Media watchdogs and all that

Today I found out I won third place in the Consumer Magazine: Investigations and Analysis category at the 2008 AEJMC awards for my Review story on Harvey Cashore. It’s nice to know people read my 6,000 word self-indulgent (me, not Harvey) opus on a then-unknown CBC journalist, yeah? Since then he’s been featured on J-Source and what have you, so I like to pretend I had something to do with that.

My summer 2008 issue is finally on stands, so you should all go look for the shiny silver cover with the dog. It’s a good read, I promise — not just my piece but also ones about CBC, politicos, crusaders and anti-zealots, First Nations issues and others that run the whole gamut of Canadian media. You can find the Ryerson Review of Journalism at Indigo/Chapters across Canada and, in the GTA, preferably at indies such as Pages.

Update, 2:33 EST:

Took a look at the full winners’ list. There are some dubious winners, but whatever.

As for mine, they mistakenly credited the story to a Catherine Williams. Somewhere, young Catherine is very happy and confused at this turn of good events.

Here were the judge’s comments:

Depth of detail; excellent quotes and interviews; important topic. Well organized by paragraphs. Would have been improved by following through on promise of deck: “Accused of inventing a scandal” was not really covered in article.

I thought I covered the “inventing the scandal” part pretty well — considering I laid out the period in the mid-90s and the Saturday Night article and all that in great detail for almost a whole section in the last third of the story, with a great many quotes from Harvey and colleagues. I’m glad he commended the structure, which I literally almost killed myself over.

Most importantly, I’m thankful he didn’t blow my cover on the blasé quotes about the state of investigative journalism. I think (though rightfully) journalists will circle the wagons on their profession and livelihood, and I grimaced every time those quotes were left intact in round after round of editing. It’s noble to say that budget cuts are a travesty and an insult to generations of gumshoes past, which of course these seasoned men and women are entitled to, but it’s a fact that the entire industry is grappling with massive economic turmoil. To think otherwise would be a lie. And be thankful you’re not working for the Tribute Company, parent company of the Chicago Tribute and the L.A. Times, which is sinking fast under a $13 billion cargo of debt.

I’m a bit surprised he didn’t catch onto that, all the cheerleading… but then again, if he had we wouldn’t have these out-of-left-field winners…

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