PressProgress’ Coverage of ‘Freedom Convoy’ Occupation Shortlisted for Investigative Journalism Award
PressProgress has been named as a finalist for an “best investigative article” at the 2022 COPA awards
PressProgress’ coverage of the “Freedom Convoy” occupation’s impact on Ottawa residents has been shortlisted as a finalist for an investigative journalism award.
The Canadian Online Publishing Awards recently released its 2022 finalists and will be announcing winners at an awards ceremony on February 9.
PressProgress Editor Luke LeBrun is nominated in the category of “Best investigative article” for a story published on April 5, 2022 that revealed Ottawa Police sent convoy vehicles to camp out on a street next to residential homes and a local school.
NEW: Ottawa Police sent ‘Freedom Convoy’ vehicles to a street next to residential homes and a local school.
Internal emails show show City of Ottawa officials withheld details about the staging area following reports of tailgate partieshttps://t.co/H9SMScA0p7 #ottnews #cdnpoli
— PressProgress (@pressprogress) April 5, 2022
The story is based on a Freedom of Information request LeBrun filed with the City of Ottawa, seeking records relating to his own media request.
The documents showed Ottawa Police admitted they had sent convoy vehicles into residential neighbourhoods and show both Ottawa Police and City of Ottawa officials deliberately withheld that information from the public.
The story, which also contains original documentation of the convoy’s impact on the residential area, also shows local school officials were unaware that one vehicle Ottawa Police allowed to camp metres away from the school building was loaded with gas cans — even as young students were present in-class.
I also asked @OttawaCity and @OttawaPolice what they knew about this truck loaded with gas cans parked outside a local school on the same street Ottawa Police designated as a staging area.
You may be surprised to learn both declined comment.https://t.co/VBhjpCWVTN #ottnews pic.twitter.com/KFpdfk4B5P
— Luke LeBrun (@_llebrun) April 5, 2022
During the convoy occupation, PressProgress sought to fill a gap in media coverage by focusing on underreported stories documenting what was happening in Ottawa residential areas, which often received less attention than the carnival atmosphere in front of Parliament Hill.
PressProgress’ coverage produced original reporting documenting harassment targeting teachers, students and parents at Ottawa-area schools, the impacts on local workers and local businesses, the presence of far-right extremists in the convoy, as well as the convoy base camps in nearby rural communities.
PressProgress is a non-profit news organization with a critical focus on investigative journalism that holds the powerful accountable, exposes unsafe and unfair working conditions and shines a light on hate and bigotry.
Other finalists alongside PressProgress in the same category include CBC News, Radio-Canada International, The Discourse and the West End Phoenix.
In 2020, PressProgress won three COPA awards for its coverage of the health and labour impacts of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, including a silver award for Best Digital Content of the Year, a gold award for Best COVID-19 Story Coverage as well as the top COPA prize for Best Independent Publisher of the Year.
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