OpenFile's Wilf Dinnick wins J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year Award

TORONTO, Jan. 25, 2012 /CNW/ - Wilf Dinnick, the founding editor and CEO of OpenFile, has been named the J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year.

The award honours an individual who has demonstrated excellence and made a positive impact on the quality of journalism in 2011. The J-Source jury cited him as the person who most exemplified the spirit of innovation.

Dinnick's open-source news website OpenFile.ca, launched a year and a half ago and backed by three years of venture capital, takes pitches from citizens and assigns freelance reporters to follow up on the stories.

"The jury applauds his courage to put his own reputation on the line to create new and innovative approaches to engaging citizen with local, public service journalism in an independent environment, without the backing or safety net of working within an established news organization," said Janice Neil, chair of the jury and editor-in-chief of J-Source.

Neil cited the way Dinnick, a former CBC, CTV and CNN journalist, uses new and emerging media technologies to redefine the relationship between journalists and citizens.

"OpenFile.ca is an example of what the jury sees as a new way to think about news and represents the heart and soul of journalism's future," said Neil.

The jury also makes a special mention to three other nominees, for their innovation in delivering and gathering the news: James Baxter, founder of iPolitics (www.ipolitics.ca; Sean Holman, founder of Public Eye www.publiceyeonline.com); and Duncan McCue, developer of an open-source online guide for journalists covering indigenous communities http://www.publiceyeonline.com, who is also a broadcaster and teacher (www.riic.ca).

The names were among 28 put forward by colleagues and citizens from across the country, and represented a highlight reel of Canadian journalism for 2011. Their accomplishments ranged from in-depth local news stories, to start-up successes, to renowned data journalism projects.

J-Source has been honouring excellence in journalism since 2008. Past recipients include: Kenneth Whyte as editor of Maclean's; the employees of CHEK-TV in Victoria who put their own careers and finances on the line to rescue their local television station and the investigative reporters and editors of the Toronto Star.

This year's jury included: Alan Bass, assistant professor at the School of Journalism, Thompson Rivers University (Kamloops, B.C.); Paul Benedetti, lecturer and coordinator of the Journalism Program at the University of Western Ontario (London); Nicole Blanchett Neheli, coordinator of the Journalism Broadcast Program at the Sheridan Institute of Technology (Toronto); Candis Callison, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism (Vancouver); and Janice Neil, assistant professor at the School of Journalism at Ryerson University (Toronto) and editor-in-chief of J-Source.

For further information:

Wendy Kan
Program Manager
Canadian Journalism Foundation
416-955-0394 x502