2012 J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year nominees

Below are a list of the nominees that we have received so far in the order that we received them. Last updated on Jan. 21, 2013

Deadline for nominations is Jan. 21, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Make your nomination for the J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year here.


Below are a list of the nominees that we have received so far in the order that we received them. Last updated on Jan. 21, 2013

Deadline for nominations is Jan. 21, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PST. Make your nomination for the J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year here.


Nominees and reasons for nominations:
(Names of nominators are kept confidential)


Kevin Donovan, Toronto Star

I’m nominating Kevin Donovan of the Toronto Star because he is the only journalist in Canada who regularly does the kind of investigative reporting that used to be commonplace in most newsrooms. His work on ORNGE is just one example where he has revealed information of wide public interest. And when he does break a story, he stays with it, finding new elements on compensation, corporate governance and poor practices that continue to beat out the late-comers who try to jump on his bandwagon.

Lisa Rainford, Toronto Community News

Lisa has been writing community articles for years. Her writing makes a difference to the local community. She is open to ideas from her readers and is always shinning a light on the possitive things happening in the neighbourhood.

I wish I were a better writer to truly reconginize the brilliance of this community writer providing news to her neigbhourhs that is greatly valued. Our high school students at Bishop Marrocco / Thomas Merton look forward to reading about what is happening in thei community through Lisa’s articles.

Kenny Yum, The Huffington Post Canada

Kenny took the helm of the Huffington Post, leaving a great job at The Globe and Mail. He has taken a news site that many scoffed at in the beginning and now has been able to attract talent, build audience and ensure the online news site has credibility.

I know from the people who work under him, he remains a calm, measured and fair manager. I know the other news sites now use the Huffington Post as a benchmark for how quickly news can be turned around, for size and layout and of course, different ways to tell stories. He should be an example to others in the news industry, that it is possible to find success in other places than traditional media news companies.

Kirk LaPointe, CBC Ombudsman

Kirk LaPointe has enjoyed an illustrious career in journalism in Canada. His career highlights can be viewed at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=4740921&locale=en_US&trk=tyah

In his career, Kirk has managed newspapers, news agencies, television and online media for more than 25 years. Kirk has helped launch media and participated in revitalizing media. He has served as a reporter, editor, teacher and television host. In addition to his work as the Ombudsman for the CBC, Kirk teaches at the graduate school of journalism at University of British Columbia and writes a blog on media ethics, standards and change at www.themediamanager.com.

In his role as CBC ombudsman, Kirk has pushed the envelope for transparency and I respectfully suggest he represented the public’s interest in holding the national public broadcaster to high standards in several controversial cases.

He would make an excellent choice as Newsperson of the Year

Glen McGregor, Ottawa Citizen

In 2012, no Canadian journalist better demonstrated an aptitude for data journalism, whether analyzing gun registry data, probing the origins of Internet videos linked to accused killer Luka Magnotta or working with partner Stephen Maher of Postmedia News on their dogged ongoing investigative series into the complex world of robocalls and voter suppression. Using a combination of technical skill and old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism, McGregor wrote more innovative and interesting stories than any other Canadian reporter, and experiments like his We Are The Dead Twitter bot — and the crowdsourced Remembrance Day profile, of one of Canada’s randomly selected war dead, that sprang from it — demonstrated a creativity that places him at the forefront of the field.

Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star

Michelle Shephard, National Security reporter for the Toronto Star, continues to inspire fellow journalists with her courageous, meticulous and always fair-minded reporting on both terrorism and human rights issues. This year, she was honoured with a diamond jubilee medal (she was nominated by Gen Romeo Dallaire) (http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx) and with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association award

(http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/06/21/toronto_star_reporter_michelle_shephard_wins_canadian_civil_liberties_association_award.html). She is the author of the acclaimed Decade of Fear: Reporting From Terrorism’s Grey Zone (Douglas & Mcintyre, 2011) and Guantanamo’s Child: the untold story of Omar Khadr (Wiley 2008). Shephard is a past winner of the Michener Award for public service journalism and three-time winner of National Newspaper Awards.
For more, see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Shephard

Elizabeth Chiu, CBC Halifax

She is a sensitive and caring journalist who holds her own in the anchor desk as well as reporting out in the field. She is head and shoulders above others in having the sensitivity to allow others to ‘tell their story’ in a deeply ompassionate and intelligent fashion. She goes above and beyond both in her workplace and with her friends. Sacrifices others would not consider she will do. Whatever the cost her loyalty knows no bounds. She is genuine and sincere a credit to the human race an asset to her workplace, and a treasure to her friends and family. I would not be surprised if she was not nominated by many others! She totally stands out in cut and calibre!!

Chris Hogg, Digital Journal

I nominate Chris Hogg for his contribution to journalism as an entrepreneur; he has left an indelible mark on both the editorial and business sides of an industry for which he is wildly passionate.

Chris built a global freelance network from scratch; he’s a pioneer and leader in social news; he developed tools and infrastructure to help aspiring journalists; and he has spearheaded development of new media technologies and platforms.

Chris was recently awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant achievement and remarkable service to Canada. And in 2012, Chris was proclaimed the “best-of-the-best of Canadian entrepreneurship” and his company was called one of the top 20 most promising tech startups in Canada — a rarity for a media organization.

Chris has dedicated his career to pushing the envelope forward and he is an inspiration to many. He would make an excellent choice as Newsperson of the Year.

Other commentsIt takes a new breed of journalist to really drive change in the media industry today, and Chris has demonstrated a rare talent for seeing things well before they happen. Chris has also contributed to the media industry in multiple ways, from editorial, to technology, to business and social media.

Eva Hoare, The Chronicle Herald

Eva, a former long-serving crime beat reporter, is a tenacious media veteran who still has a passion for exposing the truth and advocating for those who can’t be heard. Since giving up the crime beat after 10 years at the Halifax Chronicle Herald Eva has moved from business, to investigative writing to general reporter. She also contributes a freelance fashion column to the paper. Eva is currently championing the story about the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children and the alleged abuses against black children and teens in the provincial care home. The RCMP and the Crown have said they don’t have enough evidence to warrant charges against the alleged offenders. But that isnt’ going to deter her. Eva Hoare not giving up until she is satisfied the former children of the home receive their due resolution.

John Michael McGrath, Former OpenFile Toronto curator

I nominate John Michael McGrath for the JSource Newsperson of the Year award. John’s a rare breed as a journalist: He knows so much about municipal and provincial politics, but he’s also able to explain things in layman’s terms for the rest of us (and readers) to understand. I got to work with John at OpenFile for a number of months where I witnessed him break stories that the Mainstream Media would later report because John reported them. Since OpenFile’s hiatus, John continues to cover Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s conflict of interest case. If he’s not tweeting, he’s blogging about issues on his own blog, some of which the mainstream media again picks up on. Perhaps that’s John’s biggest strength: His mix of old-school journalism with new technologies (e.g. social media). If John’s not Newsperson of the Year, I don’t know who is.

Abby Cameron, editor of The Weekly Press/The Laker

Abby takes pride in telling stories about the community she covers. Whether that’s assigning stories in Noel of having female firefighters, or covering Municipal Council in East Hants, to local events like Maitland Launch Festival/EastHants Christmas Parade, Abby strives to provide her readers with insight through all the community. She also has a knack for great layout and design.

Other commentsI have known Abby for five years, and in her two-plus years as editor, she has grown the paper more, and with her knowledge of social-media and utilizing that, it has helped more people in the community-a bedroom community to Halifax-become more aware that they have their own community newspaper.

Sean Wetselaar, The Eyeopener

For a second year journalism student Sean Wetselaar is already making his name in the newspaper world. He was the first journalist in Toronto to break the story that a young man, Alaa Hejazi, charged in a double sexual assault was a Ryerson student. Wetselaar became the Arts and Life editor for Ryerson’s paper only halfway through his first year, and has now taken on the role of news editor. He takes the role seriously, but has fun with it. If he doesn’t have enough reporters one week, he’ll take on writing two or three stories himself in addition to editing the rest and organizing his layout. His section is always a pleasure to read, and often filled with news stories I wasn’t even aware of happening. His dedication to the paper on top of school makes him stand out and shine.

David Rider, Toronto Star

David Rider’s dogged reporting and capable leadership as the Urban Affairs Bureau Chief for the Toronto Star reflect true democratic journalistic principles in action. Only a journalist of the highest caliber would be able to consistently produce outstanding coverage of the Ford administration in a sanctioned vacuum of information. David was the only reporter to show up at Rob Ford’s official kick-off event for Mayor, and he and his team continue to keep Toronto taxpayers informed about what matters to them. He takes an active and encouraging interest in advancing the work of less seasoned ‘journos’ and participates in events such as ‘Word on the Street’ to promote literacy. His opinion pieces (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/12/19/commentary_tdsb_not_me_told_my_6yearold_son_about_newtown.html) and features (http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2012/08/24/star_reporter_david_riders_inherited_tackle_box_holds_memories_links_father_to_son_to_grandson.html) showcase his ability to go beyond City Hall to move readers through the power of his storytelling.

NOTE FROM NOMINATOR: CORRECTION to David Rider’s Nomination: David was the only reporter from a daily to attend Rob Ford’s kick off event. Nominator regrets the error.

Meghan Hurley, Ottawa Citizen

Meghan Hurley was instrumental in breaking one of the most courageous pieces of reporting I’ve seen in some time. The culminating story is here:


In 2011, Father Joe Leclair was an immensely popular priest at one of Ottawa’s largest parishes. In tandem with Ottawa Citizen court reporter Andrew Duffy, Hurley received some anonymous information that indicated Leclair was using the parish’s funds to gamble. She was able to ascertain that this was the case by following Leclair to the Hull casino and witnessed him gambling. Accounting ireegularities were later uncovered. For their stalwart reporting efforts, Hurley and Duffy were insulted by numerous parish members, admonished and the Citizen itself lost scores of subscribers. However, the Citizen and the Hurley/Duffy team have been exonnerated with the laying of criminal charges against Father Joe. The pressure to bury this story must have been immense.

Steve Murphy, ATV/CTV, Halifax

Likely the most underrated TV journalist/anchorman in Canada, Murphy not only reads the news with clarity, but his interviews are objective, incisive, fair, polite, and he asks the right questions to get the answers we seek, without being in any way challenging to the interviewee. 

He is probably unheard of in Toronto, the centre of the media universe in Canada – and that’s unfortunate.

He is truly professional, and if it were not for his age and his lack of physical glamor, would have been swallowed up by the US networks years ago.

Other commentsI do not know the gentleman, have never met him, but absolutely respect his professionalism and his innate ability to comfortably chat with those he interviews, putting them at ease. and getting to the heart of the matter without confrontation.

Rachel Pulfer, Executive Director, JHR (Journalists for Human Rights)

In her first year at the helm of JHR (Journalists for Human Rights), Rachel expanded the reach and impact of JHR’s programs, solidifying Canada’s reputation as a leader in international media development. 

Under Rachel’s leadership, JHR:
• Built partnerships with Toronto Star, Shaw Media and CBC, sending top journalists to train their African counterparts. 
• Expanded across the DR-Congo, fostering a culture of accountability journalism in the most unexpected and inaccessible of places (Bukavu, Matadi, Mandaka).
• Built a network of journalists across Liberia dedicated to keeping Presidential elections outcomes honest.
• Created a live-blogging program out of the rebel-held city Goma, DRC, gaining 2 million hits from North America.
• Started a human rights reporting program at the University of Liberia.
• Successfully pushed for the release of fourteen Liberian refugee girls from sex slavery.
• Raised awareness of Liberia’s minimum wage and successfully added this issue to the national agenda.

Steve Maher, Ottawa Citizen

Glen MacGregor has already been nominated but I think he and Steve worked as an indivisable team on the widespread Robo calls scandal relating to voter supression during the May 2011 election campaign. Their work has been uniquely innovative as they broke and then lead the field in this most important and disturbing story. Their work may force a major reform of electioneering tactics as well as produce criminal charges. Their robo calls story reflects admirable journalism which combines modern investigative techniques with stubborn, hard-slogging digging.

I don’t know if the rules permit it but I think Glen and Steve should be a joint nomination.

Steve Maher (2nd nomination)

Steve Maher & Glen McGregor have broken the story about the Elections Canada investigation into the robocalls in the 2011 election. This is an issue that is central to democracy. Their ongoing research into this is a critical national issue. 

These two journalists are the modern Canadian equivalent of Woodward and Bernstein. I’m nominating Maher because I saw on the prior screen that McGregor has already won this honour. 

As to why the work Maher & McGregor is so important to our Democracy, and to Canada, read my Huffington Post blog on this. It was the #1 blog of the day, the week, the month and perhaps or 2012 — with 20,000 likes, shares and comments. You can see it at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jim-harris/robocalls-scandal_b_1305397.html 

Other commentsIt is interesting that it is the Post Media Network that broke this story. It is a right wing set of media properties. 

Therefore Maher & McGregor likely had to be very persuasive within their media organizations to push for this to be covered — and therefore deserve more credit.

This story involves multiple ridings and multiple telemarketing firms. It involves robocalls and live operator calls. Only through diligent, ongoing journalistic effort will the truth come to light.

Paula Todd

When independent journalist and author Paula Todd came across several disturbing reports last spring that Karla Homolka was teaching children somewhere in the Caribbean, Todd set about finding her. Eventually, without the support of a news organization, Todd tracked down Homolka in Gaudeloupe, now married and the mother of three young children. It was one of the biggest scoops of the year (the managing editor of the Toronto Star at the time confessed that Todd had achieved something his investigative unit had been unable to crack despite six months of effort). Todd was named the #2 newsmaker of the year by Yahoo! Canada News. Her ebook, Finding Karla, became a #1 Kindle Single bestseller and the Globe and Mail’s Simon Houpt declared it “Journalism’s 14,000-Word Future.” Houpt noted the significance of the fact that Todd was the first writer in Canada to break news with an ebook.

Link to Yahoo! Canada News Top Ten Newsmakers: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/2012-year-in-review–top-10-newsmakers-224047132.html

Link to Simon Houpt article on Finding Karla:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/does-a-3-e-book-on-karla-homolka-represent-a-new-wave-of-journalism/article4372566/
Note: Title was different on print version of article.

“Homolka e-book a publishing breakthrough” (Toronto Star):

Charles Rusnell, CBC Edmonton

Charles Rusnell has forced accountability, transparency and democratic change. His work demonstrates to the public the importance of vigorous, fearless journalism. 

In 2012, Charles broke Alberta’s biggest investigative stories. His story about a senior health executive’s lavish expenses forced a policy change: Posting Health executives’ expenses online. The subject of his stories was fired. 

Rusnell’s story about Premier Alison Redford’s conflict of interest in awarding a lucrative contract to sue big tobacco caused a political firestorm. Alberta’s ethics commissioner investigated. 

The following tweets show how much the Alberta public appreciates Rusnell’s investigative journalism:

Resedico Aug 02, 12:17am via TweetDeck #CBC investigative reporter @charlesrusnell broke most of the scandals plaguing PCs. We need’em. CBC not afraid of #ableg.

@hiltonjohn: @charlesrusnell making best argument for the continued funding of our public broadcaster, single-handed. Well done.

avnishnanda 5:47pm via Mobile Web Alberta needs more investigative journalists like @charlesrusnell #ableg #yegnews #yyc #yeg #cdnpoli

Other comments: For years, Charles Rusnell has been breaking investigative stories. I nominate him because in 2012 his work to further democracy in Alberta has been unprecented. Thank you for considering the nomination.

Sue-Ann Levy, Toronto Sun

Sue-Ann Levy will go where no journalist will go. She is blunt and goes after every politician that is dirty, fear mongering and more.

No one covers Toronto Municipal Politicians like Sue-Ann Levy. She is not afraid to go where no other has gone before.

Pat Healey, The Laker/The Weekly Press

It is with great pleasure I nominate Pat Healey from The Laker and Weekly Press publications. A dedicated, genuine, compassionate journalist who goes above and beyond, Pat always includes stories from the many, many communities he represents both in publication and through social media. Many events’ successes can be attributed to him and his ability to get news to the public. Pat is also passionate about bringing light and awareness to many organizations that need public support; Mental Health, Diabetes, local food drives, just to name a few.

Pat is defined by his work and seems to be everywhere news is happening. He is a very well known face within our large community and has the trust of all. Pat also finds the time to volunteer for many organizations; The Lion’s Club, volunteer Firefighter, and Lion’s Christmas Express. He demonstrates integrity and excellence in all he does!

Andrea Houston, Xtra!

Xtra!’s Andrea Houston spent 18 months reporting on the prohibition of Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs in Catholic schools. After breaking the story early in 2011, Houston pursued it with tenacity and integrity, putting students at the centre of her narratives. Soon other journalists picked up the story and eventually the issue became one the provincial government could no longer ignore. 

Without Houston’s work, the Ontario legislature may never have passed the Accepting Schools Act in June 2012. Now, students in every publicly funded school have the right to form GSAs (without hiding behind euphemistic names).

Changing attitudes and forcing governments to act is perhaps the greatest contribution any journalist can make and Houston’s accomplishment is certainly worthy of the Canadian Newsperson of the Year award.


Bishops prohibit GSAs:http://dailyxtra.com/canada/news/catholic-bishops-prohibit-gay-straight-alliances-in-ontario-schools
Students demand GSA: 
Bill passes: 

Maria Luisa Tiro, ABS-CBN news correspondent

I nominate Maria Luisa Tiro (or Marlou for short) for the J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year Award in view of her journalistic efforts in covering and relaying accurately, objectively and clearly reports on issues that affect members of the Filipino community in Canada. In a journalistic style uniquely her own, Marlou pursues and conveys stories that keep the Filipino community in tune with current events. Using both print and social media, she covers and relays reports in areas ranging from entertainment, social problems to crimes. Links to recent examples of her work as a journalist-on-the-spot are as follows: 

http://youtu.be/TM–FMH1LY0; http://youtu.be/6MzDx0X_S2E; http://youtu.be/DiO8lpkB5V0; http://youtu.be/z5dZSd2JfrE

For more than 10 years, Marlou has been an official news correspondent of the TFC (The Filipino Channel) under the flagship of ABS-CBN, a leading media network based in the Philippines. She is also a regular contributor for The Standard in St. Catharines and The Welland Tribune.

Other commentsMarlou holds a B. Sc. Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines. As a freelance writer in Dubai, she wrote “Talking Point” column in the Gulf Today, and contributed to Al Khaleej Times, The Gulf News, the Emirates Woman, the Herald Tribune/Daily Star of Lebanon and The Philippine Inquirer.

Adrienne Arsenault, CBC News

Watching Adrienne Arsenault in action is a special experience. There is no one better in the business at grabbing hold of a story and telling it with surpassing brilliance. I nominate her for Newsperson of the Year on the strength of another season of outstanding coverage. Now based in Toronto after several postings in foreign bureaux, Adrienne continues to demonstrate amazing ability as a reporter. Her coverage of the crisis in Attawapiskat was typical. She was among the first journalists on the story and she stayed ahead of the curve throughout. Always probing. Always asking the tough questions. Always connecting to audiences with her unrivaled skill as a story teller. And what range! When she wasn’t tackling major domestic issues like Attawapiskat, she was reporting from Beijing on the Communist Party Congress, or the breakthrough elections in Burma, or the remarkable “Sprint Factory” in Kingston, Jamaica.

David Skok, Director, Globalnews.ca, Shaw Media

David Skok is a rare blend of practitioner and theorist, whose work on both sides of the fence have distinguished him among journalists, not just in Canada but around the world.

The first ever Martin Wise Goodman fellow to come from a digital background, Skok recently spent a year at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation examining the role of disruption in traditional news operations. His theoretical work has translated into practice, both in his job as Director of Globalnews.ca, and in a growing number of newsrooms across Canada.

Before and after Harvard, Skok provided the spark for some of the most innovative digital efforts in Canada. They include live event coverage blending video, social media and live blogging and investigative data journalism. He is now successfully leading the effort to reshape Global News’ culture to be more effective digitally, which includes implementing new workflows and roles in the network’s newsrooms.

Nahlah Ayed, CBC News

Nahlah Ayed’s insightful coverage and analysis of the Middle East is a gift. She brings those stories home to Canadian audiences on TV, Radio and Online perhaps better than anyone in the business. This has been another banner year for Nahlah. Reporting from Cairo, she helped illuminate the dashed dreams for democracy felt by so many Egyptians. She also reported from Israel on the Gaza insurgency and Lebanon on the staggering flow of Syrian refugees. But her biggest triumph may have been an extraordinary documentary on the Hungarian Roma. It became the centerpiece of a week of programming on all CBC platforms. Nothing else I’ve seen on the topic could match Nahlah’s approach—for impact and originality.

Kenny Yum, The Huffington Post Canada (2nd nomination)

Kenny Yum oversaw the launch of the Huffington Post into Canada, the online news site’s first international edition. In a year and a half, he’s made the Huffington Post Canada into one of the largest news sites in the country. 

Under his direction the site has launched two large-scale original editorial series, on income inequality and millennials in Canada. Kenny also oversaw the creation of a French language version of HuffPost in Quebec and editions in Alberta and B.C.
An innovative newsroom leader, Kenny has created a news site that has become a vibrant and important voice in Canadian media and a model for online journalism.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/28/huffington-post-canada-rachel-mandelson-caj-awards-labour-reporting_n_1461717.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008 (CAJ award)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/generation-y (Asking Y series)
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/mind-the-gap/ (Mind the Gap series)

Steve Murray, National Post

No one can tenaciously craft words and images quite the way Steve Murray does. His graphical interpretations of complex news stories, such as the Prime Minister’s plans to change the CPP in “You can cut the pension with a knife” or “With or Against” featuring the Public Safety Minister, bring clarity to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. 

Only Steve Murray had the courage to brave the isolation of the prorogued Ontario Legislature in “Queens Park for a Day”. Finally, while most journalists confine themselves to news stories, Steve goes much further in offering every Canadian an advice column called “Really Bad Advice”. Sometimes, the news is just not enough, and a reader needs some (really bad) advice, and that is where Steve Murray from the National Post comes in.

Jorge Barrera, APTN National News

Jorge Barrera deserves a serious look for this award. 

His work speaks for itself, having a finger on the pulse of Indigneous news in Canada, but also working relentlessly every day of the week. When Idle No More broke it wasn’t uncommon to see him at the office until midnight or visiting Chief Spence at 10 p.m. 

He is dogged in his approach. 

Ask Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan. Barrera can be seen chasing Duncan down halls to get that extra quote. When we think of a reporter, we should think of Barrera. Many times when reporters get beat on a story they shrug it off. 

Not Barrera. 

Peter Penashue comes to mind. 

APTN got beat several times on the story when Barrera dug in looking for a story where APTN could take it back. He did that with this piece: