Tag Archives: awards

Yet more journalists of tomorrow

Concordia journalism bursary winners from 2014-15.

Concordia journalism bursary winners from 2015-16.

On Monday, the Montreal Gazette will be presenting awards in the form of bursaries to students in Concordia University’s Journalism department. As has become sort of a tradition for the past half-decade, I’m so lazy that I’m only now writing up my interviews with the winners of last year’s awards (which to be fair, were given out in January) and the year before (uhh, my dog ate it?).

I chatted with each of them briefly about their origins, their futures, and what they think about journalism. Here’s what they had to say:

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Even more journalists of tomorrow

Once a year, my employer the Montreal Gazette hands out bursaries to promising Concordia University journalism students. For the past four years, I’ve been interviewing the winners after they receive their awards to ask them about themselves and their thoughts on the future of journalism. I posted one set of interviews in 2010 and another in 2011.

Though I did more interviews in 2012 and 2013, I never got around to posting them. Today, another set of students will be coming in to receive these bursaries, so I figured it’s time to find those dusty notebooks and finally post what these people told me, along with some updates of what they’ve done since.

So here we are, another series of profiles of, if the selection committee is right, journalism’s latest rising stars:

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The press room at the Gémeaux

Half of the salle de presse at the 2012 Gémeaux at Place des Arts on Sept. 16

The request came from my editor on Monday, six days before: How would I feel about covering the Gémeaux for The Gazette? Their usual writer for these things, Brendan Kelly, was working a news reporting shift that day (weekend shifts are rotated among staff to share the burden), so he needed a backup. And since I know a bit more about French-language television than the usual Gazette writer, he thought of me. Despite the fact that I was also working a regular shift that day (but in the morning), I accepted. I was just too curious what it would be like. I’ve never covered an awards ceremony before. And I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve written stories on deadline like this. Fortunately for me, the people organizing this event are professionals, and they have it all down to a science. Continue reading

More journalists of tomorrow

A year ago, I introduced my readers to some Concordia University journalism students who visited The Gazette to receive awards (and a little bit of scholarship money) named in memory of some of the paper’s dearly departed.

A few weeks ago, the next crop of journalism students came by to receive awards, and I repeated the process, not wanting these new kids to feel left out. (Apparently some of them found that blog post when they researched the awards.)

These awards are an early indicator of strong candidates among the field of upcoming graduates. Two of the five winners from last year ended up as interns this year – Mel Lefebvre on the copy desk and Katherine Lalancette as a reporter. I can’t imagine that’s a coincidence.

But, of course, it’s not absolute. After all, I didn’t win any of these awards when I was a journalism student, and look how awesome I am now!


Anyway, here are this year’s honourees:

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The journalists of tomorrow

Students of Concordia University's journalism graduate diploma program

Almost a month ago, The Gazette went through a yearly tradition of inviting journalism students into its office and handing out some awards (read: small bursaries) to those who have stood out among their peers.

This evening went on like others have before it, with the students being invited into the office and being served wine and cheese before some people they don’t know introduce other people they don’t know and hand out bursaries named after people they don’t know.

But there was a big difference this year: a new bursary, named after someone else they didn’t know.

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Tourism Montreal up for Webby Award

I’ve never really been a fan of the Webby Awards, the anual awards for Web design. It’s not that they charge hundreds of dollars for entries (and then more hundreds to actually attend the ceremony) or because that source of income encourages them to inflate the number of winners, but for the simple fact that the judges for these awards always prefer style (or should I say “Flash”?) over substance.

Looking at the list of nominees, it seems clear that Flash-heavy multimedia ad campaign sites are held in higher regard than genuinely useful boring HTML. The famous websites and bloggers get their nods, of course (assuming they’re willing to pay or their fame is high enough that the Webbys think they’ll add prestige and eyeballs to the event), but everything else seems to be judged on looks alone. In fact, many entries don’t even link to the websites themselves but to special awards pages that explain how awesome the Web campaign is instead of just pointing people to the sites and having them figure it out themselves.

That is reflected in the nominees with Canadian connections. Officially there are 13 Canadian nominees, making Canada the fourth-most nominated country behind the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand, and just ahead of Australia (notice a trend there, perhaps having to do with the primary language of these countries?) Metro has links to them. But nationality is judged by the organization which created the site, not the site itself, so there are actually others.

Here are the Canadian website nominees I’ve found:

  • Tourism Montreal, by local outfit Sid Lee, in the tourism category. Best known for its slick (and expensive) Montreal in two minutes video, it also has an event search that warns you not to use the basic functions of your browser.
  • Adidas 60 years of soles and stripes, another Sid Lee joint, in the fashion category. Appears to redirect to another Adidas site. In any case, it’s a flashy site for a company whose business model relies on being lashy and cool.
  • Visual Dictionary (Merriam-Webster) from Montreal-based QA International, in the education category. A quality nominee that’s both good-looking and useful.
  • Smartset’s Fashion at Play, by Toronto-based Taxi, in the animation/motion graphics category. A completely useless site, it encourages people to spin boxes around to reveal new outfits, and then plays a video. That “unlocks” access to a downloadable ZIP file which contains a desktop background, ringtone and video, all of which are connected to the campaign and aren’t interesting at all. And when you unlock everything … nothing happens. Fantastic. But hey, the boxes spin.
  • 1000 Awesome Things, a Toronto-based one-person blog about things that are awesome, in the personal/culture blog category. (Hear an interview with its creator with Terry DiMonte on Q107)
  • Kaboose, a Toronto-based parenting site, in the family/parenting category. No complaints here.

I should also point out that the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog, a very simple idea simply produced, is also nominated.

There are also nominees in advertising, video and “mobile” categories, but I don’t care about those (except to note that my favourite remix of all time is nominated as a viral video). Here are the Canadians:

Interactive ad campaigns

  • Russian Dolls
  • Nokia Accessories Portfolio Video
  • The Big Wild Email
  • Let’s Change Insurance – Aviva Banners
  • Coffee Cup
  • Online videos

  • Follow Your INSTINCT (2 nominations: Best Editing et Best Sound Design)
  • The Curse of Degrassi
  • NNA nominations (with links)

    Every year, the National Newspaper Awards honours the best in Canadian print journalism. And twice every year (once when the nominations are announced in March and again when the winners are announced in May), newspapers across the country toot their own horn so hard it’ll make you deaf:

    As if underscoring how little the print media understand the Interwebs, the NNA’s announcement of nominees (and most stories that followed that announcement, including all the ones listed above) included no links to nominated stories and photos.

    The spin went even further than that. Though the Globe and Mail (13) led nominations, followed by the Toronto Star (10) and La Presse (8), Canwest added all their papers’ nominations together and declared victory with 14 (Torstar, which also owns the Hamilton Spectator and Kitchener-Waterloo Record, got 15 nods with the Star’s 10, Spec’s 4 and Record’s 1). Sun Media also added up its nominations, but could only get to seven (none are from its Quebec papers.)

    By newspaper, the penis measurements numbers are as follows:

    • Globe and Mail: 13
    • Toronto Star: 10
    • La Presse: 8
    • Calgary Herald: 4
    • Hamilton Spectator: 4
    • Ottawa Citizen: 4
    • Canadian Press: 3
    • The Gazette: 2
    • Winnipeg Free Press: 2
    • Barrie Examiner: 1
    • Brantford Expositor: 1
    • Edmonton Journal: 1
    • Lethbridge Herald: 1
    • New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal: 1
    • North Bay Nugget: 1
    • Prince George Citizen: 1
    • Reuters: 1
    • Simcoe Reformer: 1
    • Toronto Sun: 1
    • Vancouver Sun: 1
    • Victoria Times-Colonist: 1
    • Waterloo Record: 1
    • Windsor Star: 1

    Other papers, including the National Post, Journal de Montréal, Le Devoir, Vancouver Province and Halifax Chronicle-Herald, were left out entirely, either because they did not enter or their entries didn’t get nominated.

    Some nominated papers did include links to their own nominations, but not to others:

    So since there’s no one page online with links to all the nominations, I’ll just put one together myself. Again. (I’ll add links to photo and design categories if any show up)

    Multimedia feature

    News feature photography

    Beat reporting

    • Michelle Lang, Calgary Herald: health and medicine
    • Rob Shaw, Victoria Times-Colonist: policing issues (see “More on this story”)
    • Jane Sims, London Free Press: justice

    Explanatory work


    • Linda Diebel, Toronto Star (insider stories)
    • Steve Rennie, Canadian Press (listeriosis)
    • Jeffrey Simpson & Brian Laghi, Globe and Mail (Prime Minister Stephen Harper)

    Short features

    Local reporting

    • Gordon Hoekstra, Prince George Citizen: forestry industry in B.C.
    • North Bay Nugget: E-coli outbreak
    • Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer: Ontario Home Owner Employee Relocation plan


    • Julien Chung, La Presse
    • France Dupont, La Presse
    • Catherine Farley & Sharis Shahmiryan, Toronto Star

    Special project

    Sports photography

    • Tony Bock, Toronto Star
    • J. T. McVeigh, Barrie Examiner
    • Derek Ruttan, London Free Press: Football fumble (second photo)




    Arts and entertainment


    Feature photography

    International reporting


    Editorial cartooning

    Long feature

    News photography

    Breaking news

    *Congratulations to Martin Mittelstaedt for getting his name misspelled in his NNA nomniation announcement.

    The awards will be handed out May 22 in Montreal.

    Post wins pointless design award race

    The Society for News Design has announced the winners of its annual awards.

    For the uninitiated, the Society for News Design is the big newspaper design group and winning one of their awards is a badge of the highest honour for newspaper designers.

    Or, at least it would be if they were more selective. The SND gives out almost a thousand awards each year, and considering there are 10,725 entries from 346 newspapers, that means that each entry has a one in ten shot of winning an award, and each newspaper should get three awards on average just for showing up.

    Perhaps for that reason, the number of newspapers participating in this exercise has dropped. Notably missing from the list below is the Globe and Mail, for example.

    Still, it’s seen as a penis-measuring contest, so let’s whip out those rulers. The 108 awards given to Canadian publications break down as follows:

    You can seee a full list of winners by searching the database (there’s too many of them to list all on one page, after all). You’ll probably also see special pages devoted to SND wins in the above publications. Updated with links to self-laudatory stories in the four multiple-award-winning papers.

    The honourable Zurkowsky

    Herb Zurkowsky: Don't mess with him

    Herb Zurkowsky: Don't mess with him

    As everyone’s eyes were focused on the Grey Cup this weekend, the Canadian Football Hall of Fame honoured Gazette CFL writer extraordinaire Herb Zurkowsky by including him in its illustrious group. (The story is penned by a Canwest writer only because no Gazette sports reporter could write one without referring to their colleague as “Sunshine Zeke”.)

    Mind you, next to story-that-writes-itself Tony Proudfoot, who was also inducted, Herb took a back seat in non-Canwest stories about the inductions (where such stories even existed at all).

    But the honour was absolutely deserved. Like his compatriot on the hockey side Pat Hickey, Zurkowsky works like crazy churning out copy on a daily basis (and in many cases, two or three stories a day). But while there are hockey games every couple of days, there’s only one game a week for the Alouettes, so Zurkowsky has to dig deep to find stuff to write about. That usually comes in the form of feature stories about the individual players.

    But what I like more about Zeke Herbowsky is that he’s not afraid to be a troublemaker. The players regularly get pissed off at him. General manager Jim Popp, who Zurkowsky heavily criticized last year when he was head coach, refuses to talk to him. And yet, Zurkowsky always has the scoop on the team, knows what management is thinking and what the players are doing. His access to the team, even having alienated the GM, is the envy of whoever else is left covering CFL football in Montreal.

    Don’t worry though, Zurkowsky isn’t letting the award getting to his head. He’s not being a diva or anything (I’m kidding, of course – besides, he has some backup there).

    Besides, his novels are long enough as they are. Last thing we need is him thinking he’s some sort of reporter superstar and start filing 1,500-word articles.

    Canadian Association of Broadcasters ignores Quebec

    This week, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, which represents non-CBC radio and television broadcasters across Canada, awarded its annual Gold Ribbon Awards for “excellence” in broadcasting.

    Looking at the list of finalists and especially the winners, it’s clear that Quebec is vastly under-represented here, both on the anglophone and francophone sides. In fact, only one Quebec-based broadcaster won an award, and that was the one specifically for French-language broadcasting. CKMF won the “Humour – French” category for its insanely hilarious Les 2 minutes du peuple.

    Looking at the list of finalists, here’s how it stacks up for Montreal and Quebec:

    Number of nominations for anglophone Quebec broadcasters: 2

    • CJAD 800 (Breaking news for Dawson Virginia Tech shooting)
    • CFCF (Diversity in news and information programming for My Montreal)

    Number of nominations for francophone broadcasters outside of French-only categories: 5

    • Info 690 Montreal (Diversity in news and information programming for Philippe Bonville en Afghanistan)
    • CJDM 92.1FM Drummondville (Promotion: Audience building for Drummond Matin)
    • CKMF Énergie 94.3 Montreal (Promotion: Station image for Le week-end des hits perdus)
    • CFGS Gatineau (Television documentaries for De Gatineau au Kilimandjaro)
    • CJNT Montreal (Television magazine programming for Le Pont)

    Number of categories with no nominations for Quebec-based or francophone broadcasters: 16

    • Radio community service (large market)
    • Radio community service (medium market)
    • Radio community service (small market)
    • Radio humour (English)
    • Radio information program
    • Promotion of Canadian musical talent
    • What radio does best
    • Television community service (large market)
    • Television community service (medium market)
    • Television community service (small market)
    • Television entertainment programming
    • Television fictional programming
    • Television breaking news
    • Television special/series and public affairs
    • Television promotion (station image)
    • Television promotion (Canadian program/series)

    Nominees in the humour (French) category: 5

    • CFTX-FM, Tag Radio 96,5, RNC MEDIA INC., Gatineau (Katastrophe)
    • CIGB-FM, Énergie 102,3, Astral Media Inc., Trois-Rivières (C’est l’fun de bonne heure)
    • CKMF-FM, Énergie 94,3, Astral Media Inc., Montréal (Les 2 minutes du peuple)
    • CKMF-FM, Énergie 94,3, Astral Media Inc., Montréal (Le Retour de Dominic et Martin)
    • CKMF-FM, Énergie 94,3, Astral Media Inc., Montréal (Salvail Racicot pour Emporter)

    Now, let’s compare these numbers to other ones I’ve compiled:

    • Nominations for broadcasters in Vanvouver: 17
    • Nominations for broadcasters in B.C. outside of Vancouver: 11
    • Nominations for broadcasters in Alberta: 12.5*
    • Nominations for broadcasters in Saskatchewan: 7.5*
    • Nominations for broadcasters in Toronto: 16
    • Nominations for broadcasters in Ottawa: 6

    * Stupid Lloydminster. Pick a province, we’re at war.

    So Quebec’s seven non-token nominations rank Canada’s second-largest province about on par with Saskatchewan, a province with 1/7th our population. Does that sound right?

    I’m not including pay and specialty channels here, because Montreal is fairly well represented here through MétéoMédia and Astral Media’s Canal D, Canal Vie, and Ztélé, all based out of Montreal. Astral media ended up winning awards here (two for Canal Vie and one for Ztélé), which I think shows how little original programming Canadian specialty TV contributes.

    Gazette honours Con U J-school kids

    Earlier this week, The Gazette distributed awards in the form of bursaries to some Concordia University students who, one would assume, are worthy of their awards through some form of awesomeness.

    I was surprised to recognize two of the names, since I’ve been pretty detached from my alma mater for three years now (long enough for everyone who was there to have gotten a degree and moved on).

    A side note to these journalists-to-be: Set up blogs or other forms of personal websites so when people like me talk about you, we have something to link to. Remember, you are whatever Google says you are.

    The winners are as follows:

    Congrats. Now go back to contemplating how this whole industry is on a downward spiral of doom.

    XM digs moderately into pocket for Canadian artists

    XM Canada wants the world to know that it’s sponsoring a music awards show with a whopping two categories, and investing a grand total of $50,000 in prize money. For the mathematically challenged, that’s $25,000 apiece, or enough to cover airfare to the ceremony.

    The awards will be given out in September, and rather than judge them based on merit, they’re putting it to a popularity vote.

    Between this and the Junos, I think it’s safe to say that Canadian artists are well cared for.

    Gémeaux includes web video category

    The nominations for the Gémeaux awards came out yesterday. Included is a new category for web video series, and the obvious ones are nominated.

    From the list of nominees (PDF) we see:

    • RadCan sweeps the public affairs category
    • 110% shockingly snubbed in the sports series category
    • Les Francs-Tireurs have a couple of nominations (including for hosts Patrick Lagacé and Dick Martineau), but sadly none in the hair and makeup category
    • Chez Schwartz is nominated for best original music in a documentary
    • Les Lavigueur, la vraie histoire dominates with 15 nominations, followed by TVA’s Le Négociateur with 14.
    • TQS’s Flash got a nomination for best cultural magazine show. It’s the only nomination I could find for a TQS show.

    Heinrich wins CAJ award

    The Gazette’s Jeff Heinrich, who has been following the reasonable accommodation situation in Quebec as the paper’s diversities reporter, and whose tireless work following the Bouchard-Taylor Commission got him a scoop on (part of) the report, has been honoured with an award by the Canadian Association of Journalists. And, of course, the paper is very happy about that.

    The complete list of winners is in this press release.

    The CBC was the big winner, picking up three awards in the three radio/TV categories, which I guess qualifies as a “sweep,” according to Inside the CBC. Other winners included the Globe/Citizen for a joint piece on a man who got into witness protection and then committed a “heinous crime,” and the Star for a series of investigations into charities’ finances (other related articles are in the sidebar).

    QCNA awards excellence in grandmother-turns-100 reporting

    This is Nikki Mantell of the Low Down to Hull & Back News, which I have to admit is the most awesome name for a community newspaper I’ve ever seen. If she seems particularly cheerful to you, it’s not just because she’s so adorable with her golden turkey award, or because she has a secret crush on photographer Adam Franc. She also won an award for best local affairs editorial at the Quebec Community Newspaper Association Awards, which honour excellence in (anglophone) Quebec community newspapers. Her paper also won awards for best sports story, best feature photo and best front page, as well as a number of second and third-place finishes, making it a big winner that night.

    Another big winner was, unsurprisingly, the West Island Chronicle, which had five first-place finishes, though two were for freelancer Peter McCabe, one was for a former reporter who now works at Canadian Press, and one was for an advertising salesperson.

    The Chronicle also won the best overall newspaper award.

    The best website category went to the Canadian Jewish News, followed by the Chronicle (strange since it’s identical to every other Transcontinental weekly paper’s website) and the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, which as you can see is all crazy-Web 2.0 without silly things like top stories.

    Full list of award winners (PDF)