The Professional Writers Association of Canada (formerly the Periodical Writers Association of Canada) represents professional freelance writers working in Canada's magazine, newspaper, corporate writing, government writing and book publishing industries. For more information about PWAC, including how to join, please visit To find a Canadian writer, please visit

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Writer controversy

Professional writers are in the centre of a controversy bubbling in American medical circles, according to a recent story in The Wall Street Journal.

According to the article (available under subscription online):

The Annals of Internal Medicine tightened its policies on writer disclosure this year after a University of Arizona professor listed as the lead author of a Vioxx article in 2003 said he had little to do with the research in it.

The practice of letting ghostwriters hired by communications firms draft journal articles -- sometimes with acknowledgment, often without -- has served many parties well. Academic scientists can more easily pile up high-profile publications, the main currency of advancement. Journal editors get clearly written articles that look authoritative because of their well-credentialed authors... Drug companies say they're providing a service to busy academic researchers, some of whom may not be skilled writers. The companies say they don't intend for their ghostwriters to bias the tone of articles that appear under the researchers' names.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Magazine Awards

National Magazine Awards Call for Entries – Deadline January 10, 2006

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is searching for Canada’s best in magazine journalism, photography and design. Each year, over 2,000 entries from across the country are judged and winners are presented with Gold and Silver awards. This year’s Awards will be presented on June 9, 2006 in Toronto.

Aside from the personal pride, monetary reward and sense of accomplishment that comes with winning a NMA, this year's winners will be added to an online database which will be accessible to the media, students and the Canadian public. This database is an informational archive of all winners to date and was launched in October 2005.

Submissions for this year's Awards will be accepted online only until January 10, 2006. For eligibility details and to submit your entries, please visit

National Magazine Award for Best Student Writer – Deadline: February 1, 2006

The National Magazine Awards Foundation and Department of Canadian Heritage are proud to announce the launch of the first annual National Magazine Award for Best Student Writer. A separate judging panel comprised of a cross-section of journalism teachers and editors will select one student to receive the $1,000 cash prize at the National Magazine Awards on June 9, 2006 in Toronto.

Full-time, post-secondary student writers are encouraged to submit a non-fiction article (French or English) published in a Canadian consumer magazine or university publication in the 2005 calendar year.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

highest court

Today is Heather Robertson day in Ottawa. The Supreme Court of Canada will be hearing arguments in Heather Robertson, et al. v. Thomson Corporation, et al.. Apparently there are still some good seats available in the public galleries, so if you are reading this in Ottawa, bundle up and get thee to Wellington Street. A ruling is expected to be handed down on this case in coming months.

UPDATE: See more about today's Supreme Court hearing at the Creators Copyright Coalition website.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

copyright omnibus

Dispatches from the copyright front lines:

The Creators Copyright Coalition website dives into the satellite radio question, with an op-ed from regular contributor (and PWAC member) Chris Moore. Whether you're aware of it or not, satellite radio has arrived in Canada, with American providers making all sorts of promises about Canadian content. CBC's formerly web-based Radio 3 is now available on Sirius, for example, but are the real interests of Canadian creators being served by this new radio model?

Heather Robertson 's class action on behalf of Canadian freelancers reaches the Supreme Court on December 6th -- that's next Tuesday. Ottawa-based writers should clear their schedules for that day and lend their presence to this moment of import for Canadian creators.

A Quebec lower court has ruled in favour of a freelance writer in a dispute against an Edmonton publisher. See the publicly available ruling here.