative Unit

Robert Fife
Senate Expense Scandal
CTV News

Tara Deschamps, Kelsey Rolfe, Natalie Chu, Robert Cribb
Ontario to Open Up Toronto Institutions’ Food-Safety Records / Bendale Acres Deaths: Outbreaks at Long-Term Facilities Need to be Made Public, Experts Say
Ryerson University / The Toronto Star

The finalists in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category are:

Mark Ross
Alberta Floods
CBC News Network

Jon Wells
Leaving Steel
Hamilton Spectator

Robert Sibley
‘He Just Didn’t Stop;’ Six Dead, Dozen Critical After Collision
Ottawa Citizen

Kim Bolan, Mike Hager
Terror Suspects Marginalized Drug Addicts
Vancouver Sun

The finalists in the TEXT FEATURE category are:

Sydney Loney
Blind and Bullied, But Not Beaten
Chatelaine

Dawn Walton
Lost on the Way to the Holy War
Globe and Mail

Ryan Maloney
Veteran Says Sacrifice Being Demeaned
Huffington Post Canada

Charles Hamilton
School of Last Resort
The StarPhoenix, Saskatoon

The finalists in the JHR / CAJ AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING are:

Mark Kelley, Lysanne Louter, Tarannum Kamlani, Aileen McBride
Made in Bangladesh
CBC News – The Fifth Estate

Brennan Leffler, Kirk Neff, Jonathan Wong, Laurie Few, Nisha Pahuja
Bus Rape Outrage
Global – 16X9

Carol Sanders
When Hope Runs Out
Winnipeg Free Press

The finalists in the CWA CANADA / CAJ AWARD FOR LABOUR REPORTING are:

Kathy Tomlinson, Raj Ahluwalia
RBC Foreign Workers
CBC News – The National

Richard Littlemore
Union 2.0
Globe and Mail

Krystle Alarcon
Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Controversy: Years in the Making
The Tyee

Gordon Hoekstra
Asbestos Safety Often Ignored
Vancouver Sun

The finalists in the CAJ / CNW GROUP STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE are:

Hannah Kost, Danielle Semrau
The Faith of Pam Rocker
Calgary Journal / Mount Royal University

Allison Drinnan, Anna Brooks
Into the Shadows: An Inside Look at Alberta’s Sex Trade Industry
Calgary Journal / Mount Royal University

Alexandra Posadzki
Chill Pills: The Dangers of Benzodiazepines
The Canadian Press / Ryerson University

Laura Hubbard, Kate McKenna, Natascia Lypny, Emily Kitagawa, Tari Wilson, Rana Encol, Luke Orrell
Warehoused
Huffington Post Canada / University of King’s College

Sam Pinto
Quebec Charter Faces Opposition in McGill Community
The McGill Tribune / McGill University

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total 213 entries for the 2013 awards program.

Congratulations to all our finalists. Your work has been outstanding and we thank you for entering. We hope to see you in Vancouver.

Read More

CAJ fears for local news in B.C. after Kamloops closure

Jan. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is disappointed Glacier Media is abandoning its news operations in Kamloops, B.C. The company announced Jan. 6 it had issued a 60-day notice to its employees it would be ceasing operations in Kamloops and closing the Kamloops Daily News. The daily newspaper has over 80 years under its belt and was purchased by Glacier Media as part of its acquisition of Hollinger Canadian Newspapers, LP in 2006.

This decision highlights a disturbing trend of newspaper publishers choosing to shut down newsrooms rather than choose other less-drastic measures of reducing their costs of production. It extinguishes a voice in the media landscape in communities where the choices are already few.

"The CAJ understands the financial challenges involved in producing high-quality local news and information that advertisers and subscribers are willing to pay for," CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. "However, it's a sad day for the state of media and journalism in Canada when the easy choice is to close up shop and walk away rather than find other ways of continuing to serve a community in some fashion."

The CAJ is increasingly concerned with the number of newspaper closures in small- to medium-sized communities across Canada. It fears Monday's announcement will not be the last in the coming months as owners review their year-end financials and move to improve their bottom lines. Newspapers have closed in every Canadian province over the past two years and the void left by their absence in the local news market has often been left empty.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing over 600 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

For further information: Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president -519-535-8680 cell, hugo@caj.ca

Read More

Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 CAJ Awards!

OTTAWA, May 4, 2013 / CNW / A fulsome investigation into a former Halifax mayor’s role as executor of a family friend’s estate has taken the Canadian Association of Journalists’ top prize for investigative journalism in 2012.

Tim Bousquet, of The Coast in Halifax, N.S., was the recipient of the 2012 Don McGillivray Award, which recognizes the best of the recipients in the investigative categories that are part of the CAJ Awards program. Bousquet accepted the award via Skype from his home, speaking to the audience at the CAJ’s annual conference banquet and awards gala. The gala was held at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa on the second day of #CAJ2013.

Bousquet had earlier been honoured as the recipient of the community newspaper category, recognizing investigative work done by journalists in newspapers with an average circulation under 25,000 or that are published fewer than five days a week. His entry focused on former mayor Peter Kelly’s questionable management of a family friend’s estate after her death.

Also announced Saturday were the recipients in 14 other investigative and general excellence categories. Please find these listed below. The CAJ congratulates all recipients and finalists for their amazing work published and broadcast across all media in the 2012 calendar year.

The recipients in the OPEN NEWSPAPER / WIRE SERVICE category are:

Stephen Maher, Glen McGregor
Dirty election tricks revealed
Postmedia News

The recipient in the COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER category is:

Tim Bousquet
A trust betrayed
The Coast – Halifax, NS

The recipient in the MAGAZINE category is:

Alison Motluk
Is egg donation dangerous?
Maisonneuve Magazine

The recipients in the OPEN TELEVISION (UNDER FIVE MINUTES RUNTIME) category are:

Robert Fife, Philip Ling
XL Foods investigation
CTV News

The recipients in the OPEN TELEVISION (OVER FIVE MINUTES RUNTIME) category are:

Gil Shochat, Alex Shprintsen, Joseph Loeiro
Fatal Deception
CBC News – Investigative Unit

The recipient in the REGIONAL TELEVISION category is:

Melissa Brousseau
Breaking the mold
CBC North – Maamuitaau

The recipient in the OPEN RADIO NEWS OR CURRENT AFFAIRS category is:

Alison Motluk
Wanted: Egg donor in good health
CBC Radio – The Sunday Edition

The recipient in the CAJ / MARKETWIRED DATA JOURNALISM AWARD is:

Steve Buist
Condition critical
Hamilton Spectator

The recipient in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category is:

Darryl Dyck
Portfolio
Freelance / The Canadian Press

The recipient in the SCOOP category is:

Jim Bronskill
Canada’s torture memos
The Canadian Press

The recipient in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category is:

Kim Bolan
Brazen killing may be gang retaliation / Sandip Duhre was shot to death
Vancouver Sun

The recipient in the PRINT FEATURE category is:

Jon Wells
He sang with all his heart
Hamilton Spectator

The recipients in the JHR / CAJ AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING are:

Nahlah Ayed, Diane Grant
Seeking safety
CBC News – The National

The recipients in the CWA CANADA / CAJ AWARD FOR LABOUR REPORTING are:

Greig de Peuter, Nicole Cohen, Enda Brophy
Interns, unite! (you have nothing to lose – literally)
Briarpatch

The recipient in the CAJ / CNW GROUP STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE is:

Marc Ellison
The Girls of War
Toronto Star / Carleton University

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total 177 entries for the 2012 awards program. Look for information about the 2013 program before the end of this calendar year.

Read More

Congratulations to all the 2012 CAJ Awards finalists!

OTTAWA, April 8, 2013 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce the full list of finalists for its annual awards for outstanding investigative journalism in Canada for 2012.

The winning entry in most categories will receive a $500 cash prize. The winners in each category will be announced May 4, 2013, at the CAJ Awards gala and conference banquet in Ottawa, part of the #CAJ2013 conference at the Westin Hotel Ottawa.

There are three remaining categories (community newspaper, TV over five minutes and radio news / current affairs) whose results will be announced as soon as possible. Look for another release with the full 15 categories of finalists the week of April 8.

Recipients will be announced by Evan Solomon, host of CBC News Network’s Power and Politics and CBC Radio One’s The House. Delegates registering for the full conference May 3-5 in most registration categories get a banquet ticket as part of their registration. Standalone tickets are also available at a cost of $85. Register and purchase tickets today via the conference registration pageEarly bird rates for the conference end on April 19.

The Don McGillivray Award for the best ‘overall’ investigative report for 2012 will also be announced at the awards banquet.

Please note that the media outlet listed is where the finalist worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Finalists are listed alphabetically by media outlet.

Finalists in the community newspaper, radio news or current affairs and open television over five minutes runtime are now listed below. We also amended several listings to correct typos and incorrect attributions—our apologies to those whose listings were incorrect.

The finalists in the OPEN NEWSPAPER / WIRE SERVICE category are:

Andrew McIntosh, Kinia Adamczyk
Le Vieux Port en Eaux Troubles: Dépenses, Voyages, Repas, Contrats
Agence QMI

Stephen Maher, Glen McGregor
Dirty election tricks revealed
Postmedia News

Colin Perkel
Sunnybrook Veterans’ Centre
The Canadian Press

Robert Cribb
Life or death: Who decides?
Toronto Star

The finalists in the COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER category are:

Heather Rivers
The sad truth: Prescription drug abuse
Sentinel-Review – Woodstock, Ont.

Tim Bousquet
A trust betrayed
The Coast – Halifax, NS

Susan Gamble
The Chinging Cycle
The Expositor – Brantford, Ont.

David P. Ball
Activism is in the blood, says tar sands warrior
Windspeaker

The finalists in the MAGAZINE category are:

Alex Roslin
Japan’s irradiated fish worry B.C. experts
The Georgia Straight

Corinne Cécilia
Une âme universelle
Maison et Demeure

Alison Motluk
Is egg donation dangerous?
Maisonneuve Magazine

Frances Bula
The Tipping Point
Vancouver Magazine

The finalists in the OPEN TELEVISION (UNDER FIVE MINUTES RUNTIME) category are:

Rob Smith
Elder suicide
APTN National News

Joanne Levasseur, Gosia Sawicka, Leif Larsen
Winnipeg thermography clinic ordered to stop operating
CBC News – Manitoba

Natalie Clancy
Bogus Botox
CBC News – Vancouver

Robert Fife, Philip Ling
XL Foods investigation
CTV News

The finalists in the OPEN TELEVISION (OVER FIVE MINUTES RUNTIME) category are:

Gil Shochat, Alex Shprinsten, Joseph Loiero
Fatal Deception
CBC News – Investigative Unit

Andeas Wesley, Erica Johnson, Marlene McArdle, Alan Jones
What FX?
CBC News – Marketplace

Litsa Sourtzis, Sandie Rinaldo, Melissa Martin
Senior’s Moments
CTV – W5

Alain Gravel, Emmanuel Marchand, Daniel Tremblay
Ma Mafia au Canada
Radio-Canada – Enquête

The finalists in the REGIONAL TELEVISION category are:

Anthony Germain, Gary Quigley, Marilyn Boone, Heather Barrett, Peter Gullage, Bernice Hillier
A story of survival
CBC News – Newfoundland and Labrador

John Lancaster, Anu Singh
Murder of Dr. Goel
CBC News – Toronto

Melissa Brousseau
Breaking the mold
CBC North – Maamuitaau

The finalists in the OPEN RADIO NEWS OR CURRENT AFFAIRS category are:

Peter Cowan
Peter Penashue election spending problems
CBC News – Newfoundland and Labrador

Nancy Thomson
Yukon foreign workers
CBC North

Alison Motluk
Wanted: Egg donor in good health
CBC Radio – The Sunday Edition

Nicole Ireland
Citizenship: On hold
CBC News – Thunder Bay

The finalists in the CAJ / MARKETWIRE DATA JOURNALISM AWARD are:

Leslie Young, Jackson Proskow
Gardiner Expressway – Trouble overhead
Global News

Steve Buist
Condition critical
Hamilton Spectator

Jeff Outhit
Red alert / Cameras about safety not cash, politicians say
Waterloo Region Record

The finalists in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category are:

Larry Wong
Portfolio
Edmonton Journal

Darryl Dyck
Portfolio
Freelance / The Canadian Press

Peter Power
Portfolio
Globe and Mail

Steve Russell
Portfolio
Toronto Star

The finalists in the SCOOP category are:

Nigel Newlove
Deleted Blackberry messages
APTN  National News

Amy Stoodley, Kathy Porter, Rob Antle, Jen White, Paul Pickett
Thermography investigation
CBC News – Newfoundland and Labrador

Margaret Munro
Scientist muzzled, report says
Postmedia News

Jim Bronskill
Canada’s torture memos
The Canadian Press

Steve Rennie
Sky’s the limit? Report alleges nursing station used medical flights to shop
The Canadian Press

The finalists in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category are:

Mark Gollom
Israel and Hamas, the diplomatic dance behind the deal
CBCNews.ca

Nancy Waugh
Teen in chains
CBC News – Nova Scotia

John Lancaster, Christopher Williams
Caught on tape
CBC News – Toronto

Kim Bolan
Brazen killing may be gang retaliation / Sandip Duhre was shot to death
Vancouver Sun

The finalists in the PRINT FEATURE category are:

Sharon Kirkey
When the hurting won’t stop: How chronic physical pain drove a teen to take his life
Postmedia News

Jon Wells
He sang with all his heart
Hamilton Spectator

Dawn Walton
A father’s one-on-one with his son’s kidnapper
The Globe and Mail

Cheryl Rossi
Liquor lifeline
Vancouver Courier

The finalists in the JHR / CAJ AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING are:

Diana Swain, Timothy Sawa, Annie Burns-Pieper
Unnatural selection
CBC News – Investigative team

Geoff Leo
Blind spot: What happened to Canada’s Aboriginal fathers?
CBC News Network

Nahlah Ayed, Diane Grant
Seeking safety
CBC News – The National

The finalists in the CWA CANADA / CAJ AWARD FOR LABOUR REPORTING are:

Greig de Peuter, Nicole Cohen, Enda Brophy
Interns, unite! (you have nothing to lose – literally)
Briarpatch

Lysanne Louter, Adrienne Arsenault
A murky world
CBC News – The National

Kathryn May
Unions see a war coming in shifting political landscape
Ottawa Citizen

The finalists in the CAJ / CNW GROUP STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE are:

Amar Shah, Derrick DeBolster
Voter apathy in Ontario
RogersTV London, Ont. / Fanshawe College

Carly Wignes
Treaty Troubles
TheTyee.ca / Langara College

Marc Ellison
The Girls of War
Toronto Star / Carleton University

Andrew Pickup, Gena Holley, Kate McKenna, Rachel Ward, Blair Barrington, Jennifer MacNeil, Molly Gibson-Kirby, Ernie Robinson, Matt Mabee, Emma Lavender, Aaron MacDonald, Troy Power, Matt Jamieson, Connor Balcome, Jon Bolduc, Kendra Lovegrove, Mackenzie Scrimshaw, Alison Chiang, Becky Dingwell, Keili Bartlett, Chelsea Gutzman, Philippa Wolff and others
HRMVotes.ca
University of King’s College / Nova Scotia Community College

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total 177 entries for the 2012 awards program.

Congratulations to all our finalists. Your work has been outstanding and we thank you for entering. We hope to see you in Ottawa.

Read More

Congratulations to the winners of the 2011 CAJ Awards!

TORONTO, April 28, 2012 /CNW/ – A reporting team from the Hamilton Spectator has won Canada’s top investigative reporting award for the second year in a row.

Steve Buist and Teri Pecoskie won the Canadian Association of Journalists’ Don McGillivray Award for their series titled, “BORN: A Code Red Project.” It examined reams of public data on pregnancy and births and turned them into compelling articles, pictures and online content on just how well – or not – mothers and their children are faring across Ontario.

The duo were among 16 awards presented at the annual CAJ awards gala.

The recipient in most categories received a $500 cash prize. They were announced Saturday, at the CAJ Awards gala and conference banquet in Toronto, part of the 2012 CAJ conference at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

The liveblog replay of the awards ceremony is available here.

Winning entries were presented by Global National anchor and executive editor Dawna Friesen who was the evening’s MC. The inaugural jhr / CAJ Human Rights Reporting Award and the inaugural CWA Canada / CAJ Labour Reporting Award were also presented with thanks to each award’s sponsoring partner.

The winner of the CWA Canada / CAJ Labour Reporting Award won $1,000 cash prize. The winner of the jhr / CAJ Human Rights Reporting Award won a $500 cash prize and will travel with jhr to one of its African project sites in the coming year. She will also be invited to the 2013 CAJ conference to share her experiences.

The Don McGillivray Award for the best ‘overall’ investigative report for 2011 was judged from the winners of the open newspaper / wire, community newspaper, open television (under 5 minutes), open television (over 5 minutes), magazine, open radio news / current affairs, regional television and CAJ / Marketwire CAR categories.

Please note that the media outlet listed is where the finalist worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Finalists are listed alphabetically by media outlet.

Investigative categories:

The winners in the OPEN TELEVISON (less than 5 minutes) category are:
Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson
Barrera Carsons
APTN National News

The winners in the OPEN NEWSPAPER category are:

Steve Buist, Teri Pecoskie
Born: A Code Red project
Hamilton Spectator
 

The winner in the COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER category is:

Steve Bonspiel
Local tobacco giant busted
The Eastern Door (Khanawake)

The winner in the OPEN TELEVISION (greater than 5 minutes) category is:

Timothy Sawa, Diana Swain, Angela Gilbert
Scout’s Honour
CBC – the fifth estate

The winner in the MAGAZINE category is:

Selena Ross
Getting Plowed
Maisonneuve Magazine

The winners in the REGIONAL TELEVISON category are:

Charles Rusnell, Grant Gelinas
Pork barrel politics
CBC Edmonton

The winners in the OPEN RADIO NEWS/CURRENT AFFAIRS category are:

Charles Rusnell, Grant Gelinas
Crown conduct
CBC Edmonton

The winners in the CAJ/Marketwire COMPUTER-ASSISTED REPORTING (CAR) category are:

Andrew McIntosh, Kinia Adamczyk
On mange bien à Terrebonne
QMI Agency

Excellence in journalism categories

The winner in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category is:

Kim Bolan
Bacon brother shot dead in Kelowna
Vancouver Sun

The winner in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category is:

Steve Russell
Portfolio entry
Toronto Star

The winner in the PRINT FEATURE category is:

Andrew Stobo Sniderman
Residential schools: Survivors share the pain
Montreal Gazette

The winners in the SCOOP category are:

Natalie Clancy and Manjula Dufresne
Broken Mounties
CBC Vancouver

The winner for the inaugural jhr / CAJ AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING is:

Alison Crawford
The eyes of Rosa and Antonio
CBC Radio One – Dispatches

The winner for the inaugural CWA CANADA / CAJ LABOUR REPORTING AWARD is:

Rachel Mendleson
Income inequality and the decline of unions
Huffington Post Canada

The winner for the CAJ/CNW STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE is:

Matt DiMera
Dismissed! Student association settles RAF lawsuit
The Runner, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, B.C.

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total of 107 journalists (individuals or team) who submitted a total of 126 entries for the 2011 awards program.

Congratulations to all our winners. Your work has been outstanding, inspiring and we thank you for entering.

Read More

Congratulations to the 2011 CAJ Awards finalists!

OTTAWAMarch 29, 2012 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce all of the finalists for its annual awards for outstanding investigative journalism in Canada for 2011.

The winning entry in most categories will receive a $500 cash prize. The winners in each category will be announced April 28, 2012, at the CAJ Awards gala and conference banquet in Toronto, part of the 2012 CAJ conference at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

We are thrilled that Global National anchor and executive editor Dawna Friesen will be the evening's MC. Information on tickets is available as part of the conference registration pageEarly bird rates for the conference end on April 5—that's only a week away!

The Don McGillivray Award for the best 'overall' investigative report for 2011, judged from the winners of the open newspaper / wire, community newspaper, open television (under 5 minutes), open television (over 5 minutes), magazine, open radio news / current affairs, regional television and CAJ / Marketwire CAR categories, will also be announced at the awards banquet.

Please note that the media outlet listed is where the finalist worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Finalists are listed alphabetically by media outlet.

The finalists in the final group of categories are below, followed by finalists in the categories previously announced on March 27.

The finalists in the OPEN TELEVISON (less than 5 minutes) category are:

Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson
Barrera Carsons
APTN National News

Alex FreedmanJoanne Levasseur, Vera-Lynn Kubinec
Pesticides found in Canadian organic produce
CBC Manitoba

Janis Mackey Frayer
Bodies discovered
CTV News

The finalists in the OPEN NEWSPAPER category are:

Steve Buist, Teri Pecoskie
Born: A Code Red project
Hamilton Spectator

Jon Wells
Darkness on Indian Trail
Hamilton Spectator

Margaret Munro
Feds muzzle scientist over salmon study
Postmedia News - Vancouver

Moira Welsh, Jesse McLean, Andrew Bailey
Abuse in nursing homes
Toronto Star

Larry Pynn
In the wake of a plague
Vancouver Sun

The finalists in the COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER category are:

Steve Bonspiel
Local tobacco giant busted
The Eastern Door (Khanawake)

Tim Petruk
28 seconds: Inside the shooting death of Wilbert Bartley
Kamloops This Week

Heather Rivers
Foster children: In their own words
Sentinel-Review (Woodstock, Ont.)

David P. Ball
'Getting into bed' with police risky for queer community, activists say
Xtra!

Cheryl Rossi
Wild life lessons
Vancouver Courier

The finalists in the OPEN TELEVISION (greater than 5 minutes) category are:

Kathleen Martens
Residential school lawyers
APTN Investigates

Timothy Sawa
Scout's Honour
CBC - the fifth estate

Greg Sadler
Cure or con?
CBC - Marketplace

Adrienne Arsenault
Mexico's deadly explosion
CBC - The National

Robert Osborne, Victor Malarek, Patti-Ann Finlay
Above the law
CTV W5

The finalists in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category are:

Bob Keating
Cameras in trees
CBC Radio - Nelson, B.C.

Rob Brown
Stanley Cup riot
CTV - BC

Kim Bolan
Bacon brother shot dead in Kelowna
Vancouver Sun

Finalists in the following categories were previously announced on March 27.

The finalists in the MAGAZINE category are:

Corinne Cécilia
Quand education rime avec protection
Education Canada

Alex Roslin
Portfolio entry
Georgia Straight

Selena Ross
Getting Plowed
Maisonneuve Magazine

The finalists in the REGIONAL TELEVISON category are:

Charles Rusnell, Grant Gelinas
Pork barrel politics
CBC Edmonton

John Lancaster
Throwaway buildings
CBC Toronto

The finalists in the OPEN RADIO NEWS/CURRENT AFFAIRS category are:

Charles Rusnell, Grant Gelinas
Crown conduct
CBC Edmonton

Gillian Findlay, Chris Wodskou, Aaron Brindle
Remy's wake
CBC Radio One - The Current

The finalists in the CAJ/Marketwire COMPUTER-ASSISTED REPORTING (CAR) category are:

Glen McGregor
OC Transpo's waiting game
Ottawa Citizen

Andrew McIntosh, Kinia Adamczyk
On mange bien à Terrebonne
QMI Agency

Lily SangsterEzra BlackDane ButlerBrittney Teasdale, Alex Boates, Schenley Brown, Andrei Dezsi, Corbett Hancey, Patrick Odell, Tim van der Kooi, Geoff Bird, Fred Vallance-Jones
902911
University of King's College / The Coast

The finalists in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category are:

Darryl Dyck
Portfolio entry
The Canadian Press

Larry Wong
Portfolio entry
Edmonton Journal

Rick Madonik
Portfolio entry
Toronto Star

Steve Russell
Portfolio entry
Toronto Star

Joe Bryksa
Portfolio entry
Winnipeg Free Press

The finalists in the PRINT FEATURE category are:

Andrew Stobo Sniderman
Residential schools: Survivors share the pain
Montreal Gazette

Sarah Schmidt
Energy drinks
Postmedia News

Michelle Shephard
Somalia: Where famine is a crime
Toronto Star

Mary Agnes Welch
Sniff: Life at rock bottom
Winnipeg Free Press

The finalists in the SCOOP category are:

Tiar Wilson
Fire Story
APTN National News

Natalie Clancy and Manjula Dufresne
Broken Mounties
CBC Vancouver

Ian MacLeod
Toxic Legacy
Ottawa Citizen

Gagandeep Ghuman
Dike seepage finally gets $90,000
The Squamish Reporter

Kim Bolan
Wanted gang killer slips into B.C.
The Vancouver Sun

The finalists for the inaugural jhr / CAJ AWARD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS REPORTING are:

Steven Rennie
Kandahar school numbers don't add up
The Canadian Press

Alison Crawford
The eyes of Rosa and Antonio
CBC Radio One - Dispatches

David Gutnick
The Gristle in the Stew
CBC Radio One - Sunday Edition

The finalists for the inaugural CWA CANADA / CAJ LABOUR REPORTING AWARD are:

Kim Johnson, producer
Perks of living in a union town
CBC Windsor

Steve Buist
Ghosts at the gate
Hamilton Spectator

Rachel Mendleson
Income inequality and the decline of unions
Huffington Post Canada

Nicholas Hune-Brown
The housekeepers revolt
Toronto Life Magazine

The finalists for the CAJ/CNW STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE are:

Adela TalbotLauren Pelley, Sean Leathong, Heather Young, Jared Lindzon, Nicole CaseAngela Richardson, Alex Ballingall, Fan-Yee Suen, Trevor MelansonBrian MoskowitzBethany Cairns, Edward von Aderkas, Mariam AhmedStefanie Masotti, Alineh Haindrey
A Good Death: Palliative care in Canada
CBC.ca / University of Western Ontario

Matt DiMera
Dismissed! Student association settles RAF lawsuit
The Runner, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, B.C.

Dylan C. Robertson
No place like home?
The Varsity, University of Toronto

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total of 107 journalists (individuals or team) who submitted a total of 126 entries for the 2011 awards program.

Congratulations to all our finalists. Your work has been outstanding and we thank you for entering. We hope that you are able to attend this year's CAJ conference and/or awards gala to be held at the Fairmont Royal York April 27-29.

Read More

Congratulations to the 2010 CAJ Awards finalists!

OTTAWA, May 1, 2011 /CNW/ – The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce the final groups of finalists for its annual awards for outstanding investigative journalism in Canada for 2010.

The finalists in the two categories below join finalists in 12 other categories whose accomplishments were announced April 29. This release includes all finalists for all categories for the 2010 CAJ awards.

 

The finalists in the PRINT category are:

Kim Bolan
A Killer Seeks Redemption
Vancouver Sun

Sherri Borden Colley
Unintentional Activist
Chronicle Herald (Halifax)

Robert Cribb
The Outsiders
Toronto Star

 

The finalists in the OPEN TELEVISON (less than 5 minutes) category are:

Nazim Baksh and John Lancaster
Driving Under the Influence
CBC News: Toronto

Gillian Findlay, Lucy Lopez, Angela Gilbert, Nazim Baksh, Bill Gillespie
Pakistan International Airline Threat
CBC News: The National

Timothy Sawa, Angela Gilbert, Nicholas Stein, Diana Swain
Big Tobacco and Canadian Warning Labels
CBC News: The National

Diana Swain, Nicole Rogers, Carmen Merrifield
Child Prisoners of War
CBC News: The National

Kathy Tomlinson
Justice Denied
CBC News: Vancouver

The winning entry in each category will receive a $500 cash prize. The winners in each category will be announced May 14, 2011, at the CAJ Awards Banquet in Ottawa.

The Don McGillivray Award for the best ‘overall’ investigative report for 2010 will also be announced at the awards banquet.

Please note that the media outlet listed is where the finalist worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Finalists are listed alphabetically.

 

The finalists in the OPEN NEWSPAPER category are:

Dale Brazao and Moira Welsh
Retirement Home Squalor: How Can This Happen?
Toronto Star

David Bruser, Andrew Bailey, Michele Henry
Above the Law
Toronto Star

Steve Buist
Code Red
The Hamilton Spectator

Helen Fallding
No Running Water
Winnipeg Free Press

Colin Perkel
One Bomb, Many Lives
The Canadian Press

 

The finalists in the COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER category are:

Steve Bonspiel
Mohawk council Turns up Heat on Non-Natives
The Eastern Door

Elliot Ferguson
Rebuilding Haiti
Woodstock Sentinel-Review

Cam Fortems
Mike Rink Story
Kamloops Daily News

Gagandeep Ghuman
Playing with Fire
The Squamish Reporter

Gordon Hoekstra
Metis Property Sale and Offers
Prince George Citizen

 

The finalists in the OPEN TELEVISION (greater than 5 minutes) category are:

Lynn Burgess
Getting Away with Murder
CBC News: The National

Marie Caloz
Out of Control & Behind the Wall
CBC News: The fifth estate

John Kastner
Life With Murder
CTV/JS Kastner Productions

Emmanuel Marchand, Alain Gravel, Daniel Tremblay
Construction Mafia
Radio-Canada

Alex Shprintsen and Frederic Zalac
Dead Tired
CBC News: The National

 

The finalists in the REGIONAL TELEVISON category are:

Susana DaSilva, Lisa Johnson, Stephen Smart, Paisley Woodward
Appetite for Safety
CBC News: Vancouver

Deanne Fleet
The Winter Commission
CBC News: Newfoundland and Labrador

Alex Freedman and Vera-Lynn Kubinec
Photocopier Privacy
CBC News: Manitoba

Chris Goldrick and Simon Gardner
Contractor Investigation
CBC News: Ottawa

John Lancaster and Nazim Baksh
Death in a Community
CBC News: Toronto

 

The finalists in the OPEN RADIO NEWS/CURRENT AFFAIRS category are:

Scott Dippel
Power, Parties and the Paranoia at ENMAX
CBC Radio News – Calgary

Gino Harel
Culture 420
Radio-Canada

Robert Jones
Stalled Review
CBC Radio – New Brunswick

Maureen Matthews
Wihtigo: Cree Ideas About Cannibalism
CBC Radio – Ideas

Curt Petrovich
Fake Jobs, Failed Dreams
CBC News: The World at Six

 

The winners in the CAJ/Marketwire COMPUTER-ASSISTED REPORTING (CAR) category are:

Jeff Outhit and Cherri Greeno
Calls of Duty
The Record

 

The finalists in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category are:

Joe Bryksa
No Running Water
Winnipeg Free Press

Peter Power
Photojournalism Portfolio
The Globe and Mail

Louie Palu
The Cost of War
Zuma Press

 

The finalists in the MAGAZINE category are:

Alex Roslin
The Meat of the Matter
The Georgia Straight

Cecil Rosner
Isolation
Canada’s History Magazine

 

The finalists in the FAITH AND SPIRITUALITY category are:

Bob Keating
Those Who Trespass Against Us
CBC Radio, Nelson

Maureen Matthews
Wihtigo: Cree Ideas About Cannibals
CBC Radio – Ideas

Karen Pauls
Uncovering Hidden Graves
CBC News: The World at Six

Robert Sibley
Reborn From the Belly of the Earth
The Ottawa Citizen

Tiar Wilson
Big Dam
APTN National News

 

The finalists in the SCOOP category are:

Bruce Cheadle and Jim Bronskill
The Pardon of Graham James
The Canadian Press

Steven Edwards
Secret Khadr Plea Deal Revealed
Postmedia Network

Lindsay Kines and Les Leyne
The Pickton Report
Times Colonist

Margaret Munro
Ottawa’s Media Rules Muzzling Federal Scientists
Postmedia News

Nicholas Stein, Diana Swain, Anita Mielewczyk
Accused Ponzi Schemer Won’t be Prosecuted
CBC News: The National

 

The finalists in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category are:

Larissa Burnouf
First Nations University Crisis
APTN News

Lisa Laflamme
G20: Weekend of Mayhem
CTV National News

Lee Pitts
Hurricane Igor
CBC News: Here and Now

Dave Seglins, Julie Crysler and David Millan
Commander to Convict: The Russell Williams Story
CBC News: The World at Six

Connie Watson
Capsized School Ship: Survivor Stories
CBC News: The World This Weekend

 

The finalists for the CAJ/CNW Student Award of Excellence are:

Dylan C. Robertson
Sweeping changes proposed for A&S
University of Toronto

Aly Thomson, Jonathan Charlton, Geoff Davies, Casey Dorrell, Mike Gorman, Alan Hale, Kathleen Hunter, Jessica Ilse, Laura MacKenzie, Adam Miller, Jennifer Pawluk, Lesley Pike, Vincenzo Ravina, Lucy Scholey, Kyle Wells and James Whitehead
Terminal Disease
University of King’s College Investigative Workshop

Stuart Thomson and Laura Osman
Heron Gate residents plead for help
Algonquin College

Congratulations to all our finalists so far. Your work has been outstanding and we thank you for entering. We hope that you are able to attend this year’s CAJ conference and/or awards gala to be held at the Sheraton Hotel Ottawa May 13-15.

Read More

Guidelines for personal activity online

Report of the Ethics Advisory Committee of The Canadian Association of Journalists

February 4, 2011

PANEL MEMBERS | TIM CURRIE, CHAIR; BERT BRUSER, ELLEN VAN WAGENINGEN

The Ethics Committee of the CAJ asked its Social Media Panel to propose guidelines for personal activity online. To study this issue, the panel looked at social media policies at major news organizations, the opinions of leading commentators and working reporters.

THE ISSUE

If you’re a reporter over 35, an employer likely told you not to post campaign signs on your lawn, attend public rallies or sport bumper stickers. The advice was meant to portray you — and your employer — as independent and without bias.

Reporters are expected to set aside their biases in order to report fairly and impartially. But the perception of impartiality can be difficult to maintain as we use more social media in our personal and professional lives. Bumper stickers and rallies now take the form of Foursquare participation badges and Facebook allegiances. The Internet captures our participation in groups, advocacy of causes and connections to people.

Consider the following scenarios:

  • A city hall reporter covering budget deliberations uses a personal Facebook account to “like” a page calling for a new city-funded playground
  • A reporter using a personal Twitter account follows only two of three candidates running in her riding
  • A business reporter has become the Foursquare “mayor” of a neighbourhood Starbucks (as a result of frequent virtual “check-ins”)

There is considerable debate as to the extent — or existence — of an ethical issue for the reporter in these situations.

Can she report with impartiality? Most would agree she can. Reporters, as citizens, have personal opinions, political leanings and family interests. However, like judges or doctors, they should put those aside and pursue evidence-based conclusions.

The greater issue is whether they are seen by the public to be impartial. Some social media advocates say the new standard for credibility online is a record of transparency in declaring one’s personal interests — not a “veil” of impartiality. Many traditional news organizations argue that a perception of complete independence is crucial to one’s journalistic reputation.

Experts acknowledge that while users can maintain separate profiles online, the public sees only one. The issue, then, is how, or if, reporters should reconcile their personal Internet use with their professional use — and what guidelines they can follow.

BACKGROUND

Social media can be a powerful asset to reporters in their newsgathering. They can speed the process and broaden a reporter’s network of sources.

In April 2007, Washington Post reporter Meg Smith used her personal Facebook account to join Facebook communities that connected her with Virginia Tech students immediately following the campus shootings. The connections she made using social media gave her access to sources close to the victims that no other news organization had.

Using social media effectively often involves creating publicly visible connections. The nature and strength of these connections — people you “friend” or follow, for example — can mean different things to different people. Reuters, for example, states in its guidelines: “A determined critic can soon build up a picture of your preferences by analysing your links, those that you follow, your 'friends', blogroll and endless other indicators.”

Steven Mendoza cited the dilemma faced by Sacramento Bee columnist Stuart Leavenworth in the American Journalism Review. A “friend request” from California's secretary of state caused him to ask whether the public could interpret such a relationship as being stronger than it was.

He opted to ignore the request, stating, “I really wanted to keep a little bit of distance from public officials and other sources I deal with on a regular basis.”

However, New York Times standards editor Craig Whitney stated the Times worries little about these perceptions. “We believe that being a friend on Facebook … is essentially meaningless, and everybody knows that,” he stated. “So it's hard to imagine any real conflict of interest that could arise from your being a friend of somebody on Facebook and writing about that person."

The growth of social media in recent years has prompted news organizations to address the issue of their employees expressing personal preferences online. The L.A. Times issued social media guidelines in November 2009 that stated: “Just as political bumper stickers and lawn signs are to be avoided in the offline world, so too are partisan expressions online.”

Social media advocates, however, were quick to criticize policies they deemed too conservative and contrary to the nature of social media. Some argued many of these guidelines framed social media as a source of harm, failing to acknowledge their value and potential. They said reporters can reap immense rewards from participating in social media and doing so is difficult without being partisan.

“The notion that journalists don’t have personal lives or opinions, that they shouldn’t reveal political preferences or engage in civic causes regardless of their beat, that they should be shielded from direct interaction with the public for fear of disclosing a compromising point of view — this is sheer lunacy,” argued journalist and social media consultant J.D. Lasica in response to some news organizations’ policies.

Criticism was particularly strong in reaction to the Wall Street Journal’s social media guidelines issued in May 2009 (initially posted by Editor and Publisher and later unavailable, but reproduced here): The WSJ’s recommendation that “Business and pleasure should not be mixed on services like Twitter” became a focal point for criticism.

“How can you not mix business and pleasure on Twitter?” argued journalist and social media advocate Gina Chen. “It’s a conversation. People follow you because they like you or they’re interested in your topic area. If you want to connect with people on Twitter you need to come across as a human being, who jokes around, who tweets a favorite song, who complains about the weather. Nobody wants to follow a robot. And that’s not connecting; that’s broadcasting.”

Journalist and community engagement advocate Steve Buttry agreed, arguing, “Most of the Twitter world mixes business with pleasure. Building walls means you won’t understand how Twitter works.”

Mathew Ingram, the communities editor at the Globe and Mail at the time, stated: “The idea that you can maintain a strict division between the personal and professional just doesn’t jibe with the way social networks (or human beings) operate. Naturally, a newspaper like the Journal doesn’t want its reporters discussing every detail of their personal lives on Twitter, and no one would argue with that. A little taste of the personal can have a tremendous impact, however, and can build loyalty with readers. Media outlets like the Journal ignore that at their peril.”

Mandy Jenkins, a social media editor at Washington’s TBD.com, has similar thoughts: “Friending, liking and following may sound like chummy words, but these are things you need to do to get info from sources on social media. If you think it might make you look biased, put a notation on your page/bio that says why you do it.”

News organizations issuing social media guidelines have come to the near-unanimous conclusion that the public will connect a reporter’s different online identities, no matter how hard that person might try to keep them separate.

NPR’s guidelines, for example, state: “Regardless of how careful you are in trying to keep them separate, in your online activity, your professional life and your personal life overlap.”

Consequently, their guidelines focus on helping the reporter create an online profile that doesn't hinder their work as a professional reporter.

OVERVIEW OF NEWSROOM GUIDELINES

All of the social media guidelines acknowledge the basic principle of guarding against conduct that could harm the reputation of the news organization. They are, at their core, corporate guidelines for employees that aim to protect the institution’s credibility. But they also provide solid guidance to reporters generally.

Reuters’ guidelines summarize the issue acknowledged by most: “Whether we think it is fair or not, other media will use your social media output as [our] comment on topical stories.” They state further that “you should do nothing that would damage our reputation for impartiality and independence.”

Beyond these generally agreed-upon statements, news organizations differ in how they attempt to influence reporters’ personal activity online.

If the Wall Street Journal was at one end of the spectrum, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the BBC are at the other end. The former’s entire social media guidelines consist of only four points; two of which apply to personal activity online:

  • Do not mix the professional and the personal in ways likely to bring the ABC into disrepute.
  • Do not imply ABC endorsement of your personal views.

Similarly, the BBC asks only that personal posts “not bring the BBC into disrepute,” while instructing that “editorial staff should not indicate their political allegiance” in social media.

The news organizations that provide detailed guidelines address personal activity online in two subject areas:

1. Commenting

Most news organizations caution against creating a perception the reporter is advocating for causes or taking sides on other polarizing issues. Many acknowledge that reporters will have private lives and caution them only against making statements that appear to endorse issues — especially ones they cover.

The New York Times advised in a 2009 draft of its Policy on Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites: “Be careful not to write anything on a blog or a personal Web page that you could not write in The Times -- don't editorialize, for instance, if you work for the News Department. ...That includes things you recommend on TimesPeople or articles you post to Facebook and Digg.”

In contrast, the U.K. Guardian invites its staff to “participate in conversations about our content, and take responsibility for the conversations you start.” Further, it asks that they: “Declare personal interest when applicable. Be transparent about your affiliations, perspectives or previous coverage.”

Reuters advises employees to “think carefully about what personal content would be appropriate,” stating: “Micro-blogging and use of social media tend to blur the distinction between professional and personal lives: when using Twitter or social media in a professional capacity you should aim to be personable but not to include irrelevant material about your personal life.”

NPR’s guidelines state simply: “You must not advocate for political or other polarizing issues online.”

2. Friending or Following others, Joining Groups Or Accepting ‘Badges’

Many news organizations address the issue of reporters creating connections in social media that can lead readers to perceive bias. This can take the form of following people on Twitter or friending them on Facebook. It can also take the form of joining groups on Facebook or accepting tokens or “badges” for participation.

NPR states: “[Our guidelines warning against advocating political causes] extends to joining online groups or using social media in any form (including your Facebook page or a personal blog) to express personal views on a political or other controversial issue that you could not write for the air or post on NPR.org.”

A number of news organizations suggest that reporters need to balance the groups they join to minimize a perception of bias. NPR for example, states further that “if you ‘friend’ or join a group representing one side of an issue, do so for a group representing the competing viewpoint, when reasonable to do so.” The L.A. Times has a similar statement.

The Roanoke (Virginia) Times agrees, but further advocates an all-or-nothing approach. Concerning groups, it advises: “Either avoid them entirely, or sign up for lots of groups.” Concerning friends, it states: “Accept no sources or people you cover as friends, or welcome them all.”

Indeed, many guidelines stress the need for transparency. Both Reuters and NPR ask their employees always to declare their relationship to their employer and the personal nature of their opinions.

The New York Times advises reporters on Facebook to “leave blank the section that asks about your political views.” Similarly, the Radio Television Digital News Association advises thinking hard about “Facebook information that describes your relationship status, age, sexual preference and political or religious views,” saying “these descriptors can hold loaded meanings and affect viewer perception.”

RECOMMENDED BEST PRACTICES

The panel believes the Internet, by its nature, encourages personal interaction. The panel sees social relationships online as key to gathering news and building engagement. As a result, it advises reporters, generally, to embrace this aspect of the medium.

Being social means showing one’s personality. The panel recommends reporters build a social media profile that is both personable and professional. It recommends that they create connections by following or friending — but remain mindful of the perceptions these social relationships can create.

The panel believes that expressing opinions about certain matters and making light-hearted jokes can humanize one’s profile in social media and build engagement. But the standard of acceptable partisanship shown in social media can depend on many factors.

Columnists, for example, might not hold themselves to the standard of independence and impartiality that a daily reporter might. Municipal government reporters might ordinarily refrain from expressing strong opinions on issues they cover.

The panel concludes that reporters using social media should at all times aim for transparency in their activities online.

The panel recommends reporters use the following guidelines:

  • Stay as impartial as possible on public issues.
  • Be prepared to acknowledge publicly anything you post online — even if you think it’s private. It probably isn’t.
  • Be transparent about your identity and your intent. Reporters should not normally conduct their work under a social media account that skirts journalistic obligations to transparency.
  • Monitor the names in your social media community frequently. Mind the image that list conveys with the friends you accept, the people you choose to follow, the groups you join and the tokens you receive. Consider joining a wide variety of groups and accepting a range of followers — instead of choosing only a few.
  • Take care in crafting biographical details in the personal profile section of social media services. For example, take special caution in filling out the “Political Views” template in Facebook.
  • State explicitly on your blog or social media site that the opinions are your own.

Read More

Journalists seeking public office: What are the ethical issues?

Panel report by Ken Regan (chair), Scott White, and Ivor Shapiro
With research provided by Christine Dobby

Approved by the Full Committee on October 27, 2010

If a practising journalist seeks public office, what effect does, can or should that choice have on his or her ability to continue or return to his or her work? This practical issue raises other, perhaps more philosophical, but no less relevant questions.

The first is:

  • Do journalists have a democratic right to participate in the public / political process, including running for office?

There have been numerous examples of journalists seeking public office. Some relatively notable ones include:

  • Ralph Klein – as a Senior Civic Affairs reporter for CFCN Television and Radio in Calgary, Klein was able to use his position to significantly raise his public profile and reputation. After 11 years Klein left his reporter position to run for mayor, and won.
  • Peter Kent – the Global Television VP for news first ran for the federal Conservatives as a candidate and lost. He returned to Global – still in a senior editorial capacity. He ran in a different riding and won the seat

Fundamentally a journalist has and should have the same democratic right as any citizen to seek public office or express personal beliefs, including political ones. Journalists are not expected or required to take some vow of political chastity when they take up the profession.

The real question becomes: if and when they do exercise their fundamental political rights, do journalists have special responsibilities as journalists to their employers, peers, or the public? The short answer seems to be: “yes.”

Much of what a journalist does is report on, chronicle or comment upon the activities and behaviours of others, including on occasion, the political activities and integrity of individuals, governments or organizations. The journalist’s works are by definition public and therefore can directly or indirectly influence other people and society’s perception of his/her subject.

If a journalist engages in outside political activity or espouses a particular political viewpoint, this activity could create a public perception of bias, or favouritism that would reflect on the journalist's work as well as on the media organization for which he or she may work. As a result, many media organizations have policies to govern a journalist’s engagement in outside political activity.

For example, “The New York Times Company Policy on Ethics in Journalism” recognizes employees’ rights to engage in civic and political processes (such as voting), but states:

69. The good name of our company and of our business unit or publication does not belong to any of us. No one has a right to exploit it for private purposes. Accordingly, the company applies limitations to other kinds of political engagement: 89. Journalists do not take part in politics. While staff members are entitled to vote and to register in party primaries, they must do nothing that might raise questions about their professional neutrality or that of our news operations. In particular, they may not campaign for, demonstrate for, or endorse candidates, ballot causes or efforts to enact legislation. They may not wear campaign buttons or themselves display any other insignia of partisan politics. 90. Staff members may not themselves give money to any political candidate or election cause or raise money for one. Given the ease of Internet access to public records of campaign contributions, any political giving by a staff member would risk feeding a false impression that we are taking sides. 91. No staff member may seek public office anywhere. Seeking or serving in public office violates the professional detachment expected of a journalist. Active participation by one of our staff can sow a suspicion of favoritism in political coverage. 92. Staff members may not march or rally in support of public causes or movements or sign advertisements or petitions taking a position on public issues. They may not lend their names to campaigns, benefit dinners or similar events if doing so might reasonably raise doubts about their ability or their newsroom's ability to remain neutral in covering the news. Neighbors and other outsiders commonly see us as representatives of our institution. [For additional info, see: http://www.nytco.com/press/ethics.html.]

In Canada, The Canadian Press policies state:

Outside work must not reflect negatively on the company’s reputation, nor the reputation of the employee involved. Work that compromises or is perceived to compromise the objectivity of our employees will not be permitted. For example, it is not permissible to work for politicians or take writing, broadcasting or photographic assignments with commercial organizations or lobby groups. Neither is it permissible to sell expertise on how to deal with the media.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation policy reads:

The CBC/Radio-Canada must not only be impartial, it must also project an image of impartiality…. Employees assigned to information programming areas are limited in engaging in political activity, as they have the potential to influence or appear to influence politically related programming.

The following is CBC's Corporate By-Law No. 14(3)3 under the heading "Officers And Employees":

(3)(a) No employee who is employed by the Corporation on a full-time basis as a producer, a supervisor of news or information programming, an editor, a journalist, a reporter, an on-air personality, or who is a designated management employee or primarily responsible to represent the Corporation in its contact with the public, may, subject to subparagraph 14(3)(b) or (c), take a position publicly in a referendum or plebiscite, actively support a political party or candidate, stand for nomination as a candidate and/or be a candidate for election to the House of Commons, a provincial legislature, the Yukon legislative assembly, the legislative assembly of the Northwest Territories, or a municipal or civic office… [For details, see: http://is.gd/c32pu … or … http://is.gd/c32pu ]

And at National Public Radio, the policy says:

NPR journalists may not run for office, endorse candidates or otherwise engage in politics. Since contributions to candidates are part of the public record, NPR journalists may not contribute to political campaigns, as doing so would call into question a journalist's impartiality in coverage. In virtually all media organizations that have established policies governing political activity, there is an expressed concern about how such activities by journalists could impugn or call into question the impartiality of the journalist and/or the media organization for which they work.

This raises the question:

  • Do news organizations have a right to protect their brand, even to the extent of prohibiting the exercise of individual employee rights?

A media company’s brand, like that of any corporation or business, has real value. It is the company’s primary identifier and public representation. Any action or activity that undermines the integrity of the brand can have an affect on the company’s standing within the broader community and by extension, the company’s value and fortunes. This in turn can affect the fortunes of those working for the company, those investing in the company, and so on.

The supposition contained within various media policies and guidelines is that if a journalist does seek public office, or demonstrates an opinion or personal support for a political issue, candidate, party, policy or philosophy, that it impairs their ability to be impartial, or at least taints the public’s perception of their independence.

In a 1984 exploration of political activity by journalists, from both an ethical and legal standpoint, Andrew MacFarlane and Robert Martin argued that fundamental democratic rights should ultimately trump an employer’s right to curtail such rights. They wrote:

The other justification advanced is the one to which we take special exception. Journalists must not engage in political activity because this would tend to compromise their appearance of objectivity. The standard laid down by the Louisville, Kentucky Courier Journal and Times makes the point: "We must not give any person reason to suspect that our handling of a story, editorial or picture is related in any way to political activity by a member of the staff (Hulteng, 1981, 73)." A basic right of the citizen is denied the journalist in order that appearances may be maintained.

MacFarlane and Martin went on to conclude:

The politically active journalist can create problems for an employer. The task of deciding when political involvement affects work will be a difficult one. This fact provides neither ethical nor practical justification for the denial of rights which is inherent in the a priori prohibition of political activity.

They also however made a case for remedying the issue:

In arguing against the a priori curtailment of journalist employee's right to exercise their citizenship obligations as they perceive them, we are appealing not only for ethical reasonableness, but for the application of common sense. The argument, from a management perspective, is: ‘What are we going to do if all our editorial people start running for office and addressing political rallies?’ The first answer to the question is, of course, that all of them will not, no more than will all of any other category of employees be politically active. Secondly, however, where there is no prohibition against political activity, some journalists will undoubtedly become involved. This, in turn, will require editors and newsroom executives t o decide whether there is a genuine threat to a particular reporter's effectiveness or whether the reporter's copy continues to achieve an acceptable standard. But, and this is crucial t o our argument, the standard applied should be one of fairness, not objectivity. To concentrate on the reporter's work, rather than political allegiance, will undoubtedly require more subtle decisions on assignments, and on journalists' writing, by editors and executives. Reporting has to be seen to be fair, not in order to accede to a spurious notion that journalists be objective, but because the journalism they produce must be of the highest quality. (“Political Activity and the Journalist: A Paradox,” Canadian Journal of Communication, 1984 10:2, 1-35.)

MacFarlane and Martin suggest the issue is not whether some “ideal” of objectivity is jeopardized by a journalist seeking public office, thus potentially damaging their employer’s reputation or standing, but rather a more pragmatic one of, are there means to allow journalists to exercise their democratic right to seek public office, without having to leave their employment or interrupt their career? The onus, they seem to say, is on the employer – and to some extent the journalist—to work it out in a manner that prevents problems.

On the other hand, and despite what MacFarlane and Martin suggest vis-à-vis managing political activity by journalists as opposed to prohibiting it, an expose published by MSNBC in 2007 illustrates the vulnerabilities inherent in political activities by journalists and how it can bring unwelcome or disquieting notoriety to the journalist and his/her organization, both within the public and the professional realm. (See: "Journalists dole out cash to politicians (quietly) / msnbc.com" (updated) June 25, 2007, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19113485/.)

Here are some excerpts:

"Our writers are citizens, and they're free to do what they want to do," said New Yorker editor David Remnick, who has 10 political donors at his magazine. "If what they write is fair, and they respond to editing and counter-arguments with an open mind, that to me is the way we work." The openness didn't extend, however, to telling the public about the donations. Apparently none of the journalists disclosed the donations to readers, viewers or listeners. Few told their bosses, either. … Several of the donating journalists said they had no regrets, whatever the ethical concerns.

A few journalists let their enthusiasm extend beyond the checkbook. A Fox TV reporter in Omaha, Calvert Collins, posted a photo on Facebook.com with her cozying up to a Democratic candidate for Congress. She urged her friends, "Vote for him Tuesday, Nov. 7!" She also gave him $500. She said she was just trying to build rapport with the candidates. (And what builds rapport more effectively than $500 and a strapless gown?)”

Clearly, political activities by working journalists inherently have the potential to raise questions about conflict of interest, questions about political or other independence and influence, and questions about impartiality. When such questions arise about individual journalists, they could by extension raise questions about the journalist’s employer, potentially affecting the integrity of the company brand. Therefore, the panel concludes that a media organization has a right to protect the integrity of its brand by imposing limits on certain activities, including political activities, of its employees. When a journalist signs on with an employer, they accept an obligation to know, understand and adhere to that organization’s policies governing political activity.

However, to support the right of an organization to establish policies in this area is not altogether to surrender the freedom of a journalist to express political views and conduct an active political life. Many journalists do not work for news organizations, and those who do so retain the right to question the reasonableness of their employers' policies. A news organization's interests are not identical to those of individual employees, and blanket prohibitions and guidelines may not do a good job of addressing nuanced questions, such as:

Should distinctions be drawn between running for a major office, running for minor office, and other expressions of political views (i.e., signing a petition)?

and:

Should distinctions be drawn between journalists who report "political" news and/or events, running for office, and others?

There would seem to be a substantial difference in implications between the case of Global-TV executive Peter Kent seeking federal office twice, on one hand, and that of Sean McCormick, anchor for Rogers Sportsnet, who is seeking a municipal seat in Toronto. ("Rogers Sportsnet anchor running for Toronto council," The Globe and Mail, May 6, 2010.) But that difference is not necessarily definitive on the ethical question. There is some distance between McCormick's "beat" and the office he seeks, but a conflict isn't unimaginable, given how closely tied professional sports and civic government can be at times.

Does the ethical question or its relevance increase as the distance between the journalist’s beat and the public office narrows, or is the issue’s relevancy a constant? These are reasonable questions, as is the question of whether running in a political campaign is substantively different from, for example, signing a petition.

This panel was unable to identify clear criteria for resolving these questions of degree. Running for major political office would seem to constitute an obvious and intuitive conflict of interest either for a reporter who covers politics or for an editor, producer or executive who influences coverage decisions. Similar conflicts might not arise if a columnist with well-known opinions, or an arts critic, runs for school trustee or posts a lawn sign.

The panel concludes that journalists should not feel subject to a blanket profession-wide prohibition on political activity, but that journalists and their employers if any, should seek a nuanced understanding of the actual and perceived conflicts of interest that might arise in the particular situation, and a reasonable approach to managing these conflicts.

To what extent is there a professional consensus on this matter?

It appears, based on even a cursory survey that many of the world’s major and smaller media outlets have some measure of policies relating to outside political activity by their journalists. In addition to those cited already above, the Los Angeles Times, The British Broadcasting Corporation, the Guardian Newspaper, Christian Science Monitor and many, many others have policies governing the issue. Many reflect a common theme - the importance of restricting individual political activity in order to maintain journalistic and organizational integrity, and thus preclude any real or perceived conflicts which might cause a diminishing of reputation or brand of the media organization involved.

While these media organizations' policies are mostly reasonable, in principle, they do not speak the last word on journalists' own ethical choices. More to the point might be the fact that there is no record of these policies being opposed either by employees or by other journalists as individuals or groups. On the contrary, the CAJ's ethics guidelines unambiguously support a line being drawn between journalists' professional identity and their political views:

… There is a tradition in Canada of media organizations that support and advocate particular ideologies and causes. These ideologies and causes should be transparent to the readers, listeners or viewers. Journalists for these organizations sometimes choose to be advocates or are hired to be advocates and this too, should be transparent. In our role as fair and impartial journalists, we must be free to comment on the activities of any publicly elected body or special interest organization. It is not possible to do this without an apparent conflict of interest if we are active members of a group we are covering. We lose our credibility as fair observers if we write opinion pieces about subjects that we also cover as reporters. We will not hold elected political office, work as officials on political campaigns, or write speeches for any political party or official. Editorial boards and columnists or commentators endorse political candidates or political causes. Reporters do not. We will not make financial contributions to a political campaign if there is a chance we will be covering the campaign. We will not hold office in community organizations about which we may report or make editorial judgments. This includes fund-raising or public relations work and active participation in community organizations and pressure groups that take positions on public issues.

The panel is not certain that so unambiguous a line is universally justified, but we note that the professional consensus on the matter appears to be quite strong. Journalists, therefore, are advised to proceed with caution when considering political involvement.

If a journalist decides to seek public office, or otherwise engage in political activity, what does he/she need to consider?

The panel suggests that journalists who might wish to engage in any political activity do the following:

  1. Consider carefully the possibility that, in the near or distant future, the activity might hinder their actual or perceived ability to conduct independent reporting.
  2. Familiarize themselves with and understand any company policies governing such activity and be prepared to adhere to such policies.
  3. Inform their employers, if any, of their intentions.
  4. Publicly declare any real or potential conflicts.
  5. Determine, in advance, specific options for re-entering the workplace (such as reassignment if that is a legitimate or agreed upon option), in a manner that will mitigate or preclude real or perceived conflict or questions of bias resulting from the political activity.

Conclusion

There is irony in all of this careful consideration of political disengagement in that some media organizations and their owners publicly engage in direct and indirect political activity on a regular basis without apparent consideration or concern about it reflecting poorly or otherwise on their organization, its product or its employees.

There is also, within the profession and society, considerable and legitimate debate about what “objectivity”, “impartiality” and “independence” mean within the context of journalistic activity and whether they are practical or achievable standards or criteria by which to measure our profession. Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel even suggested, in their influential The Elements of Journalism (2001 and 2007), that the "lost" concept of objectivity has become a "muddle" and "trap" best avoided altogether; instead, journalists should be expected to maintain an "independence from those they cover" and practise a "discipline of verification". Some have called this discipline an "objective method" or, in Stephen JA Ward's words, a stance of "pragmatic objectivity."

However, as chroniclers of history who help citizens make well-informed choices, working journalists bear the burden of a higher public expectation that they submit personal bias and political view to the demands and disciplines of their work. And, perhaps that is exactly as it should be. A range of independent, unencumbered and trustworthy media is a valued asset in any democratic society.

If journalists accept that the "objective method" contributes to the public trust, and that “impartiality” is not just a noble ambition but a relevant goal to honour our democratic responsibility, then it is important to strive to preserve the integrity of the ideal – even if it may sometimes mean voluntarily surrendering some personal freedoms.

Read More