Let’s fight for—and celebrate—journalism in 2017

Dear CAJ Supporters,

As our social feeds are inundated with friends and family bidding good riddance to 2016, we can’t forget that our hard work on behalf of journalists is constant, and doesn’t pay attention to calendars turning over into new years. There will be fights—and victories—in the year to come, and one year ending doesn’t somehow reset the counter. That said, we’d like to take a minute to reflect on some of our work from the past year. And then turn our attention to the future.

2016 brought newsroom cuts and consolidation, press-freedom violations, as well as steps forward and backward on access to information laws, and the CAJ spoke out on those issues repeatedly in national media. We also testified twice at House of Commons committees, on ATIP reform and the future of local news.

We teamed up with other organizations repeatedly. We joined a coalition of press-freedom groups as intervenors in an appeal of an RCMP production order that would force VICE journalist Ben Makuch to turn over correspondence with a source. We worked with Ryerson’s Centre for Free Expression and PEN Canada on a report into mass surveillance. And we spoke out loudly with press-freedom groups when police surveillance of journalists in Montreal came to light.

In May, we held our annual two-day conference in Edmonton, where delegates picked up must-have skills from their peers, learned about alternative storytelling and funding models, and heard from cutting-edge keynotes including Catherine Gicheru and Shadi Rahimi.

That conference concluded with the CAJ Awards Gala, which honoured the best Canadian storytelling of 2015. CBC News took home the Don McGillivray Award for Investigative Journalism for its investigative work on missing and murdered Indigenous women.

At the gala, we also launched a fellowship in cooperation with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. A few months later, we named John W. Murray as the program’s first fellow. Two weeks after that, we named the latest recipients of the Aga Khan-CAJ Fellowship for International Development Reporting, Frédérick Lavoie and Jennifer Yang. And earlier in the fall, we honoured the latest EU-Canada Young Journalist Fellowship winners at a reception in Ottawa.

All told, 2016 was a shocking, scary year for journalists—but also hopeful. No doubt 2017 will be no different, and our fight for journalists—and celebration of our craft—continues. Happy New Year.

Yours Sincerely,

Nick Taylor-Vaisey



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