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Congratulations to the 2020 CAJ Awards finalists!

Press Release

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is pleased to announce the finalists for its 2020 awards program.

“The past year has been one like no other in Canadian journalism,” says CAJ president Brent Jolly. “To be able to recognize the exceptional work produced over the past year on World Press Freedom Day is a fitting tribute to all the Canadian journalists who have had to endure incomparable challenges, during a global pandemic, to tell stories that need to be told.”

Winners in each category will be announced at a special live online event on May 29. In the coming weeks, finalists will receive information on how to participate in this event, which will also be publicly streamed via the CAJ’s Facebook page.

Finalists are listed alphabetically according to the media outlet where they worked at the time their entry was broadcast/published or where the particular entry was broadcast/published. Links to work have been provided where available. For entries that consist of a series or portfolios, the linked item is the first one in the series.

The finalists in the WRITTEN NEWS category are:

Shanifa Nasser
She was restrained by hospital guards and later died. A security camera was ‘purposely turned’ as it happened
CBC News – Toronto

Aaron Derfel
Public health, police find bodies, feces at Dorval seniors’ residence: sources
Montreal Gazette

Molly Hayes
Tow Truck Turf Wars
The Globe and Mail

Grant Robertson
The Breakdown of Canada’s Pandemic Early Warning System
The Globe and Mail

Katrina Clarke, Steve Buist, Joanna Frketich
House of Horrors: Hamilton’s Rosslyn Retirement Residence
The Hamilton Spectator

The finalists in the COMMUNITY WRITTEN category are:

Tori Marlan
How Thousands of Canadian Care Home Residents are Being Sedated With Potentially Deadly Drugs
Capital Daily – Victoria, B.C.

Tori Marlan
The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How Ignored Warnings at William Head Allowed a Killer to Escape
Capital Daily – Victoria, B.C.

Clara Pasieka
Mass shooting alert sent to Amercians, students, but not Nova Scotians
Telegraph-Journal – New Brunswick

Drew Brown
Unmasking Donny Dooley: Newfoundland’s Most Wanted Troll
The Independent – Newfoundland & Labrador

Grant LaFleche
COVID-19 in Niagara
The Standard – St. Catharines, Ont.

The finalists in the BROADCAST FEATURE category are:

Cullen Crozier, Kenneth Jackson
The Death Report
APTN Investigates

Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Simcha Jacobovici, Afua Hirsch, Ric Esther Bienstock, Sarah Sapper, Yaron Niski, Eli Selden, Rob Lee, Felix Golubev

Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Associated Producers / Cornelia Street Productions / documentary Channel / CBC

Melissa Mancini, Katie Pedersen, William Wolfe-Wylie, David Common, Simon Parubchak
Are nursing homes above the law? Exposing repeat offenders
CBC News – Marketplace

Gillian Findlay, Linda Guerriero, Elizabeth McMillan, Lisa Mayor, Liz Rosch
13 Deadly Hours
CBC News – The Fifth Estate

Ken Volden, Josh Shiaman, Rick Westhead, Matt Cade, Craig Chambers, Adam Fair, James Judges, Curry Leamen, Karl Roeder, Scott West, Kevin Fallis

The Problem of Pain


The finalists in the BROADCAST NEWS category are:

Holly Moore, Brittany Guyot
Writing home / Carving home
APTN Investigates

Kenneth Jackson, Cullen Crozier
‘It’s horrific. It really is’: The suicide deaths of two teens in care raise questions about child welfare in Ontario
APTN National News

Avery Haines, Shelley Ayres, Kevin O’Keefe, Heidi Miller, André Lapalme, Jerry Vienneau, Kirk Neff
The Tarnished Badge
CTV’s W5

Rebecca Collard
Lebanese Give Up on Lebanon (no link available)
Freelancer / CBC News

The finalists in the COMMUNITY BROADCAST category are:

Janice Johnston, Elise von Scheel, Trevor Howlett, Paul Moore
Alberta municipal affairs minister took Hawaii vacation, sources say
CBC News – Edmonton & Calgary

Ariana Kelland, Krissy Holmes, Sherry Vivian and Gary
Killing Time
CBC News – Newfoundland & Labrador

Lindsay Jones
The summer of fear: How a wanted man preyed on children
Freelance / CBC News – Nova Scotia

Bre McAdam, Matt Olson
She’s Gone
Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The finalists in the DATA JOURNALISM category are:

Albert Leung, Ashley Burke, Dexter McMillan, Diana Swain, Druv Sareen, Elizabeth Thompson, Jim Williamson, Jonathan Montpetit, Jonathon Gatehouse, Jorge Barrera, Juliana Perkins, Madeline McNair, Marc Baby, Marie-Hélène Hétu, Matthew Pierce, Meghan Sardesai, Richard Grasley, Simon Nakonechny, Stephanie Dubois, Andreas Wesley, William Wolfe-Wylie

The Big Spend
CBC News

Melissa Mancini, Katie Pedersen, William Wolfe-Wylie, David Common
Overwhelmed and Underprepared | COVID-19 in long-term care homes, a data series
CBC News – Marketplace

Philippe Langlois, Annabelle Blais
Les pires lacs du Québec
Le Journal de Montréal

Tom Cardoso
Bias Behind Bars
The Globe and Mail

Kenyon Wallace, Marco Chown Oved, Ed Tubb, Brendan Kennedy
Investigating for-profit ownership in long-term care homes
Toronto Star

The finalists in the ONLINE MEDIA category are:

Larry Pynn
The Lone Wolf That Was Loved to Death
Freelance / Hakai Magazine

Éric Bachand, Andréanne Baribeau, Amine Beckoury, Stéphane Bédard, Jean-Philippe Bélanger, Joanne Belluco, Dominique Demers, Étienne Fortin-Gauthier, Jackson Ho, Aime Majeau Beauchamp, Antoine Pétin, James Poll, Gisèle Quenneville, Jacques-Normand Sauvé, Martin-André Young

Immigration francophone en Ontario: il faut se parler
ONFR+ / Groupe Média TFO

Christopher Curtis, Virginie Ann
Threats, fines and fear: A dump on Mohawk land overflows with industrial waste
Ricochet / The Eastern Door

Sharon J. Riley, James Wilt, Emma Gilchrist, Sarah Cox, Lindsay Jones, Raina Delisle, Elaine Anselmi, Arik Ligeti
Carbon Cache
The Narwhal

The finalists in the PHOTOJOURNALISM category are:

Carlos Osorio
2020 portfolio (no single link available)

Jesse Winter
Portfolio – ‘Shut Down Canada’: The RCMP raids on Wet’suwet’en territory
Freelance / / The National Observer

Nathan Denette
Portfolio: 2020 A Year Like No Other (no single link available)
The Canadian Press

Amber Bracken
In photos: Wet’suwet’en matriarchs arrested as RCMP enforce Coastal GasLink pipeline injunction
The Narwhal

Aaron Vincent Elkaim
State of erosion: the legacy of Manitoba Hydro
The Narwhal

The finalists in the SCOOP category are:

Tom Fennario
‘Everyone called him Sivuak’
APTN National News

Meghan Grant
Hero with a secret
CBC News – Calgary

Avery Haines, Kevin O’Keefe, Kirk Neff, Jerry Vienneau, André Lapalme, Brett Mitchell, Anton Koschany
Victim 1
CTV’s W5

Sarah Cox
Top B.C. government officials knew Site C dam was in serious trouble over a year ago: FOI docs
The Narwhal

Terry Pender
The Oberlander Files: The secret history of the last suspected Nazi war criminal in Canada
The Record, Waterloo Region

The finalists in the DAILY EXCELLENCE category are:

Nancy Waugh, Ken MacIntosh, Aly Thomson, Shaina Luck, Preston Mulligan, Haley Ryan, Angela MacIvor, Anjuli Patil, Cassidy Chisholm, Brett Ruskin, Elizabeth McMillan, Kayla Hounsell, Eric Wooliscroft, Brian MacKay, Monty Mosher, Jennifer MacMillan, Melissa Friedman

Nova Scotia’s Gunman Rampage
CBC News – Nova Scotia

Joan Bryden, Jim Bronskill
Docs suggest bureaucrats were nudged to look to WE Charity for student program
The Canadian Press

Jimmy Thomson
‘She was absolutely adored’: Iranian scientist spent her life fighting for Indigenous voices in conservation
Freelance / The Narwhal

Jennifer Yang
Ontario developing ‘last resort’ guidelines on which patients to prioritize if hospitals are overwhelmed by critical COVID-19 cases
Toronto Star

Kim Bolan, Gordon Hoekstra
Alleged money launderers killed, wounded in Richmond shooting
Vancouver Sun

The finalists in the WRITTEN FEATURE category are:

Jane Gerster
Elliot, an alcoholic, asked his parole officer for help. She sent him back to prison

James Bagnall
Too many blind spots
Ottawa Citizen

Bruce Deachman
Inside an Ottawa hospital’s COVID-19 ward
Ottawa Citizen

Catherine Morency, Yannick Pinel
Toutes les femmes sont à risque
Radio-Canada – Médias numériques

Amy Smart
The people who cared for him: How a single COVID-19 case moved through the system
The Canadian Press


Trina Roache
Racism Lives Here Too
APTN Investigates

Shaina Luck
Case challenges ‘horrific’ prison surveillance some consider harsher than solitary confinement
CBC News – Nova Scotia

Mark Kelley, Virginia Smart, Karen Wirsig, Aileen Mcbride, Andy Hincenbergs
Bitter Harvest
CBC News – The Fifth Estate

Avery Haines, Brett Mitchell, Riley Nimens, Jerry Vienneau, Kirk Neff, Denis Langlois, Anton Koschany
Prisoner in Paradise
CTV’s W5

Arvin Joaquin
Inside the second wave of the HIV epidemic in the Philippines
Freelance / Xtra


Sarah Rieger, Joel Dryden
Inside the slaughterhouse
CBC News – Calgary

Molly Thomas, Shelley Ayres, Kathlene Calahan, Kirk Neff, Paul Flynn, Brett Mitchell, Anton Koschany
Fields of Wrath
CTV’s W5

Jacob Serebrin
Dying for movies: Suicide highlights labour issues in Canada’s visual effects sector
The Canadian Press

Jimmy Thomson
‘You’re out there alone’: whistleblowers say workplace abuse hides true impacts of B.C.’s trawl fishery
The Narwhal

Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Jennifer Yang

More than 180 workers at this Toronto bakery got COVID-19 — but the public wasn’t informed. Why aren’t we being told about workplace outbreaks?

Toronto Star


Stephane Gunner
Portfolio – Maamuitaau
CBC North-Québec

Bryan Eneas
Portfolio entry
CBC News – Saskatchewan

Steph Kwetásel’wet Wood
Portfolio entry
The Narwhal

The finalists in the APTN / CAJ RECONCILIATION AWARD are:

Zoe Tennant
Portfolio – Unreserved
CBC Radio

Matt Simmons
Portfolio entry
The Narwhal

Liam Harrap
What’s in a name? The story of Mt. Begbie
Revelstoke Review

Brendan Kennedy
As standoff at ‘1492 Land Back Lane’ heats up in Caledonia, land defenders say, ‘This is a moment for our people to say no’
Toronto Star

Anya Zoledziowski
Portfolio entry
Vice News

The finalists in the ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE CHANGE category are:

Rob Smith
Burning Down the House
APTN Investigates

Jimmy Thomson
Grizzlies at the Table
Freelance / BESIDE

Susan Nerberg
Thawing Arctic permafrost seems like a distant threat. It’s not.
Freelance / Broadview

Sarah Cox
British Columbia’s looming extinction crisis
The Narwhal

Andrew Nikiforuk
Threatened by Coal, Ranchers Take the Kenney Government to Court
The Tyee

The finalists in the STUDENT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE are:

Karina Zapata, Nathan Woolridge
Bad Blood
Mount Royal University / Calgary Journal

Samanah Ali
Muslim problems: praying on campus
Ryerson University / RUtv News

Josh Scott, Alex Cyr
Adoption of surveillance tech for online exams sparks student backlash at Ryerson
Ryerson University / The Ryersonian

Grace Smith
In Harm’s Way
Ryerson University / Ryerson Review of Journalism

Consistent with information in the entry package instructions, judges had the discretion to name between one and five finalists in each award category. There were a total 410 entries for the 2020 awards program.

We thank all those who submitted their work for consideration and congratulate the finalists listed above. We look forward to further recognizing and celebrating your work.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is a professional organization with over 900 members across Canada. The CAJ’s primary roles are public-interest advocacy work and professional development for its members.

For further information:

Brent Jolly, CAJ president – 289-387-3179, [email protected]

Jason Markusoff, Awards committee chair – [email protected]


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