Southern lights

Try as I might, I’ve never been able to figure out the purpose of the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF). Founded in 1996 with the stated purpose of building bridges for journalists with public and private organizations, the only reason for the connection seems to be funding for awards and dinner at the annual bunfeed. While Canadian journalists will be feted at this year’s event on June 16, they’re not the headline used to promote the program.

The prime online attention is focussed on a special citation to be presented to the Pulitzer-prize-winning Spotlight team from the Boston Globe that exposed the child abuse scandal and cover-up by the Catholic Church.

A cynic might think that such bigfoot foreign journalists are being honoured just to sell tickets and tables. But the same self-deprecation seems to apply to other CJF events. Among the four talks scheduled over the next two months, only one is a panel comprised of people actually working in Canada. The other three feature Richard Gingras, of Google; Emily Bell of Columbia University; and Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now! It could be the spring schedule for the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.

CJF seems to believe that Canada’s cadre of journalists is (a) too feeble to be featured, or (b) awestruck by Americans. I, for one, will not be attending. I’m flooded with more than enough American coverage just sitting at home. Why pay good money to go out and get more of the same?

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