COMMENTARY: Global News marks World News Day 2019 with commitment to ‘get it right’

Global News has been named a seven-time finalist for the central RTDNA awards including best continuing coverage online and best data storytelling.
Global News has been named a seven-time finalist for the central RTDNA awards including best continuing coverage online and best data storytelling.

Global News is proud to mark World News Day on Thursday by celebrating the award-winning journalism that has made us a trusted name in Canadians’ lives on television, online and in communities across the country.

Our journalists work tirelessly to expose uncomfortable truths, correct convenient falsehoods and tell the stories that impact you where you live. We’re dedicated to bringing you the news you need and the context you crave about the world around you, so we can all continue to live in a free and democratic society.

READ MORE: Anonymous sources — why media outlets use them, and why it’s not ‘phony’ or ‘fake news’

We also take the fight against misinformation seriously. In an age when state actors, tech giants and bombastic politicians threaten to confuse the truth, we’ve made it our mission to ask the hard questions and chase the real story, no matter where it leads.

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“People are becoming increasingly aware of the important role accountability journalism plays in preserving democratic institutions and making citizens aware of their rights,” said Ron Waksman, vice-president, National & Network News at Global News.

“But the freedom of expression Western societies and journalists value so highly comes with a price,” Waksman said. “That is our absolute commitment to the accuracy and veracity of the news we publish and broadcast. That’s the deal. If we want people to have faith in journalism and journalists, we can’t compromise the commitment to get it right.”

READ MORE: Dawna Friesen – Journalism is a pillar of democracy

Here are some of the ways we’ve held the powerful to account and given voice to the voiceless over the last year in our pursuit of getting it right.

A captured Canadian ISIS fighter in Syria

Online investigative journalist Stewart Bell flew halfway around the world and into a warzone so he could talk to Muhammad Ali, a Canadian ISIS fighter who was captured by Kurdish forces in northern Syria last year.

READ MORE: Captured Canadian ISIS fighter wants to return home

“I’d sworn never to go to Syria because who could put their family through that?” Stewart wrote after his journey.

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Stewart’s visit highlighted the awkward choice facing Canada and many of its Western allies with the fall of the Islamic State. Should ex-pats who left to join ISIS be welcomed back as full citizens, or should they face punishment for aiding an international terror group?

WATCH BELOW: Canadian ISIS fighter captured in Syria speaks out

Click to play video 'Canadian ISIS fighter captured in northern Syria speaks out' Canadian ISIS fighter captured in northern Syria speaks out
Canadian ISIS fighter captured in northern Syria speaks out

“The image Ali had projected on social media was menacing, threatening and violent … But the man sitting across from me wasn’t frightening at all,” Stewart wrote about his sit-down with the Canadian ISIS fighter. “He was defeated. He was ISIS. And now he was the one with reason to be afraid.”

Humboldt Broncos bus crash

Our hearts broke along with the rest of Canada — and the world — when a transport truck struck a bus full of young hockey players in rural Saskatchewan last year. Since then, we’ve brought you the stories of the 16 Humboldt Broncos who lost their lives in that crash — and the stories of their teammates and family members who are still dealing with the scars caused by that moment.

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WATCH BELOW: Marking one year since the Humboldt Broncos crash

We put our sticks out for Humboldt along with everyone else last April. We told you how to become an organ donor like Logan Boulet, the Bronco whose death gave others a new lease on life. We brought you inside the Humboldt arena for the Broncos’ bittersweet return to the ice, and we reported to you from the courthouse where the truck driver who hit the Broncos’ bus was sentenced.

Among those who spoke at the sentencing was Marilyn Cross, mother of Broncos’ assistant coach Mark Cross, who died in the crash.

“I grieve for the guilt that you must carry for the rest of your days,” she told the truck driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, in court. “Make the world a better place, just like our son Mark did.”

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The Price of Oil

Global News is proud of its contributions to The Price of Oil, a sweeping two-year investigation into the hidden cost of Canada’s oil industry. Chief investigative correspondent Carolyn Jarvis and her team collaborated in a group of 50 journalists, editors, students, teachers and researchers to shine a light on one of Canada’s most lucrative and toxic industries.

Global’s team worked with journalists from The Toronto Star and The National Observer to expose the tremendous environmental and human impact of Canada’s oil industry, from the oil sands of Alberta to the refineries of Ontario.

WATCH BELOW: Canada’s toxic secret

The series won several honours including a gold medal for Best Social Storytelling at the Digital Publishing Awards, and the Dan McArthur Award for multi-platform investigative journalism from the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA).

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B.C. money laundering through casinos

A Global News investigation exposed a major money-laundering ring in British Columbia, where high-rollers from China were funnelling their dirty cash through casinos before sinking it into the province’s already over-inflated real estate market. Much of this cash was suspected of coming from the province’s illegal drug trade.

WATCH BELOW: Money laundering flowing through back channels in B.C. casinos

The scheme appeared to help wealthy Chinese citizens avoid China’s restrictions on wealth flowing out of the country’s economy.

A part of the community

Our journalists launched several initiatives to highlight minority voices in their communities. Global News Calgary’s Pride Without Prejudice series shared stories from the city’s LGBTQ2 community, while our Living in Colour series delved into the challenges people of colour face in a white-majority society. And our #FirstTimeIwasCalled series brought you the stories of those who’ve encountered racism and discrimination.

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WATCH BELOW: Living in Colour discussions

We also step up for the communities we serve. Our locations in B.C. alone participate in over 250 community and charitable events. For example, Global BC raised $5.5 million for children in need this year with its annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon. Star Trek actor George Takei joined Global BC’s on-air hosts for this year’s telethon, which raises money for children facing serious illness or with special needs.

“Global News contributes well beyond the written word on behalf of our communities and audiences,” said Ward Smith, senior vice-president, Global News.

WATCH BELOW: Global News BC’s Variety Show of Hearts Telethon

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It’s the same across the country. There’s the Global News Morning of Giving in Calgary, the Global News Wardrobe Sale in Edmonton (which is May 25 this year), and the Global News Toronto Firefighters Toy Drive, just to name a few. From fundraisers to telethons to toy drives, we strive to give back to every community we cover, because we live in these communities, too.

“Being connected to the communities we serve is important for us as a local newsroom, not only to inform the community we serve but also to listen,” says Buffy McGaw, national marketing director, Global News.

Democracy in action

Global News’ local reporters took you every step of the way through seismic shifts in the Canadian political landscape this past year. We brought you in-depth coverage of five provincial elections, as Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, Alberta and Prince Edward Island chose new parties to lead them into the next decade.

Our team stands ready to bring you more honest reporting, insightful analysis and minute-by-minute updates in the months ahead, as Canada gears up for a federal election in October.

We remain committed to bringing you the highest-quality journalism so our country can have a healthy, balanced debate in the months and years ahead.