A short note from the National NewsMedia Council

A short note from the National NewsMedia Council

Dear Readers,

Over the past few days, the National NewsMedia Council (NNC) has received complaints about an op-ed published in the Vancouver Sun and the Province this past weekend under the headline: ‘Ethnic diversity harms a country’s social trust, economic well-being, professor argues.’

As you are aware, the NNC is a voluntary, self-regulatory body that deals with complaints about news and opinion reporting published by our member newspapers and digital news organizations in Canada. The Vancouver Sun and the Province, as Postmedia titles, are among our founding members.

As a mission, the NNC promotes widely accepted journalistic standards, including accuracy, context, and the opportunity to respond to allegations and harmful statements.

Our process requests that complainants and the news organization take the opportunity to resolve the issue at the local level, and proceed to the NNC if no resolution is found.

In this case, we note that the Vancouver Sun and the Province promptly removed the op-ed in question from their website. The NNC notes that the so-called ‘unpublishing’ of any content is a rare step that is generally reserved for serious cases.

We also note the publication’s editor-in-chief has written an apology to readers, and the news organization published another op-ed that strongly refutes the original opinion column.

These are strong measures on the part of the news organization. They are consistent with remedies the NNC would recommend or find appropriate.

The fact that the Vancouver Sun and the Province has taken these steps voluntarily, and in a timely manner is, in our view, a show of good faith in remedying a lapse in the news organization’s normal adherence to journalistic standards.

Best regards,

The NationalNews Media Council administration


Competition for third annual Fraser MacDougall Prize now open

The National NewsMedia Council, in partnership with Journalists for Human Rights, is pleased to announce the opening of the third annual Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting.

The prize is awarded to an exceptional piece of journalism with a human rights focus that is published in campus-based media during the past academic year.

Winners (typically, the story’s writer and editor) receive a cash prize of $1,000 and are recognized for their achievements at the annual Journalists for Human Rights Gala, held in Toronto. Previous award winners of the Fraser MacDougall Prize have gone to young journalists from The Varsity and The Queen’s Journal.

This award is made possible by a generous endowment to the National NewsMedia Council by the family of the late Fraser MacDougall, who had a distinguished career in journalism, chiefly with the The Canadian Press. Later in life, he was the first executive secretary of the former Ontario Press Council.

This year’s competition will open on July 2, 2019. Submissions will be accepted until August 13, 2019 at 23:59 EST.

To apply, your application must include:

  • A copy of the story, in either print or digital format
  • The names of the principle writer and editor who worked on the story
  • A one page note to jury members that contains information on:
    • What kind of human rights issue was addressed
    • Why this story was important to its readers/community
    • Why changes, if any, came because of the story’s publication
    • Any other information about the editorial process you think is worthy of consideration by judges

Queries about the award can be directed to Brent Jolly, the NNC’s director of community management. He can be reached at: bjolly@mediacouncil.ca


Ryerson University and the NNC release new report: Good News, Bad News: A snapshot of conditions at small-market newspapers in Canada

TORONTO, April 29, 2019 – Ryerson University’s Local News Research Project, in partnership with the National NewsMedia Council of Canada (NNC), is pleased to announce the publication of its new report: Good News, Bad News: A snapshot of conditions at small-market newspapers in Canada.

The report’s findings provide invaluable insight into questions about workload, audience engagement, the use of digital tools, and journalistic ethics and standards for print publications with a daily/weekly circulation below 50,000 copies.

Some of the report’s key findings include:

The Good:

  • The survey provides strong anecdotal evidence that highlights how local newspapers have a special place in Canadians’ news diets.
  • More than one-third of respondents said their publication had launched an editorial campaign on an issue that is important to their community.
  • Many respondents see the role of ‘audience engagement’ as an important way to foster conversations with readers and play an active role in civic and local debates.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly said their publications are a trusted source of information in their communities.
  • Survey results point to a willingness of community newspapers to embrace digital tools: About three-quarters of survey respondents said they now spend more time on digital-related output than they did two years ago.

The Bad:

  • Smaller newsrooms: Fifty-seven per cent of survey respondents said there are fewer people in their newsrooms now than in 2016.
  • A work culture that is demanding more of its workforce: About one-third of journalists said they are producing more stories and working longer hours compared to two years ago.
  • A split between employees who feel secure in their jobs and others who are concerned about job security: More than one-third of respondents said they felt slightly or very insecure in their positions, while nearly half said they felt very secure of slightly secure.
  • Small-market newspapers, like their bigger city counterparts, are grappling with intense competition from non-local digital platforms and publications for audiences and advertisers.
  • Limited employer-sponsored ethics training: Most respondents said they learn about journalism ethics and best practice from fellow journalists and from published articles. Only about one-third cited employer-sponsored resource guides or ethics training courses.

“These results paint a picture of what’s happening in small-market newsrooms at a time of major disruption,” says April Lindgren, a professor at Ryerson’s School of Journalism and lead investigator for the Local News Research Project (LNRP). Data from the LNRP’s Local News Map, which tracks changes to the local news landscape across Canada, show that 199 of the 275 local news outlet that have closed since 2008 have been community newspapers published fewer than five times per week.

“Smaller newspapers face major challenges but the survey also reveals that publications know they are making a unique contribution to communities by focusing on local stories that nobody else is telling.”

For its part in this project, the National NewsMedia Council sought to learn more about how journalists in small-market newsrooms kept abreast of editorial standards and ethical decision-making in an increasingly digital world.

“Editorial standards and ethics act as the foundations for good journalism – and good journalism is an essential piece of a community’s civic architecture,” says Brent Jolly, director of communication, research, and community management with the NNC.

“This study demonstrates that, on a whole, community newspapers are doing good work in building trust with their readers.”

A full copy of the report can be accessed here.

Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in innovative, career-oriented education. It is an Academic Member of the National NewsMedia Council.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES:

April Lindgren

Professor, Principal investigator for the Local News Research Project

Ryerson University Tel: 647 281 8847

april.lindgren@ryerson.ca

 

Brent Jolly

Director, Communications, Research, and Community Management

National NewsMedia Council of Canada

Tel: 289-387-3179

bjolly@mediacouncil.ca


Alberta’s Great West Newspapers join the National NewsMedia Council

(TORONTO, ON and ST. ALBERT, AB, Jan. 22) — The National NewsMedia Council of Canada is pleased to announce that all of Great West Newspapers’ 19 Alberta titles are now members of the NNC.

“This is yet another sign that editorial transparency and accountability are defining characteristics of quality journalism,” says John Fraser, the NNC’s executive chair. “And quality journalism lives at the heart of a strong democracy.”

Great West Newspapers had agreed to join the NNC after the Alberta Press Council ceased operations at the end of 2018. It had served Alberta’s weekly newspapers since 1972.

“Telling the important stories of our communities is what we do best,” says Duff Jamison, president and CEO of Great West Newspapers. “We have always believed in the work of press councils so we’re happy to join the NNC because membership allows us to continue showing our readers that they matter to us.”

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About the NNC:

The National NewsMedia Council is a national, independent, self-regulatory that reviews and adjudicates complaints from the public about the news media organizations in Canada.

Press contact: Brent Jolly 416-340-1981 x 3

bjolly@mediacouncil.ca

Website: www.mediacouncil.ca

About Great West Newspapers:

Great West Newspapers Limited Partnership is a Canadian community newspaper publishing company headquartered in St. Albert, AL.

Website: https://www.greatwest.ca/about/


Happy Holidays from the National NewsMedia Council of Canada

The staff at the National NewsMedia Council, along with our board members, would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous holiday season.

Our offices will be closed from December 21, 2018 and we will re-open on January 2, 2019. All questions, complaints, and other concerns will be responded to promptly upon our return.

Best wishes,

John, Pat, Brent, and Cara.


Young journalists from Queen’s Journal selected as winners of 2018 Fraser MacDougall Prize

TORONTO (September 11, 2018) – The National NewsMedia Council and Journalists for Human Rights are pleased to announce that Jasnit Pabla and Nick Pearce, from The Queen’s Journal, have been awarded this year’s Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting.

These two young journalists have won this year’s award for their submission ‘Truth & Reconciliation at Queen’s, a year later’. This year’s jury selected this piece because of the story’s thorough reporting, and how it effectively contextualized an issue of national importance for maximum local impact.

“We know that reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples will be a challenge for many generations to come,” says John Fraser, the executive chair of the National NewsMedia Council. “However, the themes of this story help to show how journalism has an important role to play in bridging long-standing historical divides.”

Rachel Pulfer, the executive director of Journalists for Human Rights, underscored the importance of bringing forward new voices to address an issue that touches on so many aspects of Canadian society.

“The vital point that reconciliation is all of our responsibilities and it must happen locally to be meaningful.”

In addition to this year’s winning story, the jury has also announced a special citation of honourable distinction to the story “It doesn’t matter because it didn’t happen on campus” from The McGill Tribune. This year’s jury was particularly struck by the story’s strength of writing and powerful narrative.

Both of these stories were selected from a short-list of six finalists that was announced earlier this summer.

The Fraser MacDougall Award for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting is an annual prize that recognizes an exceptional piece of human rights-focused journalism published in campus-based media.  In addition to the $1,000 cash prize, winners are recognized for their achievement at the annual Journalists for Human Rights Gala. The winning story is also re-published in The Toronto Star.

The MacDougall prize is made possible through the generous endowment of the late Fraser MacDougall, who had a distinguished career in journalism, chiefly with The Canadian Press. As well, MacDougall was the first executive secretary of the Ontario Press Council and, in that role, laid the foundation of a respected organization.

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The National NewsMedia Council

The National NewsMedia Council is a voluntary, self-regulatory body of the news media industry in Canada. It was established in 2015 with three aims: to promote ethical practices within the news media industry, to serve as a forum for complaints against its members, and to promote a news literate public.

The Council represents the public and the media in matters concerning the democratic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the media.

Journalists for Human Rights

Journalists for Human Rights is Canada’s leading media development organization. We train journalists to report on human rights and governance issues in their communities. When the media puts a spotlight on human rights, people start talking about the issues and demanding change. A strong, independent media is a referee between governments and citizens. When human rights are protected, governments are more accountable and people’s lives improve.

For more information about the award, please contact: 

Brent Jolly, Director of Communications, Research, and Community Management, National NewsMediaCouncil, 416-340-1981 x 3 or bjolly@mediacouncil.ca


Finalists announced for 2018 Fraser MacDougall Prize

TORONTO (July 11, 2018) – The National NewsMedia Council and Journalists for Human Rights are pleased to announce the short list of six finalists for this year’s Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting.

This year’s shortlist was chosen from a record number of 28 nominations from campus news organizations spread across the country.

The finalists for this year’s awards are (in no particular order):

  1. “The forgotten legacies of Queen’s Black medical students”, The Queen’s Journal
  2. “Truth and Reconciliation at Queen’s, a year later”, The Queen’s Journal
  3. “Unquantifiable”, The Queen’s Journal
  4. “It doesn’t matter because it didn’t happen on campus”, The McGill Tribune
  5. “Fighting for change: The why and how of the #metoo and #timesup movements”, The Charlatan (Carleton University)
  6. “What happens now? A deeper look at the VIU sexual harassment case”, The Navigator (Vancouver Island University)

This year’s jury was impressed by the quality of writing, rich context, and depth of narrative in all of the short-listed submissions. Judges were also impressed by the vibrancy of news presentation from campus news media organizations, either on newsprint or in digital format.

Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting was first presented in 2017, as a way to support young journalists to report on challenging, high-impact human rights issues.

Award winners receive a cash prize of $1,000, and are recognized for their achievement at the annual Journalists for Human Rights Gala, held in Toronto, where their campus publication will be distributed to all guests. Winning entries will also be re-published in The Toronto Star.

Tickets for this year’s JHR Gala can be purchased here.

Winners will be announced in mid-September.


National NewsMedia Council and Canadian University Press announce new partnership

TORONTO (June 26, 2018) — The National NewsMedia Council of Canada (NNC) and the Canadian University Press (CUP) announced today a partnership that will enable CUP member publications to access the NNC’s suite of training and support services.

“This partnership is a clear statement that the future of journalism in Canada is collaborative,” says John Fraser, executive chair of the NNC. “Whether one is working at a campus news organization, community publication, or in a major Canadian newsroom, a commitment to journalism ethics and standards are objectives we can all rally around.”

As part of this partnership, CUP’s 45 member publications across Canada will be entitled to the pre-publication support, training seminars, and ethical guidance that the NNC offers to its member newspapers, magazines and digital news sites.

“The NNC is very excited to help nurture the next generation of Canadian journalists at a grassroots level,” Fraser says.

“We are thrilled to begin our partnership with the NNC and we look forward to being able to offer their great services and support to our membership,” says Erik Preston, president of CUP.

“We see this as an opportunity to further strengthen CUP’s commitment to journalistic ethics and standards within the campus press, while also bringing together two organizations that each play a vital role in the Canadian media landscape.”

 

ABOUT US:

The National NewsMedia Council is a voluntary, self-regulatory journalism standards and ethics body for the English-language news media industry in Canada. It was established in 2015 with two main aims: to serve as a forum for complaints against its members, and to provide public education about the importance of quality journalism in a free and democratic society. It also administers the Fraser MacDougall Award for best new Canadian voice in Human Rights Reporting, in partnership with Journalists for Human Rights.   To learn more about the NNC visit: www.mediacouncil.ca

Follow us on Twitter: @CANMediaCouncil

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CANMediaCouncil/

Follow us on Medium: https://medium.com/@CanMediaCouncil

 

Canadian University Press (CUP) is a national, non-profit co-operative, owned and operated by student newspapers from coast to coast. The co-operative was formed in 1938 when editors from across Canada gathered in Winnipeg to discuss problems they faced covering national news. CUP is a community of student journalists, supporting our members at all times – especially when they need it most. CUP also recognizes the talent of its journalists by awarding the annual John H. Price McDonald Award for Excellence in Student Journalism.

Follow us on Twitter: @CanUniPress

Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/canadianuniversitypress/

 

MEDIA CONTACTS:


Competition for 2018 Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Canadian in Human Rights Reporting now open

TORONTO, March 27, 2018 – The National NewsMedia Council, in partnership with Journalists for Human Rights, is pleased to announce the opening of the second annual Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting.

The Prize is awarded to an exceptional piece of human-rights-focussed journalism published in campus-based media during the past academic year, as determined by a panel of distinguished judges.

Winners (typically, the story’s writer and editor) receive a cash prize of $1,000 and are recognized for their achievement at the annual Journalists for Human Rights Gala, held in Toronto, where their campus publication will be distributed to all guests. As well, the winning story will be re-published in The Toronto Star.  Last year’s winning piece from The Varsity can be read here.

The award is made possible by a generous endowment of the late Fraser MacDougall, who had a distinguished career in journalism, chiefly with The Canadian Press. Later in life, he was the first executive secretary of the former Ontario Press Council, which was a forerunner to the NNC.

This year’s competition will open on March 27, 2018. Submissions will be accepted until May 15, 2018 at 23:59 EST.

To be considered complete, your application must include:

  • A copy of the story in either print or digital format
  • The names of the principle writer and editor who worked on the story
  • A one page write up (maximum) that contains information on:
    • What kind of human rights issue was addressed
    • Why this story was important to its readers
    • What changes, if any, came of its publication
    • Any other information about the editorial process you’d like to highlight to judges

Queries about the award can be directed to Brent Jolly, the NNC’s director of communications and community management, at: fraser_macdougall_nnc_award@jhr.ca.


National NewsMedia Council debuts new ‘True Confessions’ podcast

The National NewsMedia Council is proud to present the first episode of our Acts of Journalism podcast.
The first season of the Acts of Journalism podcast is titled True Confessions, which riffs off of the imagery of the renowned 1940s and 1950s noir magazines often placed near grocery store checkout counters.
The series offers a frank discussion about the professional and ethical dilemmas encountered by many of Canada’s most prominent journalists during their storied careers. During the in-depth conversations, journalists ‘come clean’ about editorial mistakes, misjudgments, and/or ethical dilemmas. In short, we offer a forum where respected reporters can take ‘a mulligan’.
In talking about these ‘do-overs’, the goal of this podcast is not vindictive, but a chance to allow veterans to show young journalists that everyone, at some point in their career, commits errors. The purpose is not to focus on the mistakes made, but how one goes about correcting them and setting the record straight. In that way, True Confessions is rehabilitative of the soul.
Our first episode features a conversation with agent provocateur Jesse Brown from Canadaland.
It is available on your favourite podcast app, including: iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.