Canadian Journalism Foundation announces Innovation Award shortlist

TORONTO, April 14, 2016 /CNW/ - The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is proud to announce the shortlist for its CJF Innovation Award, recognizing creative new measures that advance the quality of journalism.

Now in its second year, the award was created to acknowledge the unprecedented challenges—and demands for change—faced by news organizations.

"We saw a wide variety of entries for the CJF Innovation Award, ranging from important improvements of internal processes to new products that benefit audiences directly," says Joshua Benton, director of Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab and a member of the award jury. "We think it's important to highlight these innovations to encourage further growth in the Canadian journalism industry."

The three finalists are:

CBC North
For the 2015 N.W.T. general election, CBC North hosted a series of real-time, online election forums on its website, giving voters a chance to hear from all their candidates—many of whom were initially reluctant to participate—in a single place. The forums drew a strong response from isolated communities such as the sparsely populated riding of Nunakput, spanning four fly-in communities in the High Arctic. "#NWTVotes: CBC North's series of online candidates forums"

Discourse Media
An upstart Vancouver-based independent media company, Discourse Media produces in-depth journalism about complex issues using collaborative approaches. During last year's transportation funding referendum in Metro Vancouver—when journalists had little access to usable data and the public had little context about the issue itself—Discourse Media obtained, analyzed and produced data to share among multiple newsrooms, resulting in its "Moving Forward" series. In one instance, Discourse partnered with academics to access datasets, such as that used in the Cost of Commute Calculator, which allowed users to punch in their commute and see a breakdown of the full cost to themselves and to society.

The Globe and Mail
To enhance digital storytelling, The Globe and Mail created a series of proprietary, easy-to-use tools, particularly on mobile. Among their creations: an enriched article tool for creating immersive multimedia features and a tool for generating instant interactive charts from any spreadsheet. The Globe's customized publishing tools for features, charts and other multimedia were represented in: "The Migrant Crisis: Here's Why It's Not What You Think" (long-form journalism) and "The Hike Is Here" (explanatory journalism).

The CJF Innovation Award winner will be announced at the annual CJF Awards at The Fairmont Royal York on June 16 in Toronto. Follow #CJFawards on Twitter.

Jury members are:
Chair - Mathew Ingram, senior writer, Fortune
Joshua Benton
, director, Nieman Journalism Lab, Harvard University
Alfred Hermida
, associate professor, UBC Graduate School of Journalism
Melanie Coulson
, director of communications and content, United Way Ottawa
Kelly Toughill
, associate professor and director, School of Journalism, University of King's College

About The Canadian Journalism Foundation
Established in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes excellence in journalism by celebrating outstanding journalistic achievement. Our signature events include an annual awards program featuring a must-attend industry gala where Canada's top newsmakers meet Canada's top news people. Through J-Talks, our popular speakers' series, we facilitate dialogue among journalists, business people, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society and the ongoing challenges for media in the digital era. The foundation also supports journalism websites (English) and (French) and fosters opportunities for journalism education, training and research.

SOURCE Canadian Journalism Foundation

For further information: Natalie Turvey, Executive Director, The Canadian Journalism Foundation, Phone: 416-955-0396, email:


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