Cameron Slater to keep Canon award
Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater will not have his Canon Media Award withdrawn in the wake of allegations made in Nicky Hager's book, the Newspaper Publishers' Association (NPA) says.
In the book, Dirty Politics, Hager made allegations that staff in the prime minister's ninth floor office conspired with Slater to run dirty political campaigns against National's opponents.
Slater won best blog at the 2014 Canon Media Awards in May.
NPA editorial director Rick Neville said the award was made by independent judge Deborah Hill Cone in recognition of Whale Oil breaking a major story relating to the Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown.
Some media have questioned if the NPA should withdraw Slater's award in view of allegations made in
Hager's book claiming that Slater used unethical means to get the Brown story.
"The NPA has not considered this, and Canon has made no request for this to happen," Neville said.
"In the 40-year history of the awards, none has ever been withdrawn and it would be an extreme, highly unusual step.
"The only justification for even considering this would be if concrete evidence came forward of illegal or highly unethical methods having been used to obtain the Len Brown story. Nicky Hager has made a number of allegations but these are not the same as evidence or proof."
Photography company Canon has had its name dragged through the mud on social media since Slater was given the award, something the NPA condemned, Neville said.
"Canon is a wonderful sponsor who does not deserve such treatment.
"The Canon awards are New Zealand's premier journalism awards, are a brilliant showcase for journalism, and without Canon's support, the awards could not be held.
It needed to be understood that Canon had nothing to do with the judging, or selection of the judges which is done by the NPA in consultation with senior editors of newspapers, magazines and websites, Neville said.
The fact Slater had won the award in no way implied that Canon, or the NPA, supported or condoned other content on Whale Oil, Neville said.