Discourse Media's Erin Millar, co-founder and CEO, and Debbie Douez, business development consultant, accepted the 2016 CJF Innovation Award on behalf of the Vancouver media company. Watch the acceptance speech.

About the CJF Innovation Award

Further strengthening its support of journalistic innovation, The Canadian Journalism Foundation is proud to announce its 2017 CJF Innovation Award now offers the winning news organization a cash prize of $10,000, with thanks to the generous support of new award sponsor Chevrolet. 

At a time when news organizations are facing unprecedented challenges and demands for change, this award recognizes innovations that have a demonstrated impact in advancing the quality of journalism done by an individual news organization.


Innovation can come in a wide range of fields, including (but not restricted to):
•    new formats for audiences;
•    different operating procedures within a newsroom;
•    new storytelling techniques;
•    a new product produced by the newsroom; 
•    the design and/or introduction of new technology;
•    distinctive reporting strategies and techniques;
•    new ways of engagement with audiences;
•    involvement of the community in the news process; and
•    partnerships or team approaches to reporting and producing stories.

It is up to individual applicants to identify and explain the innovation being nominated. While it could have taken more than a year from concept to implementation, the impact of the innovation must have occurred in 2016.

Each applicant should address the following issues (responses to each issue should be no more than 150 words). Adjudication will consider all these criteria with judges having a particular interest in innovations that help the news organization promote accuracy, social responsibility and accountability.

1. A description of the origin of the innovation, including initial rationale for proceeding, the problem to be solved or the theory to be tested and anticipated results at the time the innovation was proposed
2. How was it proposed/conceived, how much debate was there within the organization before acceptance, who approved it and how did the organization reach the final decision to proceed with the innovation?
3. Time frame from the idea stage to implementation, identifying the parts of the organization that were involved in the process from start to finish, as well as the number of people involved and number and stages of approval from conception to implementation.
4. An explanation of how the organization assessed both the impact and the success of the innovation including whether the anticipated benefits actually occurred and if not, why not.
5. How the innovation has improved the quality of the organization’s journalism.

The CJF Innovation Award winner was announced at the annual CJF Awards at The Fairmont Royal York on June 8, 2017 in Toronto.

DEADLINE: Feb. 24, 2017

Please contact CJF executive director Natalie Turvey should you have any questions.


2016 - Discourse Media 
Discourse Media, an upstart Vancouver-based independent media company, produces in-depth journalism about complex issues using collaborative approaches. During a transportation funding referendum in Metro Vancouver—when journalists had little access to usable data and the public had little context about the issue itself—Discourse Media obtained, analyzed and produced data to share among multiple newsrooms, resulting in its "Moving Forward" project. In one instance, Discourse partnered with academics to access datasets, such as that used in the Cost of Commute Calculator, which allowed users to punch in their commute and see a breakdown of the full cost to themselves and to society.

2015 - Emergent
Emergent tackled the challenge of assessing the huge volume of social media information by checking the veracity of emerging stories, rumours and viral claims