Hey everyone! Welcome to Public Service in a Changing Media Landscape. We will be starting shortly.
Your panelists today are David Bruser, Kathy Tomlinson, Kyle Shaw and Kim Kierans.
I'm sorry, I don't have bios.
There were 29 entries for the Mitchener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism.
All panelists today have a connection to the Mitchener Foundation.
Bruser works at the Toronto Story, and his stories have made changes to law and have caused recalls.
He was nominated in 2009 for a Mitchener Award for his story on lead in toys.
He worked on stories about Rob Ford -- hopefully we here about the challenges with those stories.
Tomlinson worked at CTV National and worked in Washington D.C. reporting on the Bush Government. She became the CTV Whistleblower, and reported on many different investigative pieces.
She leads the "Go Public" unit at CBC, where people send in story ideas and they follow up. She worked on the temporary foreign worker story.
Shaw is the co-owner and co-founder of the Coast, an independent weekly paper here in Halifax.
It has won multiple awards, and Kierans says it's the weekly reading for all Haligonians.
Stories on Peter Kelly completely changed the elections here in Halifax.
We will start with a few words, and then a conversation/Q&A about how to get more entries to the Mitchener Foundation (i.e. good public service journalism).
We are starting Bruser and Rob Ford.
He went with Robyn Doolittle and they started knocking on doors.
He had legal trouble in Atlanta that made him have to leave the country -- he got a phone call from a bad New York accent speaking person who Bruner knew was actually from Toronto.
It was the first of a lot of intimidations.
The stories on Ford were hard to get and tell.
Two colleagues of him were chasing a tip when they saw that a Rob Ford look-alike was harassing a bunch of strippers. Lots of false tips like that.
When the first rant video was released, the person giving the video wanted to meet in Union Station in Toronto during rush hour. The man was scared.
It was the first time Bruner was able to get swear words in the paper.
The raids were told to the media that they weren't about Rob Ford, and while true, he was a part of them.
Bruser is reading from his favourite paragraphs written on deadline about Ford's partying actions.
Tomlinson is now going to talk about her work.
She believes all journalism is public service journalism.
All of her stories with "Go Public" has come from somebody who has written in. She says that "Knowledge is power," and the Go Public program gives people a tremendous amount of "untapped power" to cause change.
Getting to the people affected by these issues are the ways to get through the spin.
People don't have any power alone, says Tomlinson, and they come to her as the very last thing they do.
A lone employee at RBC had, as Tomlinson says, "the balls" to send an email about the temporary foreign worker program. It kicked off two years of reporting.
He was the first, but not the last to come forward.
The program was hurting a lot of people across the board, and people were afraid to come forward. Who can blame them, their jobs or their place in Canada depending on which side of the fence they were on were on the line.
The problems are now different, and they have clamped down so hard the foreign workers are now being too penalized says Tomlinson.
The whole chain of events was from the power of the people who came forward.
Anytime we do a story we "have to tap that tapped power base and share that information that they want to share."
Shaw says that the issues with the Halifax mayor wasn't anywhere near like Ford -- everyone chuckles.
They got a tip that the Halifax mayor was dragging his heels on an important issue.
The media took the side of the mayor.
The Coast has a couple editors filing stories -- no big feature or investigative teams. They just want to do good honest journalism.
Finally, something shook loose, and the reason the mayor was dragging his feet was because he took money from the estate. He was waiting 7 years for the bank to shred the documents before handling the issue.
Shaw is a sucker for stories, and says, "That's a story!"
50 percent of Tim, the reporter who wrote the story, was getting information.
It was very personal stuff between Tim and the sources.
No phone calls from people with bad accents, however.