The Canadian Journalism Project seeks alternative funding

The Canadian Journalism Project is looking for new funding after The Canadian Journalism Foundation announced it will cease to be the primary funder of the Project beyond the end of 2013.  

The Canadian Journalism Project is looking for new funding after The Canadian Journalism Foundation announced it will cease to be the primary funder of the Project beyond the end of 2013.  

The Project – better known as J-Source and ProjetJ – was launched in 2007 by a partnership of The CJF, journalism schools and the Canadian Association of Journalists, and has been funded almost entirely by the CJF since its inception.  “Now that it is well established, the Board has decided that the time has come to pursue alternatives to the project’s current structure and funding model, with a view to the CJF ceasing to be the principal funder after 2013,” wrote chair of The CJF board Bob Lewis in a memo to editors, partners and contributors.

The Project consists of an English-language site (J-Source) and a French-language site (ProjetJ), both of which are dedicated to reporting news about the journalism industry, gathering commentary on it, and providing resources and tools for journalists and journalism students, though the sites maintain separate editorial staff.

Those involved in the project are optimistic that funding will be found by the time The CJF’s primary support ends. “J-Source is the only place where journalists are having conversations about the profession, about the industry,” said J-Source editor-in-chief Janice Neil. “I am confident we’ll find financial support for what the project is trying to do.”

Colette Brin, ProjetJ’s founding editor and current member of the Project’s editorial and management committees, noted that there has been a change in how the project is viewed over the years.  “I am seeing a lot more support. From the time we started the project … there was a lot more skepticism at the time about this kind of funding model and this kind of project,” Brin said. “I think now the need for this kind of thing is much more evident and people are more open to looking at these kinds of options” in terms of alternative ways of funding it.

In his memo, Lewis reiterated The CJF’s commitment to the Project, saying the Foundation will support it through its next phase and is “confident that in collaboration with our partners, we can create a sustainable funding model for this important national project.”

According to Lewis' memo, The CJF has provided nearly $600,000 to the Project to date, funding editorial staffing, technology and other expenses.*

J-Source and ProjetJ were honoured with the Canadian Association of Journalists Presidents Award in April for their contribution to journalism. When presenting the award, CAJ President Hugo Rodrigues recalled the project’s inception, which was born out of a desire to create a “Canadian Poynter.”

“While Poynter is still Poynter, there’s nothing in Canada that matches the heft, reach and impact of the Canadian Journalism Project and its J-Source and ProjetJ websites,” Rodrigues said.

Belinda Alzner, the associate editor of J-Source, and Stéphanie Lalut, the rédactrice-en-chef de ProjetJ are the sole full-time staff members on their respective projects. J-Source has a number of contributing editors that provide editorial content and support in addition to their full-time jobs in journalism schools and newsrooms around the country. ProjetJ maintains its own editorial board as well.

In other news related to the Project, Anne Caroline Desplanques will be returning to ProjetJ effective Nov. 1 in a part-time role as outgoing editor-in-chief to support Lalut’s efforts. Desplanques led the French-language site until this past summer


*Update: Wed. Oct 31 3:45 p.m.
This sentence on The CJF's financial contribution to the CJP to date was added in an update. It should have been included originally. We regret any confusion this may have caused.