Taproot shortlisted for journalism innovation award

Here’s some happy news to share with you — Taproot Edmonton is a finalist for the CJF-Meta Journalism Project (MJP) Digital News Innovation Award!

This is an annual award that recognizes news organizations that "power journalism’s future through digital journalism." It was our coverage of the 2021 municipal election that caught the eye of the jury.

The winner will be announced at the Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards on June 7.

We are shortlisted with the CBC for its Black On the Prairies interactive series, and New Canadian Media for its collective membership model, a capacity-building project with the Canadian Association of Journalists and National NewsMedia Council.

I had the pleasure of leading the tremendous team that pulled this project off, with development by Mack Male and Meenakshi Chaudhary; data analysis by Madeleine Stout; editorial work by Emily Rendell-Watson, Jackson Spring, and Troy Pavlek; session facilitation by Chris Chang-Yen Phillips; and advice from Elise Stolte and Rob Houle.

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this project. The real reward was, of course, the knowledge that we sent thousands of Edmontonians into this election with a better understanding of what the issues were and which candidates aligned best with their values. But it’s nice to get some external validation.

Taproot Edmonton wins publishing awards

We’ve been pretty heads-down in 2022, doing the work that you’ve come to expect from us, but it’s time to look up and celebrate a couple of honours for that work.

At Digital Alberta’s 2021 Ember Awards, Taproot Edmonton was named Best Digital Publication.

Last year saw huge changes at Taproot, with the launch of The Pulse, powered by a revamped website that reflects our efforts to help our community understand itself better. We were also recognized for our People’s Agenda project, in which we asked Edmontonians what issues were important to them, put those questions to the candidates, and crafted a matching engine to help voters discover who aligned with their values best.

"It was truly gratifying to be able to have such a positive impact in such an important part of our community," co-founder Mack Male said in his acceptance speech.

It was Mack’s developer chops that made all of this possible on the technical side, assisted by intern Meenakshi Chaudhary. We also pulled on his deep knowledge of city hall on the content side, alongside tremendous efforts from editorial lead Emily Rendell-Watson, data analyst Madeleine Stout, reporter Jackson Spring, listening-sessions facilitator Chris Chang-Yen Phillips, and everyone else who helped the project succeed.

Many thanks to Digital Alberta and award sponsor Communo, and congratulations to all of the amazing people and organizations recognized for their excellence.

Taproot Edmonton was named Best Digital Publication in the 2021 Ember Awards

We were also honoured to be named Independent Publisher of the Year at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards. This was on the strength of Taproot Edmonton Presents: Igniting Innovation, a six-episode podcast series hosted and produced by Emily Rendell-Watson, exploring how startups and investors have been coming together in Edmonton’s tech scene.

The work Emily did on that show laid the foundation for Taproot’s new weekly podcast, Bloom, in which Emily discusses innovation in Edmonton with co-host Faaiza Ramji. We’ll share more about this project in the coming days, but in the meantime, check out the episodes so far, and subscribe so you don’t miss the next one.

It takes resources to make award-winning journalism, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to keep making more. If you’d like to help, become a member or a sponsor, or pass this on to a friend. Such contributions make a big difference.

Silver for our election microsite at the 2018 COPAs

The 2018 Canadian Online Publishing Awards were handed out last week and Taproot Edmonton is thrilled to share that we won Silver in the Best Interactive/Infographic Story category for our 2017 Municipal Election microsite.

Martin Seto, producer of the COPAs, said they “celebrate the people that produce content in a world where there is growing mistrust of the media and the widespread distribution of tabloid and farticle content on the internet.” This year was the 10th anniversary of the awards.

We combined open data from the City with other data that we collected to build the election microsite. Prior to Election Day, readers could use the Election Guide to find their wards, candidates, voting station, and more simply by entering their address or clicking the “Locate Me” button. On Election Night, the results dashboard provided real-time updates on every race, total voter turnout, and other interesting data points, such as the incumbents being defeated and the most supported candidates. Once the information became available, we updated the microsite with campaign finance disclosures. You can easily search the data to see all the donations that candidates received.

The microsite was built by Mack Male, with editing from Karen Unland and research by Anna McMillan.

Read more about our microsite and companion email newsletter.