Canadian Journalism Foundation honours Jack Sigvaldason at 15th Annual Awards Gala

Canadian reporter, editor and publisher covering the North will receive Lifetime Achievement Award

TORONTO, April 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Jack Sigvaldason, who has worked in the North as a reporter, editor and publisher for more than 40 years, will be awarded the Canadian Journalism Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Annual Awards Gala on June 7, 2012, in Toronto.

The eight jurors on the Lifetime Achievement Award selection jury reviewed nearly 100 nominations before selecting Sigvaldason, whose newspapers cover 63 communities.

"Jack Sigvaldason has made an unprecedented contribution to journalism in Canada as publisher of Northern News Services, seven independent papers which have been recognized as the best Community Newspapers in Canada," says Valerie Pringle, one of the jurors and long-time program host and television journalist at CBC and CTV. "The fact that he created this feisty, profitable mini newspaper empire in the NWT and Nunavut serving 60,000 people in two languages (English and Inuktitut) over an area of 1.5 million square miles is a massive achievement and the centrepiece of a 50 year career."

Sigvaldason had a career in advertising, public relations and editorial—including opening his own ad agency--in Winnipeg before moving his family to Yellowknife to work as the editor of News of the North. In 1971, after antagonizing various levels of government, advertisers and local communities, he was fired—only to start up the Yellowknifer (now celebrating its 40th year) and subsequently, Northern News Services, which publishes seven community newspapers. His success eventually allowed him to buy the newspaper that fired him and rename it News/North.

"It takes great determination and skill to satisfy different cultures speaking different languages while maintaining high standards as both a journalist and a businessman," says Miller Ayre, another jury member and former group publisher of Transcontinental Media's operations in Newfoundland and Labrador. "Jack has spent a lifetime building a remarkable network of papers in a tricky economy while still being a thorn in the side of the political establishment. I can't wait to meet him." 

Sigvaldason joins a distinguished group of CJF Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Past recipients include: Patrick Brown, Lise Bissonnette, Joe Schlesinger, Sally Armstrong, Norman Webster, Knowlton Nash, Pierre Berton (posthumous), June Callwood, Doris Anderson, Trina McQueen, Doug Creighton, Mark Starowicz, Bernard Derome, Peter C. Newman, Peter Gzowski and Robert Fulford.

The Lifetime Achievement Award jury members are: Geoffrey Stevens, chair (Cambridge, Ontario); Miller Ayre (St. John's); Catherine Bergman (Vancouver and Montreal); Hon. Pat Carney (Vancouver); Valerie Pringle (Toronto); Florian Sauvageau (Quebec City); Gillian Steward (Calgary) and Norman Webster (Montreal).

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Sigvaldason at the CJF Annual Awards Gala on June 7, 2012 at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. Other awards to be presented include the Excellence in Journalism Award, the Greg Clark Award and the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award.

For more information about the gala, please visit http://cjf-fjc.ca/gala-2012.

About the Canadian Journalism Foundation
The Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes excellence in journalism by celebrating outstanding journalistic achievement through an annual awards program; by operating journalism websites, J-Source.ca (English) and ProjetJ.ca (French), in cooperation with the country's leading journalism schools; by organizing events that facilitate dialogue among journalists, business people, government officials, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society; and by fostering opportunities for journalism education, training and research.

For further information:

Natalie Turvey, Executive Director
The Canadian Journalism Foundation
59 Adelaide St. E, Suite 500, Toronto ON M5C 1K6
Phone: 416-955-0394 Fax: 416-532-6879 e-mail: nturvey@cjf-fjc.ca