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National Observer makes shortlist for Canada's best news site

The National Observer team: From left to right: Janel Johnson, Elizabeth McSheffrey, Jenny Uechi, Linda Solomon Wood, Mike De Souza, Jorge Amigo and Chris Hatch. Photo courtesy National Observer.

National Observer is shortlisted along with Toronto Star, CBC News, CTV News, and CTV News Calgary for Canadian Online Publisher Association's (COPA) prestigious 2016 award for 'Best News Website'. Launched in May 2015 by the team that brought you Vancouver Observer, National Observer was nominated in two other categories as well, for best column and best news coverage.

National Observer is the only new media organization to make the final cut in the best website category.

"It's pretty amazing when you think about it," said Linda Solomon Wood, National Observer's founder and editor-in-chief. "These are some of the biggest, best-funded media companies in the country we're competing with for the award.

Compared to ours, their funding is huge. And yet our talented team has made this happen through thinking outside the box about what a news site can be."

Bruno De Bondt, National Observer's lead developer, is named in the nomination for Best News Website along with Solomon Wood. De Bondt is Belgian-born and now lives in Vancouver. He has been working for news organizations since 2004 and has has a degree in journalism from the Journalism School of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

He co-authored Media Activism: Don't hate the media, be the media as well as Using Drupal, published by O'ReillyDe Bondt and his partner, Ariane Khachatourians, also run Textillia, an online sewing and fabric community and database.

National Observer is shortlisted in two other categories as well.

Sandy Garossino's YELLOW STAIN: The bystander bigotry of newspaper endorsements is a contender for 'Best Blog or Column,' competing against Macleans, Winnipeg Free Press and

In the 'Best News Coverage' category, Bruce Livesey's The Tawdry Fall of the Postmedia Empire made the shortlist along with Elizabeth McSheffrey's investigative shocker, Canadian mining giant Barrick Gold fired its whistleblower. Then it spilled cyanide into five rivers, and Mychaylo Prystupa's breaking news story from Paris last fall, Canada shocks COP21 with big new climate goal. 

In the news coverage category, National Observer competes against Huffington Post Canada (owned by AOL), (owned by Torstar), Macleans and CBC.

National Observer reached 10 million people across Canada in its first year. Its biggest audience comes from Toronto, with Vancouver, and Ottawa following close behind.

Mike De Souza joined the publication in January 2016 and became Managing Editor in April, assuming the role from Jenny Uechi, who shifted to reporting on the Syrian refugee crisis.

Sandy Garossino is Associate Editor. Janel Johnson handles sales and Jorge Amigo runs National Observer's engagement strategies. Bruce Livesey is National Observer's lead investigative reporter, while Elizabeth McSheffrey is National Reporter. Chris Hatch joined the group recently as an editor. Regular contributors to the site include: Hamish Stewart, Barry Saxifrage, Carrie Saxifrage, Nick Fillmore, Mario Canseco, and Robyn Allan.

"Watch out," Solomon Wood, said. "This was just our first year."

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