Six Michener Award finalists and Michener-Deacon Fellowship winner named

OTTAWA, April 19 /CNW/ - The Michener Awards Foundation today announced six finalists for the 2010 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism and named the winner of the 2011 Michener-Deacon Fellowship.

The finalists for the Michener Award are: the Calgary Herald; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; The Eastern Door; The Hamilton Spectator; la Société Radio-Canada; and The Vancouver Sun.

The judges awarded the Michener-Deacon Fellowship to Jane Armstrong, a Toronto freelance writer whose career includes 20 years as a national and international reporter with the The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. Her fellowship project will scrutinize the impact of Canada's aid programs in Afghanistan over the past decade and explore the future of those projects when Canada's military role winds down this summer. The judges said given her strong reportage and clear-eyed analysis of the topic in the past, they felt confident Ms Armstrong would deliver stories that focused on both the issues and the human beings affected by the aftermath in Afghanistan.

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will host the Michener Awards ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 14 where the winner of the 2010 Michener Award will be announced and the Michener-Deacon Fellowship will be presented.

The Michener Award, founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then Governor-General, goes to a news organization. The judges' decisions are heavily influenced by the degree of public benefit generated by the print and broadcast entries submitted for consideration.

The following entries are the 2010 finalists:

The Calgary Herald
The series Worked to Death exposes the human costs of Alberta's economic boom - sloppy on-site safety practices and lax enforcement leading to a disturbing number of annual workplace deaths.  After this in-depth series was published the Alberta government took more aggressive measures including the creation of an online database listing safety violations, more work-site safety blitzes, and a promise to hire more safety inspectors. It also is pursing companies that don't pay their fines.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
CBC TV's fifth estate stories "Out of Control" and "Behind the Wall" depict the last hours of Ashley Smith and exposed the almost unbelievable story about a troubled teenager abandoned in the corrections system. Following the fifth estate broadcasts, the scope of the inquest into Smith's death was widened and it is now easier for media outlets to access to court exhibits making the judicial system more open and transparent.

The Eastern Door
The sustained reporting of the decision of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawke to send eviction letters to non-Natives living on the reserve put names and faces to the evictions and sparked a public discussion in this close-knit community into what The Eastern Door called a "human rights story".  The courageous involvement of the community paper has contributed to the reversal of a decision of the Mohawk Council to evict non-Native residents living on the reserve.

The Hamilton Spectator
The Code Red series combine journalistic and academic expertise to examine, diagnose and propose remedies for poverty in Hamilton. Code Red provided hard data for government and agencies to address problems of poverty and health, mobilized other agencies to help people in need and became a key issue in the municipal election. The series has received international attention and has been integrated into the curriculum of a number of university courses.

La Société Radio-Canada
Radio-Canada through news coverage and television program Découverte explores the pitfalls of rushing into of shale gas exploration and exploitation and the effects on the everyday life of the people in the Saint Lawrence Valley of Quebec. The thorough coverage put the spotlight on an important public issue and helped to promote a wide-scale public debate that lead to a government inquiry and the Quebec government tightening its control on the industry and adopting stricter conditions for new drilling.

The Vancouver Sun
The six-part series looks at inadequate safety standards following a series of fatal float-plane accidents in British Columbia. The stories detailed inexpensive safety improvements that could save lives. Reaction from the federal government was immediate and significant with the introduction of new safety measures including strengthening investigation and enforcement and the formation of a new industry association to address safety and other issues.

Judges for the 2010 Michener Award:
Kim Kierans (chair), Professor School of Journalism and Vice President University of King's College in Halifax and former CBC news reporter and editor; Kevin Crowley, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University and former business editor with the Waterloo Region Record; Allan Mayer, former editor-in-chief of the Edmonton Journal and former reporter with the Edmonton Sun and London Free Press; Claude Papineau, former Vice President for French Services of The Canadian Press and former Parliamentary Correspondent; Christopher Waddell, Director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University and former National Editor of The Globe and Mail and Parliamentary Bureau Chief for CBC Television News.

Judges for the 2011 Michener-Deacon Fellowship
Lindsay Crysler (chair), former managing editor of The Gazette, Montreal, former director, journalism department, Concordia University, Montreal; Clinton Archibald, associate professor, professor of public ethics, St. Paul University, Ottawa; Michael Goldbloom, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Bishops University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, and former publisher of The Gazette and the Toronto Star; Lynne Van Luven, associate professor of journalism and creative non-fiction, University of Victoria; Erin Steuter, chair of the sociology department, Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB. 

SOURCE Michener Awards Foundation

For further information:

Kim Kierans
(902) 422-1271 ext. 164

Web sites: 

Rideau Hall Press Office
(613)  998-0287


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