CAJ wants feedback on new awards

The Canadian Association of Journalists is considering adding three new awards to its current roster of honours. The idea behind the potential new awards is to celebrate daily as well as investigative journalism. The CAJ is looking for feedback from journalists on the three new categories is is contemplating.

According to the CAJ the three new categories being considered are:

1. A category to celebrate basic news reporting. Three possibilities have been suggested:

Spot News: An award for excellence in covering spot news events. This would be similar to spot news categories in other awards competitions and would focus on deadline coverage of plane crashes, fires, propane explosions etc. This category would be the most focused, but would allow fewer people to participate in the awards due to the chance nature of spot news.

Breaking News: The focus would still be on breaking news stories covered on deadline, but stories from areas other than straight spot news could be entered (e.g. breaking news at city hall).  This category would allow more people to participate while remaining focused.

Excellence in Daily News Reporting: This category would be more of a mirror of the investigative awards, as there would be no restrictions on what types of stories could be entered, although the stories would still have to be completed under deadline pressure. This category would open up the awards to the largest possible number of reporters but would not be as tightly focused on one type of news as the other possibilities.

2. A category for excellence in feature writing for newspapers.

3. A category for the best scoop of the year. Entrants would have to demonstrate that they were first with a story or with substantial new developments on a story.

In terms of feedback, the CAJ is looking for thoughts and opinions on these new categories from journalists and journalistic managers. Feedback is welcome from both CAJ members and non-members.

More specifically, the CAJ board is interested in answers to the following questions:

1. Do you support a category to celebrate basic news reporting?

2. If your answer to 1 above is yes, do you prefer the spot news, breaking news, or excellence in daily news reporting categories? Why?

3. Do you support having a category for feature writing for newspapers? Why or why not?

4. Do you support having the scoop category? Why or why not?

5. Should there be categories for online reporting in the CAJ awards?  If so, who should be eligible to enter (e.g. bloggers as well as reporters at traditional media)?

6. What other categories should we consider, if any?

7. Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

The CAJ board is hoping to include these changes in this year’s awards and thus replies should be sent by Oct. 1.

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