2023 Recipient: The Narwhal
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) proudly announces that The Narwhal is the winner of the 2023 CJF-Meta Journalism Project (MJP) Digital News Innovation Award. This $10,000 annual prize recognizes a news organization that powers journalism’s future through digital innovation. The jury awarded it to the Victoria, B.C.-based The Narwhal for the independent outlet’s successful expansion strategy, which last year included launching an Ontario bureau and a formula for subsequent expansion across different regions.
Jury members cited the environmental online not-for-profit publication’s success at ensuring that its revenue supported its goals, along with the careful planning that went into ensuring that the Ontario expansion would be sustainable as well as The Narwhal’s continued commitment to journalistic excellence.
“The Narwhal manages to nail it: strong journalism, an innovative approach and undeniable impact,” says jury chair Susan Harada, associate professor of journalism at the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University. “It maintains a personality that is fresh and unafraid, delivering journalism from a perspective rooted outside of Canadian mainstream media.”
The CJF-MJP Digital News Innovation Award promotes the work of Canadian startups, local and national news outlets, and supports new initiatives and projects. Innovation can come in a wide range of approaches, including new formats for audiences, new storytelling techniques, data-driven storytelling, new digital products produced by the newsroom, community involvement in story development, or partnerships and team approaches to reporting and producing stories.
“In the media space, we often think of innovation as content-focused or editorial-focused. But the revenue piece is one of the most crucial issues the industry must address,” says jury member and digital journalist Lisa Yeung. “The Narwhal‘s project was uniquely revenue-focused among the entries and was creative and strategic in its approach to the question all outlets must address if we want to prioritize innovation: How are we funding this?”
The Narwhal was recognized at the CJF Awards ceremony on June 13 at the Royal York Hotel, Toronto.