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Announcing the 2019 DPA Nominees

The National Media Awards Foundation (NMAF) is thrilled to present the 2019 Digital Publishing Awards nominees. The DPAs—now in their fourth year—recognize and promote the excellent work of Canadian digital publications and creators.

NOMINATIONS SITE
GALA INFO & TICKETS

For 2019, 118 submissions, from 50 various publications, have been nominated. These nominations are the result of a collaborative and rigorous judging process, made possible by our dedicated roster of 80 volunteer judges.

“The Digital Publishing Awards program was launched four years ago, and since, the number of participating publications has more than doubled. An impressive total of 127 publications submitted entries in 2019. It is thrilling to see the enthusiasm for these awards, and exciting to witness the outstanding work of Canadian creators being celebrated by their peers. The NMAF is immensely proud to present the 4th annual DPAs, and look forward to welcoming you all at the Awards Soirée on May 29.” – Julie Cailliau, NMAF President.

On May 29th, the Gold, Silver, and Honourable Mention winners will be revealed at the Soiree, with Gold winners in select categories receiving a $500 cash prize. The Soiree will be held in Toronto at One King West and hosted by award-winning journalist and editor Eternity Martis. Purchase a ticket through digitalpublishingawards.ca to join us for the celebration.

EMERGING EXCELLENCE AWARD

The emerging excellence award—which honours an individual whose early work in Canadian digital publishing demonstrates the utmost degree of craft and promise—nominees for 2019 are: Sofia Misenheimer of Art/iculation, Natalie Vineberg of The Walrus, and Erin Valois of the National Post.

GENERAL EXCELLENCE IN DIGITAL PUBLISHING AWARDS

The General Excellence awards recognize the publications that maximize the possibilities of digital publishing; these are the publications that succeed in fulfilling their editorial mandate and represent the highest of journalistic standards. These awards are presented in three divisions: small, medium, and large.

The Logic, The Sprawl, and unpointcinq.ca are finalists in the small division.

Hakai Magazine, The Kit, and Maclean’s are finalists in the medium division.

In the large division, CBC News and Le Devoir are the nominees.

FIRST-TIME NOMINEES

A number of publications are first time DPA nominees, including: Art/iculation, BBC News, Ha-Shilth-Sa, LocalLove.ca, Magazine web 100 degrés, Mic Drop, Moneysense, National Post, Calgary Herald, Pastime, Peterborough Currents, QUB radio, Report on Business, Saskatoon StarPhoenix/Regina Leader-Post, SooToday, The Logic, The Narwhal, Unpointcinq.ca, and Yorkregion.com / Markham Economist Sun.

TOP NOMINEES

For 2019, the top nominated publications are CBC News with 18 nominations across various divisions, and The Globe and Mail with 16 nominations.

Hakai earned an impressive 6 nominations, while Maclean’s and Radio-Canada each earned five nominations. Other top-nominated publications include:

PublicationNominations
Global News4
Hazlitt4
VICE Canada4
Le Devoir3
Sportsnet3
The Narwhal3
The Walrus3
VICE Québec3

INDIVIDUAL NOMINATION HIGHLIGHTS

“Hustle in the oil patch: Inside a looming financial and environmental crisis” by Jeff Lewis, Jeffrey Jones, Chen Wang, Renata D’Aliesio, Christopher Manza, Matthew French, John Sopinski, Murat Yükselir, Melissa Tait, Todd Korol, Brennan Higginbotham, and Theresa Suzuki (published in The Globe and Mail) is a finalist in both Best News Coverage and Best Digital Editorial Package.

Air Canada enRoute’s “Canada’s Best News Restaurants” guide is nominated for the fourth year in a row for Best Digital Editorial Package. The guide is also a nominee in the Best Online Video: Short category.

“Follow the Money”—a product of collaboration between the National Post and Calgary Herald teams and led by Zane Schwartz, Brice Hall, and Julie Traves—is nominated for Innovation in Digital Storytelling and Best News Coverage.

LEADERSHIP AWARD

The NMAF is delighted to present Kathy Vey, TVO’s Executive Producer of Digital, with the prestigious 2019 Digital Publishing Leadership Award. Vey’s 37-year career in Canadian journalism spans pivotal roles at media outlets including the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Sun, Queen’s Park Briefing, OpenFile, and TVO.org.


CATEGORIES

Best News Coverage

Toronto Van Attack
William Wolfe-Wylie, Dwight Friesen, Richard Grasley, Hannah Wise, Sannah Choi, Kate Cornick, Farrah Merali, Andre Mayer, Paul Borkwood, David Donnelly, Albert Leung, Martin Trainor, Diana Swain, Ioanna Roumeliotis, Melissa Mancini, and the CBC Toronto digital team
CBC Toronto/CBC News

Fentanyl: Making a killing
Sam Cooper, Andrew Russell, Stewart Bell, Brent Rose, Carolyn Jarvis, Ben Jonah,  James Armstrong, Online Video team, Network News Desk, Global News Graphics Department, Global News Copy Desk, Global News Social Desk
Global News

Campagne électorale québécoise 2018
La rédaction
Le Devoir

Follow the Money
Zane Schwartz, Brice Hall, Julie Traves
Postmedia

Hustle in the oil patch: Inside a looming financial and environmental crisis
Jeff Lewis, Jeffrey Jones, Chen Wang, Renata D’Aliesio, Christopher Manza, Matthew French, John Sopinski, Murat Yükselir, Melissa Tait, Todd Korol, Brennan Higginbotham, Theresa Suzuki
The Globe and Mail

Best News Coverage (Small Newsroom)

Who was Maggie Sutlej? Humanitarian aid group reaches out to Ahousaht 150 years after wartime abduction of child
Denise Titian
Ha-Shilth-Sa

Réimaginer nos aménagements
Marianne Boire, François Grenier, Françoise Ruby
Magazine web 100 degrés

2018 Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Election Coverage
David Helwig
SooToday

Bankruptcy protection for Sault’s main employer sparks fight over port
David Helwig
SooToday

The Yellow Brick Road to Mount Everest
Sarah Staples, Richard Vandentillaart
Yorkregion.com / Markham Economist Sun

Best Personal Essay

The Waiting Room
Christian Allaire
Hazlitt

The Agony of Intimacy
Chelsea Murray
Hazlitt

A Body Like a Home
Gwen Benaway
Hazlitt

What are land acknowledgements and why do they matter?
Selena Mills, Kat Tancock, Stacy Lee Kon, Chief Lady Bird
LocalLove.ca

I tried to live according to Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. Here’s what happened
Jessica Leeder, Winnie T. Frick, Bryan Gee, Lisan Jutras
National Post

A dad’s discovery: Raising a child is thankless work
Tim Kiladze, Lisan Jutras
The Globe and Mail

A Dog’s Life
Shawna Richer, Deb Baic
The Globe and Mail

I wanted an abortion in Nova Scotia, but all around, barriers still remained
Jessica Leeder, Winnie T. Frick, Bryan Gee, Lisan Jutras
The Globe and Mail

Mon manège à moi
Anick Lemay
URBANIA

How to Have “the Talk” as a Muslim Father
Yasir Khan, Lauren McKeon, Samia Madwar
The Walrus

Best Column

Queeries
Peter Knegt
CBC Arts

Science
Valérie Borde
L’actualité

Anne Kingston, columns
Anne Kingston
Maclean’s magazine

Jennifer Ditchburn columns
Jennifer Ditchburn
Policy Options

Dorothy Woodend, culture columnist
Dorothy Woodend
The Tyee

Chantal Braganza
Chantal Braganza, Sarah Sweet
TVO.org

Best Feature Article: Short

The Water Carriers
Alannah Campbell, Karen Levine, Pauline Holdsworth, Ruby Buiza, Andre Mayer, Lakshine Sathiyanathan
CBC Radio – The Sunday Edition

“My whole life taken away”: Ontario father questions why 24-year-old wife died post-childbirth
Arti Patel, Caryn Lieberman, Beatrice Politi, James Armstrong, Sarah Kelsey, Peter Hadzipetros
Global News

In rural New Brunswick, a transgender woman charts a new path
Lindsay Jones, Matt Brown, Timothy Moore, Scott Munn
The Globe and Mail

The lost summer
Sharon J. Riley, Emma Gilchrist, Carol Linnitt
The Narwhal

Et si on jetait les camions dans le fleuve ?
Rémy Bourdillon
Unpointcinq

Best Digital Editorial Package

Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2018
Gabrielle Simpson, Stephanie Mercier-Voyer, Yvonne Miou, Stefanie Sosiak, Danielle Groen, Sarah Musgrave, Nancy Matsumoto
Air Canada enRoute

Stuck
Sophie Gray, Alexander Kim, Emma Loy, Holly McKenzie-Sutter, Alexander Migdal, Sharon Nadeem, Andrew Seal, Aryn Strickland, Peter Klein, Kathryn Gretsinger, Saranaz Barforoush, Dan McKinney, Britney Dennison, Andrew Munroe, Zak Vescera, David Murawsky, Amanda De Souza, Paul Trundle, Andrew Yates, Andree Lau, Louise Roug
International Reporting Program and HuffPost Canada

Lines of Fire
Leader-Post Team/StarPhoenix Team
Saskatoon StarPhoenix/Regina Leader-Post

Hustle in the oil patch
Jeff Lewis, Jeffrey Jones, Renata D’Aliesio, Chen Wang, Melissa Tait, Christopher Manza, Matt French, John Sopinski, Todd Korol, Brennan Higginbotham
The Globe and Mail

Sex Ed: Beyond the Classroom
Lauren McKeon, Natalie Vineberg, Judy Ziyi Gu, Viviane Fairbank, Samia Madwar, Angela Misri, Dmitry Beniaminov, Sharon Nadeem, Jackson Weaver, Tajja Isen, Danielle Kinahan, Sebastian Leck, Amy van den Berg, Daina Goldfinger, Allison Baker, Sydney Hamilton, Seila Rizvic, Daniel Viola, Erin Sylvester, Anna Fitzpatrick, Lauren Vogel, Erica Lenti, Yasir Khan, Lindsay Nixon, Sue Carter, Eliza Robertson, Anubha Momin, Kate Sloan
The Walrus

Best Feature Article: Long

Jo Aubin
Shannon Proudfoot
Maclean’s magazine

Croisière, bikinis et cocaïne
Julie Dufresne, Luc Tremblay, Chantal Cauchy, Gaétan Poulio, Éric Larouche, André Guimaraes, Santiago Salcido, Sophie Leclerc
Radio-Canada

Homeland (Parts 1 & 2)
Matthew Halliday, Chelsea Murray
The Deep

Murder on the Prairies
Jana Pruden, Laura Blenkinsop, Danielle Webb, Chris Manza, Victor Dwyer
The Globe and Mail

The Road
Stephanie Nolen, Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Laura Blenkinsop, Christopher Manza, Angela Murphy, Rachel Wine
The Globe and Mail

Fiction

The Shadows
Kaitlin Prest, CBC Podcasts, Phoebe Wang, Sharon Mashihi, Shani Aviram, Yasmine Mathurin, Olivia Pasquarelli, Adriana Komura, Marina Lee Koslock
CBC Podcasts

The Stunt
Michael LaPointe
Hazlitt

Best Service Feature

Back to the land
Andre Mayer, Dave Pizer, Evan Mitsui
CBC News

As a person of colour, it’s a struggle to find therapists who look like you
Arti Patel, Sarah Kelsey, Lina Toyoda
Global News

Hidden Canada
The Globe and Mail, Maryam Siddiqi, Christopher Manza, Rachel Wine, Benjamin MacDonald, Alanna Cavangh
The Globe and Mail

Best Science and Technology Storytelling

Apps Installed On Millions Of Android Phones Tracked User Behavior To Execute A Multimillion-Dollar Ad Fraud Scheme
Craig Silverman
BuzzFeed Canada

The million-dollar drug
Kelly Crowe, Dave Pizer, Craig Chivers
CBC News

The Cavernous World under the Woods
Bruce Grierson, Jude Isabella
Hakai Magazine

The Noose Beneath the Waves
Sasha Chapman, Shanna Baker
Hakai Magazine

The Trees That Sail to Sea
Brian Payton, Jude Isabella
Hakai Magazine

Rio’s Killer Apps
Stephanie Nolen, Rhian John-Hankinson, Jeremy Agius, Laura Blenkinsop, Elisangela Mendonca, Patrick Dell, Angela Murphy, Affan Chowdhry, Rasha Mourtada
The Globe and Mail

Follow the Water: Hidden Cost of a B.C. Town’s Water
Joanne Pearce, Alfred Hermida, Hans Schreier
UBC School of Journalism

Best Online Video: Short

Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2018: Elena
Martin Laporte, Nik Mirus, Marine Créquer, Stefanie Sosiak, Danielle Groen, L’Éloi
Air Canada enRoute

The truth about SugarBearHair vitamins
Roxanna Woloshyn, Anne MacRae, Charlsie Agro, Stephanie Dudley, Dave MacIntosh
CBC News

Endometriosis
Ben Shannon, Danielle d’Entremont, Jeff Goodes, Bria John, Olsy Sorokina, Dawna Dingwall
CBC Radio – White Coat, Black Art

How can I afford a home?
Prajakta Dhopade, Micah Bond, Yan Rosa, Elizabeth Palmieri
MoneySense

L’histoire de la paille
Djavan Habel-Thurton, Francis Lamontagne, Mélanie Julien, Eric Larouche, Martine Roy
Radio-Canada

Mums who scrum
Melissa Tait
The Globe and Mail

Best Arts & Culture Storytelling

The Sexy Sadness Of Sufjan Stevens
Scaachi Koul
BuzzFeed Canada

The Oracle of Oyster River
Brian Payton
Hakai Magazine

Alex Janvier’s colourful life  
Marty Klinkenberg, Amber Bracken
The Globe and Mail

The Magnetism of Sadness and Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison
Josh Visser
VICE Canada

Comment faire son chemin, quand on est trans et actrice
Justine de l’Église
VICE (Quebec)

Best Online Video: Feature

A day in the life of Raptors Photographer — Ron Turenne
David Zelikovitz, Donnovan Bennett
Sportsnet

Hockey is for Everyone: Jessica Platt
Donnovan Bennett, David Zelikovitz
Sportsnet

We the North Grandma
Donnovan Bennett, Graham Runciman, Maggie Naylor, Scott SimpsonSportsnet

In rural New Brunswick, a transgender woman charts a new path
Scott Munn, Lindsay Jones, Matt Brown, Michael Belyea, Timothy Moore
The Globe and Mail

The caribou guardians
Sarah Cox, Jayce Hawkins, Emma Gilchrist, Carol Linnitt
The Narwhal

Les sites de rencontre vus par une artiste trans
Brigitte Noël, Catherine Marineau-Dufresne, Jean-Pierre Bastien, Matt Joycey, Steve Martella
VICE (Québec)

What I didn’t learn in Ontario’s sex-ed curriculum
Corey Misquita, Riley Sparks
Xtra

Best Online Video: Mini-Doc

Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Mali: Who’s fighting and why
Krista Hessey
Maclean’s

Coal Valley: The story of B.C.’s quiet water contamination crisis
Carol Linnitt, Jayce Hawkins, Emma Gilchrist
The Narwhal

Fear and Loading: Meet the NRA’s Most Wanted Customer
Sofi Langis, Manisha Krishnan, Spencer Chumbley, Danny Patterson, Taylor Rivers, Heidi Besner
VICE Canada

Is this the next Standing Rock?
Hilary Beaumont, Alex Craig, Taylor Rivers, Heidi Besner, Rebecca LaFortune, Michelle Latimer, Alex Craig, Jessica Ford, Natalie Alcoba, Tania Natscheff, Josh Marr
VICE News Canada

Souldia : à double tranchant
Simon Coutu, Jean-Pierre Bastien, Zacharie Fay, David Valiquette, William Gignac, Maude M. Ouellet
VICE (Québec)

Where have all the spaces for queer women in Toronto gone?Corey Misquita, Riley Sparks, Lulu Wei, Eric Wright
Xtra

Best Podcast

Front Burner
Jayme Poisson, Chris Berube, Elaine Chau, Shannon Higgins, Derek Vanderwyk, Nick McCabe-Lokos
CBC News

Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo
Connie Walker, Marnie Luke, Jennifer Fowler, Mieke Anderson, Heather Evans
CBC News

Love Me
Mira Burt-Wintonick, Cristal Duhaime, Sarah Geis
CBC Podcasts

Uncover: Escaping NXIVM
Josh Bloch, Kathleen Goldhar, Anita Elash, Heather Evans, Mieke Anderson
CBC Podcasts

CBC Mic Drop
Shari Okeke, Carrie Haber, Cristal Duhaime, Jess Shane
Mic Drop

Peterborough Currents
Ayesha Barmania, Will Pearson
Peterborough Currents

En 5 minutes
Charles Trahan, Baptiste Zapirain, Benjamin Bourque, Hélène Laurin, Frédéric Guindon
QUB radio

Rap carcéral
Simon Coutu, Alain Loiselle, Dice B, Laurent K. Blais
Radio-Canada Première (produit par VICE)

Best Digital Design

Universités : payer plus pour avoir moins?
Naël Shiab, Santiago Salcido
CBC/Radio-Canada

On a redessiné le Québec
Marc Lajoie, Melanie Julien, Mélanie Meloche-Holubowski, Santiago Salcido, Martine Roy
Radio-Canada

Toronto Star’s Featured Projects Portfolio
Fadi Yaacoub, Cameron Tulk, David Schnitman, Nathan Pilla, Tania Pereira
The Toronto Star

Best Photo Storytelling

Black in Canada: 10 stories
Jalani Morgan, Robin Levinson King, Jessica MurphyBBC News – Canada bureau

Us Too
Geneviève Caron, Lindsay Siu, Tavia Grant, Dawn Calleja, Clare Vander Meersch, Jeremy Agius
Report on Business magazine

Living in limbo
Renaud Philippe, Jeremy Agius, Matt French, Theresa Suzuki, Patrick Dell, Michelle Zilio, Carol Toller, Carine Abouseif, Tu Thanh Ha
The Globe and Mail

Proms from coast to coast
Ming Wong, Jeremy Agius, Theresa Suzuki, Melissa Tait, Jackie Dives, Darren Calabrese, Todd Korol, Caroline Alphonso
The Globe and Mail

Best Social Storytelling

As It Happens 50th anniversary animations
Ben Shannon, Kate Swoger, Sheena Goodyear
CBC Radio – As It Happens

Escaping NXIVM
Megan Griffith-Greene, Charles Fogel, Anne MacRae, Micheline Parent, Irene Thomaidis, Evan Aagaard, Josh Bloch
CBC News

#FirstTimeIWasCalled
Farah Nasser, Erica Vella, Ben Jonah, Eric Mark Do, Dean Hayashi, Mike Lapalme, Chris MacDougall, Trevor Owens, Lacy Atalick, Michael Hutchinson, Samantha Turchan, Nida Omar, Jessica Maxwell, Drew Hasselback, Shauna Rempel, Simon Osler, Brian McKechnie, Mackay Taggart
Global News

Pay equity social sells
Elizabeth Palmieri, Jason Kirby, and Scott Simpson
Maclean’s

Weed did it.
Sasha Kalra, Daman Lamba, Jill Krajewski, Laura Lloyd, Kate McKerroll, Tyler Hughes, Victoria Pandeirada
VICE Canada

Best Editorial Newsletter

What on Earth?
Emily Chung, Andre Mayer, Nicole Mortillaro
CBC News

Hakai Magazine Weekly Newsletter
Adrienne Mason, Raina Delisle, David Garrison, Mark Garrison, Josh Silberg
Hakai Magazine

Le courrier électoral
Geneviève Tremblay, Stéphane Baillargeon, Cédric Gagnon, Jean-Philippe Corbeil, Simon Poirier
Le Devoir

Pastime, Season One
Nathaniel Basen, Adam Anshan, Cody Gault, Paul Thompson, Colin McGowan, Sam Riches, Josh Tucker, Mike Piellucci, Sarah Brown, Glenn Harvey, Kyle Scott, Alex Mathers, Joe Wolfond, Paul Kim
Pastime

Innovation in Digital Storytelling

Forever Changed
William Wolfe-Wylie, Dwight Friesen, Richard Grasley, Sannah Choi, Kate Cornick, Farrah Merali, Andre Mayer, Paul Borkwood, David Donnelly, Albert Leung, Martin Trainor
CBC News

Because News Alexa Game
Elizabeth Bowie, Gavin Crawford, Ian Cauthery
CBC Radio’s Because News

Toronto Votes
Victoria Valido, Chris Glover, Laura Green, David Allmark, T.J. Heideman, Bob Weiers, Julia Whalen, Lauren Pelley, Lisa Xing, Farrah Merali, Talia Ricci, Nick Boisvert, John Rieti, Matt Elliott
CBC Toronto

Follow the Money
Zane Schwartz, National Post & Calgary Herald teams
National Post and Calgary Herald

Olympics interactive graphics
Timothy Moore, Christopher Manza, Trish McAlaster
The Globe and Mail

CREDIT CHANGES: If you would like to make any credit changes, please send details to info@digitalpublishingawards.ca before May 9, 2019.

DIGITAL PUBLISHING AWARDS SOIRÉE

Join us on May 29th when we present the Gold, Silver, and Honourable Mention awards at the 4th annual Digital Publishing Awards Soiree. The Soiree will be held at One King West, and Eternity Martis will host. Martis’ work has helped shape the language used in newsrooms across Canada, is discussed in mainstream media, changed policies on racism and is taught on academic syllabuses at Western University, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.

Tickets on sale at digitalpublishingawards.ca.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The National Media Awards Foundation is incredibly grateful for the support of: Government of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Creates, Reader’s Digest Foundation, and KCK Global. We are also thankful for the support of Cision, Magazines Canada, PUSH Media, Very Good Studios and Vividata.

Our sincerest thanks to this year’s judges, who graciously volunteered their time and expertise, evaluating the hundreds of entries submitted to this year’s competition.

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIESFor sponsorship inquiries, please contact Barbara Gould, Executive Director, at info@digitalpublishingawards.ca.

Kathy Vey to Receive the 2019 Digital Publishing Leadership Award

The NMAF is delighted to announce that TVO Executive Producer of Digital Kathy Vey is the 2019 recipient of the Digital Publishing Leadership Award, which honours an individual whose career contributions to Canadian digital publishing deserve recognition and celebration. Vey will receive her award—the highest individual distinction from the Digital Publishing Award program—at the DPA Soirée on May 29th.

Kathy Vey’s 37-year career in Canadian journalism spans pivotal roles at media outlets including the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Sun, Queen’s Park Briefing, OpenFile, and TVO.org. Vey grew up in Toronto’s east end and began working at the Toronto Sun while still a teenager. In 1988, she jumped to the Star, where she soon became an assistant national editor.

After taking a 1993 buyout from the Star, Vey worked as a freelance writer for Canadian Gardening magazine and spent a couple of years editing at the Ottawa Citizen before returning to Toronto and the Star in 1998. She then served as a deputy city editor, a news editor, and the team editor of training and development. In the latter role, she headed up the Star’s first multimedia training program, an intensive weeklong effort that introduced many editorial staff members to the rapidly emerging potential of digital journalism.

“Having Kathy on your team meant there was someone there who could take on the toughest and most complex assignments.”

John Ferri, TVO Vice-president of Current Affairs & Documentaries and Vey’s longtime colleague

In 2010, she left the Toronto Star again to join the team launching OpenFile, an innovative online news startup that prioritized local reporting and audience engagement. As the founding editor-in-chief, Vey guided OpenFile’s development and in less than two years established a core team of editors and freelance writers while building readership in major cities across Canada. She hired a cohort of young reporters, whom she sought to mentor and empower. “Journalists in nearly every city we operated in, from Ottawa to Calgary to Halifax, have similar stories to tell about her support and advice in building a career in journalism,” says TVO Digital Editor Chantal Braganza, who adds she gained invaluable experience working for Vey at OpenFile.

“She offered a guiding hand in shaping stories and facilitating skills development, but left city editors to manage their own teams, experiment endlessly with tools and engage constantly with audiences. That required a skillset uncommon to many newsroom leaders, particularly those in Canada’s nascent digital startup space,” says Maclean’s Digital Editor Nick Taylor-Vaisey, whose journalism career began with Vey at OpenFile.

“Everyone who runs a newsroom should lead by Kathy’s proven example. To use a sports analogy: she drafts prospects and turns them into all-stars, and no matter which team she leads, they’re contenders while she’s at the helm.”

Nick Taylor-Vaisey, Maclean’s Digital Editor

“She led a small newsroom and encouraged it to take risks and think of new ways of engaging with an audience. She was a tremendous editor and mentor for the young journalists we were lucky to hire,” confirms BuzzFeed News Media Editor Craig Silverman, who worked closely with Vey for two years at OpenFile. Silverman cites the development of “The Poppy File” as a key example of her leadership style. The award-winning project resulted from Vey’s encouragement of OpenFile contributing editor Patrick Cain, who had been collecting the names of Torontonians who died in World War II. Vey devised an interactive map to show where each of the more than 3,000 people had lived in the city, working closely with the product team to realize an innovative data visualization. The resulting interface was not only attractive and functional, but offered a platform for OpenFile reporters to share some of the stories revealed through the project. (Though no longer active on OpenFile, a version of the project is viewable here.)

“The Poppy File” was praised by Toronto mayor David Miller, won a Canadian Online Publishing Award, and earned National Magazine Award and Online Journalism Award nominations. The Guardian’s former data editor Simon Rogers called the project “the pinnacle of what data journalism is supposed to be about.” The project “came together because Kathy immediately saw the potential and brought everyone together,” says Silverman.

OpenFile.ca was a significant and extraordinary achievement… Kathy helped put into practice many of the theories and ideas that are seen as crucial to the evolution of journalism in the age of digital disruption: community engagement and emphasis on social media, the notion of journalists as curators of information and not just news-gatherers, and data-based interactivity,” says John Ferri, TVO Vice-president of Current Affairs & Documentaries and Vey’s longtime colleague. “It’s no exaggeration to say that she has played an instrumental role in building a bridge to the future of journalism in Canada.”

After OpenFile, Vey joined Torstar’s Queen’s Park Briefing as executive editor. According to Ferri, the fledgling online publication—aimed at a politically inclined professional audience—was “in desperate need of a steady hand” when she took the reins. She transformed it within six months. “Kathy believed that there was a role for smart, policy-focused journalism that was willing to look outside of the daily news cycle—and that people would be willing to pay for it—and she was right,” says TVO Columnist John Michael McGrath, who was among the team Vey brought on board.

In 2013, Vey became a part-time instructor at Ryerson University, a natural progression from her newsroom mentoring in earlier years. She was appointed Rogers Journalist in Residence, during which time she developed the Canadian Press Style Coach, a prototype e-learning program designed to help journalists—both emerging and established—master the CP style guide.

“Kathy has consistently demonstrated exactly the kind of values our industry needs, both to meet the challenges of a changing business environment and developing the talent that will tell the stories of the future.”

John Michael McGrath, TVO Columnist

For the past three and a half years, Vey has worked as the Executive Producer, Digital, at TVO, where she oversees all content produced for the web, including daily articles, short video, editorial newsletters, and podcasts, as well as the journalistic social media accounts. “She has been key to the evolution of TVO’s digital presence,” affirms Ferri. “In sum, Kathy Vey has been a catalyst for change. She has a superb analytical mind and is a master of newsgathering logistics. She has demonstrated a clear and cohesive vision of the future of journalism in the digital space. She has shifted easily from working in large traditional media to startups. She is a creative and innovative individual, an industry leader. She is loved and respected by her peers and staff. She has a tremendous wit and style. This kind of passion for our craft deserves to be recognized and fostered.”

For her leadership, innovation, and dedication to Canadian digital publishing, the NMAF is honoured to present Kathy Vey with the 2019 Digital Publishing Leadership Award.

Nominations for the 2019 Digital Publishing Awards will be announced tomorrow at 10am EST. The Digital Publishing Leadership Award will be presented at the 4th Annual DPA Soirée on May 29th in Toronto. Tickets will be available for purchase on May 2nd at digitalpublishingawards.ca.

Eternity Martis to host this year’s DPAs

We’re pleased to announce that award-winning journalist and editor Eternity Martis will host this year’s DPA Soirée on May 29 at One King West Hotel in Toronto.

“I’m very excited to emcee this year’s Digital Publishing Awards and honour the excellent work of journalists, editors, designers, producers and all others in digital publishing who are creating and telling the stories that matter. In the years the DPAs has recognized digital excellence, it’s provided a space for celebrating a range of voices and content that both reflect our cultural landscape and push the boundaries of storytelling. As a young woman fairly new to the industry when the DPAs launched, it was thrilling to see the stories I cared about nominated and awarded. Now as your emcee, I look forward to celebrating another year of astonishing achievements with all of you.”

Eternity is an award-winning journalist and the senior editor at Xtra. Her work, namely on race and gender, has been featured in Vice, HuffPost, The Walrus, CBC, Hazlitt, The Fader, tvo.org and more, and one of her essays was selected by Roxane Gay as part of Salon’s series highlighting writers of colour. 

Her article “A Capital Idea,” exploring the reasons for capitalizing Black and Indigenous, helped influence media style guides changes across Canada including The Ryerson Review of Journalism, tvo.org, and Xtra. Her writing has also been featured on syllabuses at Western University, Carleton University, University of Ottawa, University of West Indies St. Augustine and on numerous #BlackLivesMatter syllabuses around the world.

In 2018, she won Gold for Best Investigative Feature at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards for her piece “The Health Effects of Anti-Black Racism.” In 2017, she was a National Magazine Awards finalist for Best New Writer for her longform feature “Know Your History, Know Your Greatness” in Hazlitt. She recently wrote an essay in the highly-anticipated anthology “Black Writers Matter” from University of Regina Press (2019), and her memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun, about being a student of colour amid growing white nationalism on campus, is forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart.

Eternity is from Toronto and tweets at @eternitymartis.

Come and celebrate with us!

Gold, Silver and Honourable Mentions will be presented at this year’s Digital Publishing Awards Soirée, a night for our industry to come together and celebrate the creators responsible for producing the best digital content in Canada.

Join us on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at One King West Hotel in Toronto. Tickets for the Soirée will go on sale on May 2nd, when the nominations are announced. For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Executive Director, Barbara Gould at info@digitalpublishingawards.ca.

Interview Series: Shauna Rempel of Global News

In October 2017, the Global News investigation Canada’s Toxic Secret shone a light on pollution in Sarnia, Ontario. The city and its surrounding region, including the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, is popularly known as Chemical Valley due to its high concentration of petrochemical facilities. Global News investigated how recent chemical leaks and spills may be contributing to illness among local residents.

The impactful project lead to funding for a new health study on the impacts of air pollution in the Sarnia region. It’s also received many awards, including the Gold award for Best Social Storytelling at the 2018 Digital Publishing Awards.

With content shared across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Medium, Canada’s Toxic Secret was able to reach a wide audience of Canadians. We spoke to Global News’ Shauna Rempel about the important role of social media in the investigation.

A Global News image used to promote the Toxic Secret project on Facebook.

I was curious to hear about the social media perspective behind the project, since you won the DPA award for Best Social Storytelling. Can you tell me about your role working on social?

I’m the national managing editor for social media and distribution, so I’m taking a look at it from more of a management perspective. I’m the editor for a lot of these things, but also assigning them to people on my team or attending the meetings for some of these bigger projects—attending the meetings and representing the social media team to give feedback as to how we want to approach it.

I was in months and months of meetings. This was quite a lengthy investigation and it involved not just Global News; it was a co-production with students from Ryerson and Concordia journalism schools, and of course the Toronto Star and a few other organizations.

Pretty much everyone on my team had some sort of part in the project, whether helping to create some of the graphics that went out on social media, or captioning the videos or distributing the videos, or adding to a Twitter thread, or moderating some of the comments and checking out the feedback that we were getting from the audience. It was a real group effort.

About how long did the project take to create?

The investigation was months in the making. On the social desk you tend to be involved more in the later stages of things. But Carolyn Jarvis, who was the lead journalist on this whole project, she’s very good at getting everyone involved. So I was getting regular updates from her.

But it was more in September that things started to really ramp up and we looked at all the elements—and there was a lot of video, a lot of images, just a lot of material to go through, and figure out what was going to work for what platform. We did it in three stages. That was the first time we did it in this way, and it’s actually become the template for all of our big rollouts for our big projects. All of our social rollouts now have some version of this template.

We did a pre-social treatment to try and get people excited and interested in it. And then when all the elements were coming out, different stories, different aspects of it, we were sharing it and sometimes re-sharing it the day it was published. Then afterwards we were doing more of a look back. It was being discussed by politicians; there was some fallout from it. So that provided opportunities to not only share the latest elements, but to say, “Now this has happened, as a result of this investigation.” To also share, “In case you missed it, here’s the full documentary again, here’s our main post about it.”

I was curious about the response you saw on social media after the initial push.

There was a lot of discussion amongst the opposition party, and Ontario’s environmental watchdog, who had condemned the fact that there was this population living so close to these known polluters and nothing seemed to be happening. It did lead to, in the aftermath, proposals for new standards to control air pollution. And we did a follow-up, about a year later. Some things had changed, but actually not a whole lot, in a year’s time since we did the initial investigation.

What kind of responses did you get from members of the public?

We had a lot of people discussing it, coming out in one way or another. There was a lot of sympathy amongst the viewers, I think, especially those who were watching the videos. We got messages to that effect. Some of it was people wondering why people were living in that area in the first place, and that started a good conversation, because then you would actually have other people weighing in on, well, maybe they grew up there, that sort of thing. Or, why shouldn’t they live there?

There was a good discussion in that regard, which is what we want. We want a talker. We like it when there’s actually more of a nuanced discussion instead of everyone sort of having a straightforward answer to it. We had over a million, 1.3 million views on the videos that we posted to Facebook, so that was a good indicator to us, too, that people were watching, that they were consuming it on social media.

People were weighing in and talking about pollution where they lived, and their concerns, as well. Folks were either sharing their own stories or comparing it; saying that they too had concerns about pollution, or they were happy to be living somewhere where things were better monitored.

We want this to be something that people can relate to. The videos, the images that we chose—we really wanted this to be something that people could relate to. The idea that someone’s young son got cancer and died after a very short battle with cancer, that’s something that goes beyond any particular city. That’s a universal experience that people could relate to, just the grief of losing a child so suddenly to cancer. That’s the sort of thing we’re trying to tap into, really tapping into the universal themes and the emotion behind it; while also, of course, we’re presenting the facts.

It was a lengthy investigation and there was lots and lots of information. But when sharing it with a social audience you really want to make sure you’re getting the attention, not just with facts and figures but also with people, with human emotion and human experience.

What sort of considerations you have to take into account—if you’re making this for broadcast, how will it work if you’re putting part of it on Facebook, or putting it on YouTube? Is that something that comes into play during the production?

For the documentary itself, it was really more with broadcast in mind. It was more when we were doing the shorter clips that we were really thinking about which ones would work best for a social audience. Our YouTube channel is quite strong, but we weren’t completely sure how many views we would be getting on YouTube. So I think the primary focus for that element was going to be for broadcast first and then seeing what we could put in, either extended interviews or various clips that we could do for a social audience.

A Global News social image featuring a local activist interviewed for the Toxic Secret report.

You mentioned the social process you used for this has become the template you’re using for future stories.

We don’t call it the Toxic Secret template, but we have found this was a good way of approaching anything. Not just our investigative stories, but if we had, let’s say a weeklong feature series that we’re rolling out, we’ve done this for several since then.

We’ve done this pretty much every time we have a major project that’s being published. We always do something ahead of time to tease it with content, to actually give people a bit of a fuller taste of it. And then of course the rolling out throughout the week, or as we have updates, and then trying to do more of a wrap-up, a look back on it. It can take various forms, it depends on the project and the elements. It’s not always a cookie cutter thing, one size fits all. That’s why I say it’s a template, but we do vary it, depending on what we’ve got and what’s available when and where the story leads us to.

Another example is #FirstTimeIWasCalled—this project was very social-focused, we were asking public figures and also the public to share their first brushes with discrimination. All stemming from a story that one of our anchors had about the first time she was called a slur, the first time she was judged by her skin colour. We found we had so much reaction to that that our wrap up just kind of kept going and going because we couldn’t fit it all. We would do one story wrapping up social media reactions, and then we’d send that out on our social channels, and then it would bring in more reactions so we would end up doing another round of it. That’s a great problem to have.

Or sometimes with this Toxic Secret project, we were getting a lot of reactions from politicians. There was a pledge that new standards for air pollution were going to be developed and released. So that gave us something more, something new to report on.

Do you find that there are certain stories, maybe like this one for example, that are more suited to social?

We do find that with the stories that immediately elicit a reaction, and that does tend to be ones that are people-focused, rather than ones that are focused on policy or process. Of course those are important stories as well.

But we do always want to get to the person involved and try to play them up big on social media. So I’m often the one saying—and everyone else has this instinct as well—if we don’t have a photo of someone who’s been interviewed for the story, then we have a problem. We make sure we have a photo of someone, if they’re telling their story, we make sure we play that up on the social media channels. So that people can relate to that person.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about the project?

I would reiterate that it was really a group effort, there were a lot of hands involved with it, and so I’m very pleased that it was recognized in this way. You don’t do any of these things for the awards, you don’t do it for the rewards, but it is nice to see hard work being recognized in this way.

I’m very happy that an award like this exists, because the social media aspect of things has become so ingrained in everything that we do; every aspect of our lives, every aspect of every industry, but especially in the media industry. But it almost gets taken as a given. There’s not always a lot of thought or understanding into what actually is involved with making the things that appear in your Facebook newsfeed or show up on Twitter or pop up in your Instagram feed. So it’s nice to see that work, which is largely behind the scenes, get recognized.

That’s so true. Do you think that social media will continue to be a major part of your work at Global, and continue to be a crucial component of sharing stories?

I do. I think that algorithms come and go, and there’s always some new flavour of the week that might appear on social media, and maybe some folks will shut down their accounts in protest—we’ve definitely weathered some storms when it comes to social media—but I really think it’s so ingrained. I think more these days of social media as just one of many distribution channels. It’s another way that people consume our content and learn about the world. I don’t think that’ll ever go away. It can evolve and change, and it should, because that’s what it’s been doing up until now. But I think it’s still going to be a very vital, very important part of what we do, of how we tell stories.

Interview conducted by Jill Blackmore Evans.

Finalists for the 4th Annual Digital Publishing Awards will be announced on May 2, 2019. Follow us on Twitter for the most up-to-date news. 

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