Henry Aubin has a nice piece in Thursday’s Gazette, praising a half-dozen investigative journalists as his persons of the year for uncovering corruption scandals at city hall.
There are two things I like about this:
First, there was no single newspaper, no single journalist, no single news agency that got the scoop. These are six journalists for five different – competing news outlets in Montreal, including the three paid daily newspapers not currently in a labour conflict (as La Presse’s Marc Cassivi notes, the Journal de Montréal contributed precisely nothing). They each uncovered another facet of the story. They each tried to get that “exclusive” badge of honour, but they also worked off each other’s findings. The competition among them produced a better story as a whole.
Second, it’s a strong argument in favour of professional journalism. Note that I use the term “professional” here, not “traditional” or “old”. Only half of these journalists are print reporters, and one works exclusively for an online publication. But they’re all professional. This is their job. (Here I differ with Aubin on an issue of pure semantics: there’s nothing about a blog that makes it unprofessional other than its reputation – it all depends on who is doing the writing.)
While I still think it’s unfortunate that Montreal gets so much attention but hundreds of other cities across Quebec get little or no attention from professional journalists, I’m glad the eyes of the people are on this one, at least.
So congratulations (in alphabetical order so as not to play favourites) to Fabrice de Pierrebourg (Rue Frontenac), Marie-Maude Denis and Alain Gravel (Radio-Canada), Linda Gyulai (The Gazette), Kathleen Lévesque (Le Devoir), and André Noël (La Presse). You did good.
(And then we went ahead and re-elected Tremblay.)