The award, which was presented to J-Source and ProjetJ by CAJ President Hugo Rodrigues Saturday evening at the CAJ banquet and gala, is not an annual award—instead, it is presented at the president’s discretion under circumstances of exceptional merit.
“The Canadian Journalism Project highlights excellence in Canadian journalism and allows a place to consider and discuss it with those who take interest,” CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues said. “It was an easy decision to recognize this commitment for its exemplary contribution to journalism.”
At the banquet, Rodrigues recalled a conversation that took place at a CAJ board meeting in 2007, where the question was posed: “Wouldn’t it be great to create a ‘Canadian Poynter?’” It was from that conversation, and the desire to have a place for discussion and analysis of Canadian journalism on the part of founding editors Ivor Shapiro and Collette Brin, that the Project was born.
Fast-forward five years to Saturday evening. As Rodrigues said, “While Poynter is still Poynter, there’s nothing in Canada that matches the heft, reach and impact of the Canadian Journalism Project and its J-Source and ProjetJ websites.”
Janice Neil, editor-in-chief of J-Source and Anne Caroline Desplanques, rédactrice en chef de ProjetJ accepted the award at the gala.
“I'm thrilled and very proud of our success, and for the passion for journalism that drives our writers and readers,” Neil said.
“The success of J-Source is based on something journalists aren't normally very comfortable with: collaboration,” she continued. This includes the collaboration of many journalism professors and working professionals who volunteer their time to run sections, journalism schools across the country, and other journalism organizations, such as Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma, PBS MediaShift and The Tyee.
Neil also noted and thanked the associate editors who have worked on the Project over the years (Regan Ray, Dana Lacey, Lauren McKeon and Belinda Alzner) and the program managers of the Canadian Journalism Foundation—which funds, hosts and supports the Project—Heather McCall and Wendy Kan.
Past winners of the President’s Award include Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who was murdered in Iran, former Le Journal de Montreal crime reporter Michel Auger, and a group of lawyers who advocate for free speech and access to information.
(In the photo above, from left to right: Anne Caroline Desplanques, rédactrice en chef de ProjetJ; Belinda Alzner, associate editor of J-Source; Janice Neil, editor-in-chief of J-Source; Natalie Turvey, executive director of the Canadian Journalism Foundation.)