Jury shrugs off formal complaint to the Canadian Journalism Foundation
An update for readers regarding the decision by a jury of the Canadian Journalism Foundation to award a website viewed locally as an organ of Vision Vancouver and environmental charities with their Excellence in Journalism award for small/local media. This institution devoted to upholding journalistic principles and keeping organizations and governments accountable responded to the concern with that familiar phrase: "No Comment". Here is the response from the chair of the CJF jury:
We have had the opportunity to review your concerns and remain confident in our decision and the process and criteria used in selecting the Vancouver Observer as the 2012 Excellence in Journalism award recipient (small/local media).
It was a less than fulfilling response under the circumstances, so Mr. Benedict was asked to elaborate. It was an opportunity for an organization dedicated to promoting journalistic ethics and accountability to put those principles into action. So:
- In the spirit of openness and transparency, will you release the jury's written decision as to why Vancouver Observer (VO) was given the Excellence in Journalism award?
- Also in the spirit of openness and transparency, will the CJF release Vancouver Observer's submission to the CJF?
- Does the jury acknowledge that there are real concerns about political partisanship and conflict of interest within VO's reporting, or was there an attempt made to look into questions of conflict and partisanship by you or the jury after the matter was brought to your attention?
- Was it deemed necessary by the jury to contact any Vancouver-based media sources after the concerns about VO were raised, and if not, why?
Three and a half minutes after these questions were sent by email, came the following response:
We have nothing further to say on the matter.
No comment, in other words. It certainly shakes one's faith in these awards and makes you wonder where journalism is headed if we're celebrating political mouthpieces. I certainly hope that a more rigorous process is used for the CJF in the future, but Benedict's response does not provide much comfort.
For my earlier comment about journalism, see "Blogs are not journalism".
– post by Mike