J-Source, Canada’s online publisher of news and ideas for journalists, is calling for nominations for Canadian Newsperson of the Year. With two weeks to go, 14 names are already on the list, including The Tyee’s energy issues analyst Andrew Nikiforuk, The Vancouver Sun’s digital tools using reporter Chad Skelton, Kamloops This Week reporter Tim Petruk, and two members of the OpenFile network of online news sources in various Canadian cities

According to the J-Source website: “The J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year award will honour a Canadian who has demonstrated excellence and had a positive impact on the quality of journalism in their community or across the country, perhaps innovating the way news is gathered and told, inspiring journalists, educators, and the Canadian public.”

Half of the nominees to date are doing journalism in non-traditional settings, a sign of the diversity of Canada’s journalism landscape.

Among the guidelines given nominators are these: “We are honouring journalism during 2011, so the action, decision, advocacy, story, approach, judgement call etc. that provides the basis for the nomination must have occurred in the 2011 calendar year.”

The nominations can be submitted by anyone and nominators’ identities are not disclosed. “A jury convened by The Canadian Journalism Project (CJP) will judge the nominees and announce the winner of the J-Source Canadian Newsperson of the Year award in January,” says the J-Source website.

Here is the list of those nominated so far, with nominations to close January 16, 2012.

1) Steve Buist (The Hamilton Spectator) “Steve’s commitment to journalism is perhaps best embodied in the groundbreaking series Code Red that began in 2010 and continued in 2011. The series makes connections between health, wealth and poverty and provides powerful data for decision-makers. It’s the first time such data has been published and the stories are powerful and life-changing.
 This year’s journalism project was called BORN, a Code Red project and focused the connection between low income, poor education and birth outcomes. Steve relied upon exclusive access to 535,000 Ontario birth records to tell the multi-part series.”

2) Anne Kingston (Maclean’s) “Restlessly following the CCSVI in Multiple Sclerosis issue. Digesting and presenting complex info very well, blasting through a haze of well funded contrarians with dodgy motives always politely. Realizing that this is a long-term issue and educating readers in a wholly responsible manner.”

3) Bethany Horne (OpenFile) “Bethany is young and recently did her first radio doc for the CBC, she is also a curator for Open File Halifax, she caused a stir with her stance on Unpaid Internships. The reason for I am nominating her though is for her work with Occupy Halifax. While most Canadian journos dismissed Occupy or seemed confused by it – Bethany embedded herself for extended periods in an effort to understand and created a space within the Occupy Halifax camp where journalists could live and work. A sample of her occupy work can be found here.”

4) Andrea Houston (Xtra) “Andrea has been at the forefront of journalism on women’s rights and LGBT issues this year. She has also done an exceptional job of covering Toronto City Hall for Xtra. Most prominently though she has played a pivotal role in calling attention to the ban on Gay Straight Alliances(GSAs) in Ontario’s Catholic Schools.”

5) Craig Silverman (Regret the Error) “For some years, Craig, the man behind Regret the Error and, has waged a war for accuracy and transparency, winning a place as an expert on corrections policy (in print and online) and respected advocate for higher standards. He became a feature on the Columbia Journalism Review site before moving to the Poynter Institute’s site late in the year. He was also one of the leading thinkers behind the Canadian Association of Journalists’ guidelines for online corrections issued this year.”

6) Jayson Taylor (Halifax Chronicle Herald) “Jayson Taylor has challenged the reporters and photojournalists to tell stories in innovative ways and with other mediums other than the printed page. And in response those who have worked with him have been rewarded by being ‘creatively recharged’. With theground-breaking series on racism in Nova Scotia, Taylor has continued to inspire the the fellow members of his editorial team. In addition Jayson has been involved in mentoring other team members to try their hand at video and multimedia.” i

7) Wilf Dinnick (OpenFile) “Founder of OpenFile, he quit a promising career in TV news in the U.S. to come home and start something completely new: an online news service predicated on citizens’ local-news interests but reliant on journalists’ work. Many said his idea was doomed to founder on the rocks of financing. Instead, it has spread to several cities and, while young, it promises a new way to think about news and has brought paid work to many young journalists. Yes, a new thing under the sun.”

8) Chad Skelton (Vancouver Sun) “Chad is an award-winning journalist with the Vancouver Sun who has brought data journalism to the mainstream in a big way. His work on projects such as this is important in pointing to new ways of more deeply informing the public.”

9) Andrew Lundy (Global News) “He has worked tirelessly to bring Global News to the forefront of innovative journalism in Canada. Launched just three years ago, is now the fastest growing news and information website in the country. Under Andrew’s leadership, the website has pioneered data journalism and quietly given Canadians a strong alternative source for quality journalism from coast-to-coast.”

10) Andrew Nikiforuk (The Tyee) “Nikiforuk wrote surely one of the best Canadian books of the year, Empire of the Beetle, a multi-faceted investigation into beetle infestations killing forests in Canada and beyond that was nominated for the 2011 Governor General’s Literary award…This year Nikiforuk also built upon his groundbreaking bestseller The Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent with 46 richly researched pieces about Energy & Equity, published by The Tyee, which challenge the assumption that Canada becoming a petro-state is inevitably good for Canadians’ well-being.”

11) Tim Petruk (Kamloops This Week) “Tim’s consistently excellent crime and court reporting could find a home in any newspaper in the country. He won the highest honour in B.C. journalism in 2009, was nominated in 2010, and will likely return next year for his excellent multipart story “28 Seconds” on a Kamloops man shot to death by police. His work might fly under the radar because of where it appears—in a community newspaper in the interior of British Columbia—but to do what Time does with the scarce resources afforded small-town journalists is deserving of this honour.”

12) Kenneth Jackson (formerly Ottawa Sun) “Kenneth Jackson, a former Ottawa Sun crime reporter, broke the biggest political story of the year. The Bruce Carson affair consumed the House of Commons in the two weeks leading up to the election. Jackson was the one who obtained emails written by Bruce Carson and a contract Carson witnessed giving his fiancee, an Ottawa escort named Michele McPherson, a cut of profits from the sale of water filters to First Nations suffering from dirty water.”

13) Murray Brewster (The Canadian Press) “Murray Brewster (CP military affairs correspondent) is an unsung hero of Canadian journalism. He is a quiet, immensely humble master of his craft who just published an important book, The Savage War; a mentor to dozens (at least) of young, often ill-trained, ill-prepared journalists sent abroad into hostile environments and shooting conflicts; a rare, deeply principled journalist who risks his life and sacrifices the comfort of home and family for as much as six months out of a year to uphold these principles.”

14) Liam Casey (Toronto Star) “I’d like to nominate Liam Casey for work that he began in late 2010, but has continued throughout 2011. In the winter 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism, Casey wrote the cover story about suicide and the media’s lack of coverage of it. He wrote about his own bout with suicide as a means to get into the story. It was a brave decision. He wrote numerous pieces for the Star, including this one about suicide myths vs. realities. In late 2011, the Star ran a series on teen suicide, which included pieces by Casey. See here. Casey is undoubtedly a great example of the bright future of Canadian journalism.”