CBC Radio One's The Current wins The Canadian Journalism Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award

Video: CJF Awards Gala highlights 2012

Video: The Current wins CJF Large Excellence Award

Video: Vancouver Observer wins CJF Small Excellence Award

Video: CJF Honorary Tribute to Peter Jennings

Video: Jack Sigvaldason wins CJF Lifetime Achievement Award

Anna Maria Tremonti (third from right), host of CBC Radio One's The Current, along with executive producer Pam Bertrand (fourth from right) and the program staff accept the Canadian Journalism Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award for the large media category from Antonia Maioni (far right), associate professor at McGill University in the Department of Political Science and the Institute for Health and Social Policy. (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Foundation)

Jack Sigvaldason, publisher of Northern News Services, accepts the Canadian Journalism Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award from past recipient Sally Armstrong, journalist, author and human rights activist.(CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Foundation)

Ted Koppel , anchor and managing editor of ABC's Nightline for 26 years, presents the Canadian Journalism Foundation Honorary Tribute posthumously to Peter Jennings. Sarah Jennings, Peter's sister and a journalist, accepts the tribute on the family's behalf. (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Foundation)

TORONTO, June 8, 2012 /CNW/ - CBC Radio One's The Current won the Excellence in Journalism Award in the large media category at last night's Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) 15th Annual Awards Gala. The Vancouver Observer won in the small/local media category.

"The Current's strong commitment to creative, innovative and risk-taking stories impressed all jury members," said Michael Benedict, chair of the CJF Excellence Jury. "The program maximizes staff resources to provide fresh, in-depth analysis to the day's headlines while maintaining an admirable engagement with its audience."

Other Excellence in Journalism Award finalists included The Canadian Press-Ottawa Bureau, The Huffington Post Canada and past recipients Toronto Star and Winnipeg Free Press. "This was one of the strongest fields in years," said Benedict. "Despite severe financial pressures, some media at least continue to strive vigorously for excellence."

Media and business luminaries from across the country gathered at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel for the annual celebration of overall excellence in journalism, with the ceremony hosted by CTV National News correspondent Seamus O'Regan.

Upon accepting the Excellence Award on behalf of the program, The Current host Anna Maria Tremonti noted the show was in its tenth season: "This is also affirmation for all of us that hard-edged journalism—edgy, provocative, journalistic efforts--will never be a liability in this country." She called on today's journalists to pursue hard stories. "To do a story you don't want to do, come up with three others you do and fight for it," she said. "Take your journalism back."

For her part, Vancouver Observer founder, publisher and editor-in-chief Linda Solomon said, "Receiving this great honour from The Canadian Journalism Foundation makes me extremely proud of the truly effervescent team that brings the Vancouver Observer to life." Among the evenings other awards:

  • The Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, worth up to $100,000, is sponsored by the Atkinson Charitable Foundation, the Toronto Star and the Honderich family. The grant provides for a Canadian journalist to undertake a year-long research project on a topical public policy issue. This year's recipient is Michael Valpy, former long-time Globe and Mail writer and columnist and now a senior fellow at Massey College at the University of Toronto and professor of media theory at U of T and the University of Western Ontario. For his fellowship, Valpy will explore social cohesion in Canada.

  • The Greg Clark Award, sponsored by the Toronto Star and CNW Group, went to Tamara Baluja, a Toronto-based Globe and Mail national reporter with a special interest in education. Baluja proposed that she spend a week visiting First Nations schools in remote British Columbia to gain insight into successful models of education.

  • The William Southam Journalism Fellowships, formerly known as the Canadian Journalism Fellowships, for a year of post-secondary study at the University of Toronto, are awarded annually by Massey College. This year's six winners are:
    • Murray Whyte, a journalist with the Toronto Star, who received the Kierans-Janigan Fellowship, funded through the generosity of former CJF chair Tom Kierans and his wife Mary Janigan in honour of one of Canada's greatest arts journalists, the late Val Ross of the Globe and Mail;

    • Gil Shochat, a documentary television producer at CBC, who received the CBC/Radio-Canada Fellowship;

    • Mary Agnes Welch, a public policy reporter with the Winnipeg Free Press, who received the St. Clair Balfour Fellowship;

    • Teresa Temweka Chirwa, an investigative journalist and editor at Zodiak Broadcasting in Lilongwe, Malawi, who is the recipient of the Gordon N. Fisher/jhr Fellowship, awarded in partnership with Journalists for Human Rights and named after the late Gordon N. Fisher who, along with the late St. Clair Balfour of Southam Newspapers, created the fellowships in 1962;

    • Mary Triny Mena, an investigative reporter for Globovision, the only 24-hour news channel in Venezuela, received the Scotiabank/CJFE Fellowship;

    • Peter Kuitenbrouwer, Toronto columnist at the National Post, received the Webster/McConnell Fellowship, named after two Montreal-based foundations.

The previously announced Lifetime Achievement Award went to Jack "Sig" Sigvaldason who left Winnipeg for 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. Sivgaldason said he would accept the award as "the achievement of the people of the North."

Peter Jennings, Canadian-born anchor and senior editor of ABC's World News Tonight, was acknowledged posthumously during an Honorary Tribute for a storied journalism career. Presenting the tribute, Ted Koppel, who was anchor and managing editor of ABC's Nightline for 26 years, said: "Peter Jennings' career stands as a monument to what television news once was and as a reproach to much of what it has become, most especially on the cable networks."

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.

Video with caption: "Video: CJF Awards Gala highlights 2012". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120608_C7149_VIDEO_EN_14881.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120608_C7149_PHOTO_EN_14881.jpg&clientName=Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation&caption=Video%3A%20CJF%20Awards%20Gala%20highlights%202012&title=CJF%20Awards&headline=

Video with caption: "Video: The Current wins CJF Large Excellence Award". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120608_C7149_VIDEO_EN_14882.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120608_C7149_PHOTO_EN_14882.jpg&clientName=Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation&caption=Video%3A%20The%20Current%20%20wins%20CJF%20Large%20Excellence%20Award&title=CJF%20Large%20Excellence&headline=CBC%20Radio%20One%27s%20The%20Current%20wins%20The%20Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation%20Excellence%20in%20Journalism%20Award

Video with caption: "Video: Vancouver Observer wins CJF Small Excellence Award". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120608_C7149_VIDEO_EN_14883.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120608_C7149_PHOTO_EN_14883.jpg&clientName=Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation&caption=Video%3A%20Vancouver%20Observer%20wins%20CJF%20Small%20Excellence%20Award&title=CJF%20Small%20Excellence&headline=CBC%20Radio%20One%27s%20The%20Current%20wins%20The%20Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation%20Excellence%20in%20Journalism%20Award

Video with caption: "Video: CJF Honorary Tribute to Peter Jennings". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120608_C7149_VIDEO_EN_14884.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120608_C7149_PHOTO_EN_14884.jpg&clientName=Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation&caption=Video%3A%20CJF%20Honorary%20Tribute%20to%20Peter%20Jennings&title=CJF%20Honorary%20Tribute&headline=CBC%20Radio%20One%27s%20The%20Current%20wins%20The%20Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation%20Excellence%20in%20Journalism%20Award

Video with caption: "Video: Jack Sigvaldason wins CJF Lifetime Achievement Award". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20120608_C7149_VIDEO_EN_14885.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20120608_C7149_PHOTO_EN_14885.jpg&clientName=Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation&caption=Video%3A%20Jack%20Sigvaldason%20wins%20CJF%20Lifetime%20Achievement%20Award&title=CJF%20Lifetime%20Achievement&headline=CBC%20Radio%20One%27s%20The%20Current%20wins%20The%20Canadian%20Journalism%20Foundation%20Excellence%20in%20Journalism%20Award

Image with caption: "Anna Maria Tremonti (third from right), host of CBC Radio One's The Current, along with executive producer Pam Bertrand (fourth from right) and the program staff accept the Canadian Journalism Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award for the large media category from Antonia Maioni (far right), associate professor at McGill University in the Department of Political Science and the Institute for Health and Social Policy. (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120608_C7149_PHOTO_EN_14889.jpg

Image with caption: " Jack Sigvaldason, publisher of Northern News Services, accepts the Canadian Journalism Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award from past recipient Sally Armstrong, journalist, author and human rights activist.(CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120608_C7149_PHOTO_EN_14887.jpg

Image with caption: "Ted Koppel , anchor and managing editor of ABC's Nightline for 26 years, presents the Canadian Journalism Foundation Honorary Tribute posthumously to Peter Jennings. Sarah Jennings, Peter's sister and a journalist, accepts the tribute on the family's behalf. (CNW Group/Canadian Journalism Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120608_C7149_PHOTO_EN_14888.jpg



For further information:

Media Contact Information:

Wendy Kan
The Canadian Journalism Foundation
Phone: 416.955.0394 x502
e-mail: wkan@cjf-fjc.ca
www.cjf-fjc.ca