Canadian Journalism Foundation Honours Quebec journalist and cultural leader
Lise Bissonnette at Annual Awards Gala

Canadian Journalist to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - Lise Bissonnette, former parliamentary correspondent, editorialist and editor-in-chief of Le Devoir, will be awarded the Canadian Journalism Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual awards gala on June 10, 2010, in Toronto.

The eight jurors on the Lifetime Achievement Award selection jury reviewed more than 50 nominations before unanimously selecting Bissonnette.

"She is a superb journalist, scholar and administrator," says Geoffrey Stevens, chair of the jury. He points to her impressive CV as proof of her lifelong ambition and achievement. "She has been recognized with no fewer than eight honorary doctorates from universities in Canada and the United States."

She began her journalistic career in 1974 at Montreal's daily newspaper Le Devoir, where she held various positions before ultimately becoming editor-in-chief from 1990 to 1998. At the time of the 1995 referendum, she took a position in favour of Yes, making Le Devoir the only newspaper in Canada to openly support Quebec sovereignty.

In 1998 she was appointed president and general director of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationals du Québec, a position she held until her retirement in June, 2009. Under her leadership, the establishment has become Quebec's largest cultural institution in terms of size and the broad range of its missions.

Juror Norman Webster remembers her as a fair and balanced reporter. "Lise is a Quebec sovereignist, but she always respects the views of others," he said, noting a Le Devoir editorial she wrote that criticized Parti Quebecois cabinet minister Lise Payette for denouncing women supporters of the "No" side as Yvettes (the name of a docile young girl in an old school manual). "It was a turning point against the separatists' cause but the natural reaction of an honest reporter."

Many times lauded for her support and promotion of Quebec culture, she has been awarded the Ordre de la Pléiade (Francophonie) and was made an officer of the Ordre national du Québec as well as a Knight of the Légion d'honneur de France. After receiving a career medal from the Academie des letters du Quebec in 1999, she was named a member in 2004.

Bissonnette joins a distinguished group of CJF Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Past recipients include: 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); Pat Carney (Vancouver); Bernard Derome (Montreal); Dale Eisler (Denver, Colorado); Mary Lou Finlay (Toronto), and Norman Webster (Montreal)

The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Bissonnette at the CJF's annual awards gala on June 10, 2010 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. In celebration of the CJF's 20th anniversary, the foundation is planning its most exciting gala yet. CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge will host the event, which features an honorary tribute to Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, co-CEOs of Research in Motion, for their contribution to revolutionizing modern journalism technology. Other awards to be presented include the Excellence in Journalism Award, the Greg Clark Award, the Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award, the Canadian Journalism Fellowships and the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy.

For more information about the gala or to purchase a table for $5,000, please contact Cindy Hipple at 416-955-0975 or e-mail chipple@cjf-fjc.ca. Individual tickets are also available for $500 each.

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; and by organizing events that facilitate dialogue among journalists, business people, politicians, government officials and academics about the role of the media in Canadian society.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE News - Media

For further information: For further information: Natalie Turvey, Executive Director, The Canadian Journalism Foundation, 117 Peter St., 3rd floor, Toronto, ON, M5V 2G9, Phone: (416) 955-0394, Fax: (416) 955-0395, e-mail: nturvey@cjf-fjc.ca


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