CAJ AWARDS

The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce most of the finalists for its annual awards for outstanding investigative journalism in Canada published or broadcast in 2016. Check out the full list of finalists!

Join us at #CAJ17!

Photo courtesy heipei via Flickr

We are excited for this year’s national conference April 28-29 in Ottawa. As journalism continues to take a hit, with layoffs piling up and continued attacks on press freedom, we know it's not easy in Canadian newsrooms. And we also know this:

#JournalismMatters

So let’s rally. Join us in Ottawa for valuable discussions on press freedom, freelancing, interviewing, data, ethics and more—as well as networking opportunities with journalists across Canada.

Keep an eye on the #CAJ17 page as we announce panels, workshops, speakers and keynotes.

You can also register for the conference here.

THE Latest FROM THE CAJ

The Code of Silence award: Call for nominations!

As #CAJ17 approaches, it's time to revive our annual tongue-in-cheek tradition, an idea with serious overtones: the Canadian Association of Journalists' Code of Silence award. 

Nursed to life by past-president Rob Cribb, the idea was to "celebrate" Canada's most-secretive government, department, agency or publicly funded body. Who was putting that extra bit of elbow grease into keeping any sunlight from reaching the public's business?

The "winner" that first year? The Ontario Ministry of the Environment. 

The CAJ is now accepting nominations from journalists working in Canada who've been fighting the good fight to pry public information out of the hands of bureaucrats and politicians from sea, to sea, to sea.

Nominators are asked to think big and small. Previous winners include the entire federal government, omnibus government legislation, a former prime minister's office and, last year, Canada's "financial intelligence unit." They also include the Resort Municipality of Whistler, and come from questions as simple as how many fish were being spawned at a federal facility—an answer shared with tour groups but not with an inquiring journalist before the spin masters were involved.

If it takes and/or spends public money and isn't being open and transparent about how it does so, it's an eligible nominee.

Do you have an egregious example that gets your own blood boiling? Nominations can be e-mailed to our president at nick@caj.ca.

The winner will be announced during the closing banquet for the #CAJ17 conference at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel on April 29Registration for the conference is open, with early bird rates ending April 25.

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#CAJ17: Learn data journalism at an intensive two-day boot camp

OTTAWA, March 30, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is thrilled that some of Canada’s leading data journalists will spend a weekend teaching #CAJ17 delegates how to find, analyze and tell stories with data.

The CAJ has long featured data boot camps at its annual conferences, and the intensive workshops in Ottawa on April 28-29 will continue that tradition. King's College journalism professor Fred Vallance-Jones and CBC News' David McKie will team up to lead a series of workshops focusing on the power of unlocking data.

These award-winning journalists will be joined Friday and Saturday by an impressive lineup of trainers: experts from Esri Canada, distributors of ArcGIS; The Globe and Mail’s Michael Pereira; and CBC News’ Valérie Ouellet.

These sessions will cover a range of skills—from ground-level stuff like finding, cleaning and analysing data using spreadsheets to more complex skills such as mapping and making analysed data interactive. Several sessions require pre-registration, which can be done via email once you've signed up for the conference or at the registration desk on Friday.

Registration is currently open for this two-day conference, with fees starting at $249 plus HST for CAJ members for the full weekend, including a ticket to the conference banquet and gala. Rates for unemployed journalists and CAJ student members start at $75. Discounts are available for CAJ Award finalists as well those registering in a group. These early bird rates will rise after April 21. (Those attending the data sessions should bring a Wi-Fi capable laptop computer, either PC or Mac, for the hands-on portions.)

For those intending to stay at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, conference room rates starting at $169 plus taxes for a single room are still available. Check the Ottawa conference page on our website for more details.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing more than 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information, please contact: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President Phone: 647.968.2393 Email: nick@caj.ca

 

 

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#CAJ17 keynote: How journalists can build trust with communities

OTTAWA, March 29, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce The Coral Project’s Andrew Losowsky will deliver a keynote address at the CAJ’s annual conference on April 29.

As revenue spirals, echo chambers isolate readers and journalists, and dialogue gets ever more vitriolic, Losowsky leads The Coral Project, a collaboration between Mozilla, the New York Times and the Washington Post. He will share practical ideas and research to help journalists everywhere get closer to the communities they serve.

Losowsky’s keynote is just one of #CAJ17’s sessions focused on audience interaction. The conference will also include a workshop on how journalists can prevent and cope with harassment online. Journalists who have dealt with racist and sexist attacks will reflect on their own experiences—and an anti-harassment activist will offer practical advice to journalists.

Registration is currently open for this two-day conference, with fees starting at $249 plus HST for CAJ members for the full weekend, including a ticket to the conference banquet and gala. Rates for unemployed journalists and CAJ student members start at $75. Discounts are available for CAJ Award finalists as well those registering in a group. These early bird rates will rise after April 21.

For those intending to stay at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, conference room rates starting at $169 plus taxes for a single room are still available. Check the Ottawa conference page on our website for more details.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information, please contact: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President Phone: 647.968.2393 Email: nick@caj.ca

 

 

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ProPublica’s Eric Umansky delivering keynote on objectivity at #CAJ17

ProPublica’s Eric Umansky will deliver a keynote presentation on the death of journalistic objectivity on April 28 during the Canadian Association of Journalists’ annual national conference in Ottawa.

Umansky, a Pulitzer-Prize winning editor, will explain why journalists should abandon traditional objectivity—and what should replace it. At a time when terms like “alternative facts” are bandied about, and newsrooms are debating the role of the media in calling a lie a lie—even when it comes from the President of the United States—the independent, non-profit newsroom’s deputy managing editor will lay out a roadmap on how to replace objectivity with a new god: evidence.

 His presentation is just one in a series of conversations at #CAJ17 on the evolution of the news industry—and how we should tackle the challenges facing journalism.

Registration is currently open for this two-day conference, with fees starting at $249 plus HST for CAJ members for the full weekend, including a ticket to the conference banquet and gala. Rates for unemployed journalists and CAJ student members start at $75. Discounts are available for CAJ Award finalists as well those registering in a group. These early bird rates will rise after April 21.

For those intending to stay at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, conference room rates starting at $169 plus taxes for a single room are still available. Check the Ottawa conference page on our website for more details.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information, please contact: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President Cell: 647.968.2393 Email: nick@caj.ca

 

 

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Sitting down with Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly at #CAJ17

OTTAWA, March 27, 2017 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is pleased to announce that Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly will participate in a keynote question and answer session at the CAJ’s annual national conference in Ottawa on April 28.

The bilingual sit-down conversation with the federal government’s point-person on the current state of Canadian media and its broader cultural context will touch on policy developments aimed at helping the news business, Joly’s perspective on the future of the news industry in Canada, and more.

The Q&A at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Ottawa will follow a presentation from The Public Policy Forum’s Edward Greenspon on his organization’s Shattered Mirror study on the state of Canadian news media. It all adds up to a can’t-miss Friday on the future of news.

Registration is currently open for the two-day conference, with fees starting at $249 plus HST for CAJ members for the full weekend, including a ticket to the conference banquet and gala. Rates for unemployed journalists and CAJ student members start at $75. Discounts are available for CAJ Award finalists as well those registering in a group. These early bird rates will rise on April 21.

For those intending to stay at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, our conference room rates starting at $169 plus taxes and fees for a single room may still be available on request. Other preferential rates may also still be available.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

For more information: Nick Taylor-Vaisey, CAJ President Cell: 647.968.2393 Email: nick@caj.ca 

 

 

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The White House must give the press equal treatment

In response to the White House's decision to exclude certain news organizations from an informal news briefing last week, the Canadian Association of Journalists is publishing an open letter, which you can read in its entirety below.

RE: The White House’s relationship with the press corps

The Canadian Association of Journalists adds its voice to those gravely concerned about President Donald Trump’s lack of respect for a free press. The President’s dangerous disregard for a free press started with tweets berating certain news organizations, and escalated recently when those same news outlets, and others, were barred from an informal press briefing.

Many of the CAJ’s members reported the news when former prime minister Stephen Harper attempted to manipulate, shut out, and ultimately bypass journalists both in the nation’s capital and across Canada. Harper’s approach to the press sometimes divided journalists, at least to some extent, as they reacted to rules imposed on the prime minister’s press availabilities.

We don’t intend to dredge up the past. But the CAJ urges Trump’s administration to offer equal treatment to every member of the White House press corps, and further to make no attempt to restrict a free press. We also urge every news organization to resist any government’s attempt—on both sides of the border—to divide the press or play favourites.

News organizations thrive on competition, but we’re worse off when we’re divided at the whim of a politician who decides, based on a desire to protect his own interests, that we don’t all have an equal right to report on his leadership.

Sincerely,

Nick Taylor-Vaisey
President, Canadian Association of Journalists

 

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Check out the latest Media Mag!

You might remember our New Year's message to members vowed to fight for and celebrate journalism in 2017. Well, we're going to start with a little bit of celebration. The CAJ presents its latest awards edition of Media Magazine, edited by the diligent David McKie, an investigative reporter at CBC News who takes time every year to contact award-winning Canadian journalists and ask them to tell the stories behind their powerful journalism.

Find the latest edition of Media here (and to read back issues dating to 1997, click here). The issue goes in-depth on journalism that won both CAJ Awards and National Newspaper Awards in 2016. As McKie reminds us in his opening editorial, these stories had serious impact. Just a sampling:

The Telegraph-Journal forced daycare operations to fire dubious employees, and become more diligent in their criminal background checks. The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network’s work prompted Winnipeg’s mayor to begin asking tough questions about working conditions. And Radio-Canada’s Enquête forced Quebec’s Liberal government to hold an inquiry into the treatment of Indigenous women in Val d’Or.

Anyone who scanned the last year's lists of award winners knows that reporting into the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls won the admiration of judges across the board. The team behind the Toronto Star's Gone series—read it all here—won the CAJ's Open Media award, as well as the NNA for Project of the Year. In Media, the team behind the investigations pulls back the curtain on their reporting—and offers crucial lessons learned for all of us to ponder.

Every story in Media provides an opportunity to learn. In these pages, you'll gain insight into how and why journalists told their stories, but you'll also find invaluable tips and tricks that could strengthen your own work. We're so grateful that journalists continually share their wisdom with peers. As McKie concludes: "Be inspired. Make a difference. These folks did."


 

A few words of thanks go to the Atkinson Foundation and the Michener Awards Foundation for advertising in Media. Our final thanks is reserved for David McKie, Media's editor who spends countless hours of free time assembling every edition. If you have a sec, tweet him your thanks.

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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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Welcome to the new CAJ.ca!

Dear CAJ members

As our previous membership management software and website were not meeting organizational needs or allowing us to provide the kind of service CAJ members expect and deserve, we have decided to migrate our membership management and website to a different company.

After a rigorous review of the available options, we have settled on Starchapter as the company which most thoroughly meets CAJ’s needs in a cost-effective and user-friendly manner. During this review, we evaluated a number of  options, looking at their usability, their advantages for members and, importantly, their privacy policies.

 Starchapter is based in the United States, something we took into consideration while preparing for the switch. We are assured member data housed on Starchapter’s US servers will be subject to a level of privacy and security commensurate with what it currently experiences. CAJ members’ payment information will now be processed by PSIGate, a Canadian company headquartered in Toronto. It will not leave the country.

We asked Starchapter to tell us under what circumstances it would disclose our data to authorities: the below is an excerpt from its policy available on the new website in full:

Vendor shall not (a) modify Customer Data, (b) disclose Customer Data except as expressly permitted by Customer or as compelled by law, or (c) access Customer Data except to provide the Service and prevent or address service or technical problems, or at Customer's request in connection with implementation, training, and on-going support matters.

 In other words, Starchapter will not sell or give away your contact data. Board members and administrative users may be contacted by email with software updates and Starchapter newsletters, but this will not affect members who are not on the board. 

We are satisfied the appropriate steps have been taken to ensure member privacy and confidentiality.

 CAJ’s switch to Starchapter will open up many new opportunities for members: better control over your membership and member status, access to forums and a cleaner, more functional overall web presence for CAJ . We look forwards to seeing you there.

 f you have any concerns or questions about this transition, please contact CAJ president Nick Taylor-Vaisey at nick@caj.ca or CAJ administrator Kat Eschner at admin@caj.ca.

 Yours sincerely,

 Nick Taylor-Vaisey

CAJ President

 

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Mass surveillance harms the public interest: report

TORONTONov. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - As it becomes clear that police forces in Canada are actively spying on journalists, and damaging freedom of the press in the process, a new report confirms that writers across Canada are so concerned about mass surveillance that some are self-censoring their own activities.

Chilling Free Expression in Canada, a revealing report that draws upon a survey of 120 writers and journalists, shows that the vast majority of respondents expressed concern about government and corporate surveillance in Canada and abroad, and that resulting infringements on their privacy is causing a disturbing number of writers to think twice about what they publish and how they conduct research.

Read the full report here

The survey illuminates a Canadian perspective on a conversation already happening elsewhere. The Centre for Free Expression at Ryerson University, in collaboration with PEN Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists, conducted the survey of 129 Canadian writers and journalists between May 27 and June 20, 2016.

Close to a quarter of writers and journalists surveyed reported that they avoid writing about certain topics because of government and corporate surveillance. A fifth said they refrain from conducting internet searches or visiting web sites on topics that may be considered controversial or suspicious. "Writers and journalists are society's eyes and ears," says Centre for Free Expression Director James L. Turk. "If fear of surveillance is causing them to self-censor, the public is being denied important stories, and we are the poorer for it."

More than 70 per cent of respondents agreed that most Canadians are unconcerned or unaware about government surveillance. That has to change, says CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. "We know that police actively spy on journalists, and that whistleblowers who trust reporters to protect their identities will now be less willing to come forward," he says. "Canadians must understand the gravity of that ongoing threat to the public interest."

"The freedom of expression, not just of writers and journalists, but of all Canadians, needs constant and vigilant defence," says Grace Westcott, Executive Director of PEN Canada. "Mass government surveillance effectively encroaches on that freedom, to all our cost."

The Centre for Free Expression in the Faculty of Communication and Design at Ryerson University is a hub for public education, research and advocacy on free expression and the public's right to know. Our work is undertaken in collaboration with academic and community-based organizations across Canada and internationally.

The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing nearly 500 members across the country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide public-interest advocacy and high-quality professional development for its members.

PEN Canada is a non-partisan organization of writers that works to defend the right to freedom of expression at home and abroad.  PEN Canada celebrates literature, fights censorship, helps free persecuted writers from prison and assists writers living in exile in Canada.

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