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Report On Business JournalismIS ad campaign aims to promote value of reporting

Toronto Sun and National Post newspapers are posed in front of a news stand in Toronto, October 6, 2014. The new JournalismIS campaign seeks to engage Canadians in a discussion about professional news reporting.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

An advertising campaign to promote the value of professional journalism kicked off Friday in Toronto, with the aim of highlighting the important role journalism plays in democratic societies.

The campaign, called JournalismIS, will feature online, print and TV advertisements over the next four months. It has been sponsored by 14 organizations, including the Ryerson School of Journalism at Ryerson University, the Canadian Association of Journalists, Postmedia Network Inc., Transcontinental Inc., the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail.

"The goal is to increase public awareness and support for professional journalists," said Mary Agnes Welch, the spokeswoman for the campaign and a reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press. "We tell other people's stories for a living but don't do enough in telling our own stories."

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The campaign comes at a time when disruptive technologies and innovative new competitors have shaken up legacy media organizations, causing the industry to engage in introspection.

"It's no secret it's been a tough time in newsrooms in Canada, and it's something we want to talk to Canadians about," Ms. Welch said. "We want to know what Canadians want from us, and to have this begin a genuine national conversation about the future of our profession."

The campaign is an invitation for Canadians to answer the question: "What is journalism?" she added.

The ads highlight 10 journalistic principles, such as a commitment to telling the truth and a responsibility to hold the powerful accountable. Pictures of local journalists who have exemplified these qualities will also be included.

Unifor, the union that represents media and communications workers, spearheaded the campaign and spent about $80,000 on the creative side of the project, Ms. Welch said. All the ad space used will be provided by the sponsors at no charge.

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