J-Source is recognizing Wilf Dinnick and OpenFile as the Canadian Newsperson of the Year for his courage to put his own reputation on the line to create new and innovative approaches to engaging citizens with local, public service journalism. Dinnick, a former CBC, CTV and CNN journalist, launched the site a year-and-a-half ago to become an example of what the jury sees as a new way to think about news and represents the heart and soul of journalism's future.
We applaud his courage to put his own reputation on the line to create new and innovative approaches to engaging citizens with local, public-service journalism in an independent environment, without the backing or safety net of an established news organization. Launched a year and a half ago, backed by three years of venture capital, the open-source news website takes story pitches from citizens, then hires freelance journalists to follow up to create what it calls “a vibrant, ever-evolving local news conversation among newsmakers, news-gatherers and news readers.”
OpenFile.ca and the other 'innovators' we want to recognize for special mention, are people who are using new and emerging media technologies to expand the number of journalistic voices in this country and to redefine the relationship between journalists and citizens. In many ways, they represent the heart and soul of journalism's future.
Congratulations, Wilf Dinnick and OpenFile.ca!
Special Mention to:
- James Baxter, founder of ipolitics.ca
- Sean Holman, founder of Public Eye
- Duncan McCue, developer of an open-source online guide for journalists covering indigenous communities, broadcaster and teacher