A new chapter begins at the National NewsMedia Council

A new chapter begins at the National NewsMedia Council

The National NewsMedia Council (NNC) is pleased to announce enhanced roles for its two staff members following the retirement of Pat Perkel, the organization’s inaugural executive director, effective April 30, 2021.  Effective today, Brent Jolly has been appointed to serve as the NNC’s new managing director and will oversee day-to-day operations. Cara Sabatini will continue to serve in her role as director of dispute resolution, coordinating and supporting the resolution of  public complaints. John Fraser continues to serve as the …

Competition for fourth annual Fraser MacDougall Prize now open

Competition for fourth 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 fourth annual Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Voice in Canadian Human Rights Reporting. The prize is awarded to an exceptional piece of student journalism, with a human rights focus, that is published in campus-based media during the 2020-2021 academic year. Winners (typically, the story’s writer and editor) receive a cash prize of $1,000. Previous award winners of the Fraser MacDougall …

An evening to celebrate public service journalism (and an industry legend!)

An evening to celebrate public service journalism (and an industry legend!)

It’s not every day that one is presented with the opportunity to reflect on a career of more than 60 years in the news business, but for the NNC’s executive chair, that rare moment will be taking place on Thursday evening. This past June, the Michener Awards Foundation announced that John Anderson Fraser would be receiving the prestigious Michener-Baxter Special Award for long-term achievement in public service journalism. This special award, established in 1983 and presented at the discretion of the …

Complaints we heard: Freedom of expression or misinformation?

Complaints we heard: Freedom of expression or misinformation?

Over the past several months, the NNC has been hearing a great deal about pandemic-related reader comments and letters to the editor. “Yet another (letter) praising (a writer’s) comments has appeared in this week’s (paper). Large numbers of protestors have started to protest measures based on this type of misinformation that they believe affects them,” is one lament we heard. “It concerns me that misinformation, and disinformation for that matter, would even get published.” Some readers have told us they …

Complaints we heard: There’s more to the story than just its headline

Complaints we heard: There’s more to the story than just its headline

The NNC has received several complaints this year about headlines. In two recent examples, both complainants were concerned that the headline of the story contained misleading or insufficient information. The NNC found no breach in either case, but instead identified relevant points for the purpose of reader education. In one case, an individual was concerned that the headline of a Globe and Mail article incorrectly attributed the statement that ‘Mi’gmaq students [were] no longer welcome’ in the province to the …

Complaints we heard: Moderating comments

Complaints we heard: Moderating comments

The NNC recently reviewed a complaint from a reader who was displeased that Sudbury.com had removed a message posted to the comment section at the foot of June 23, 2020, article under the headline, “Graduate students say request to LU to waive tuition fees met with ‘basically silence’”. The complainant expressed concern that the news organization acted unethically by removing the comment, and stated that the act amounted to “unlawful censorship” and violation of Charter rights to free expression. In …

Michener Foundation honours John Fraser

Michener Foundation honours John Fraser

The Michener Awards Foundation today announced it is presenting its prestigious Michener-Baxter Special Award for long-term achievement in public service journalism to John Anderson Fraser. This special award, established in 1983 and presented at the discretion of the foundation’s board of directors, has only been bestowed on eight Canadians in the past three decades. “It seems fitting that Mr. Fraser — an icon of Canadian journalism — receive this honour in our 50th anniversary year,” said Pierre-Paul Noreau, President of the Michener …

Complaints we heard: Reader concerned about ‘bias’ in analytical article

Complaints we heard: Reader concerned about ‘bias’ in analytical article

The NNC reviewed a complaint about a feature article, “How Beijing’s Coverup Led to a Global Pandemic,” published in an April 2020 edition of the Epoch Times. The complainant was concerned with the accuracy of statements in the article, in particular, with the premise, “Thus began the coverup by the Chinese Communist Party of one of the most deadly outbreaks in recent history.” In reviewing the article in question, the NNC noted that it adhered to the journalistic conventions of …

Working (remotely) to support quality journalism during the COVID-19 pandemic

Working (remotely) to support quality journalism during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dear NNC members, We’re reaching out with huge congratulations to each of you for your dedicated commitment to public service during these uncertain times. We know your readers appreciate very much your heroic efforts to serve the needs of your communities by providing steady access to accurate, reliable, and trustworthy information. Your hard work in extraordinary circumstances is concrete evidence of how vital the news media is during a time of crisis. For our part, NNC staff are in the …

Complaints we heard: Calgary Herald announces that syndicated cartoon will no longer be published

Complaints we heard: Calgary Herald announces that syndicated cartoon will no longer be published

The National NewsMedia Council received a complaint about a racially insensitive syndicated cartoon that appeared in the Calgary Herald. Concern was expressed that the cartoon, “Close to Home,” published on February 21, 2020, was racist against Indigenous people in its depiction of a character. The cartoon showed the Lone Ranger and Tonto at a bar, with the words “‘Kemosabe! Tonto hear last call coming! Maybe eight or ten minutes away…’” A number of news media subsequently reported on objections to …