Michener Award finalists named

OTTAWA, April 29, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Michener Awards Foundation today announced the finalists for the 2015 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism.

The finalists are: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; The Canadian Press; The Globe and Mail; Société Radio-Canada's Enquête; The Telegraph Journal and; The Toronto Star.

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will host the Michener Awards ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 17 where the winner of the 2015 Michener Award will be announced and two Michener-Deacon Fellowships will be presented. The Fellowship winners will be announced in early May.

The Michener Award, founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then governor general, honours excellence in public-service journalism. The judges' decisions are heavily influenced by the degree of public benefit generated by the print, broadcast and online entries submitted for consideration.

The following entries are the 2015 finalists:

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Three news outlets are being recognized for their combined journalism contributions. Each outlet investigated and analysed data involving the more than 1,100 missing and murdered Indigenous women, bringing to light new information that helped to re-open cold cases and raise questions about the quality of police investigations and the prevalence of racism in communities. From an interactive database of unsolved cases to a thorough examination of national homicide and long-term missing person cases, their combined coverage reinforced the ongoing demands and need for accountability and action in these cases. Their extensive and continuing coverage has provided a forum for a national conversation and will inform the impending public inquiry.  

The Canadian Press: - The price of Winnipeg's water: One reserve's manmade misery and its journey toward a Freedom Road
The Canadian Press exposed the human cost of Winnipeg's water on the residents of Shoal Lake 40. While living close to the TransCanada highway in Manitoba, the indigenous community had no road access. CP explained how their isolation arose, the damage it was doing to the community and the continuing unwillingness of anyone to resolve the problem. The response was a crowd-funding campaign to build the road, and national support from churches, community groups and politicians. CP's continuing coverage forced the issue into last fall's federal election campaign. Freedom Road was one of the new government's first announcements after the fall 2015 federal election.

The Globe and Mail: St. Michael's Probes Executive After Role In Fraud Revealed
A Globe and Mail series into the tendering process for an expansion of Toronto's St Michael's Hospital found lack of due diligence and serious conflicts of interest between those responsible for awarding the contracts and the successful bidders. Further, it discovered the key official overseeing the process at St. Michael's had previously admitted to writing false invoices while serving as a senior official of Infrastructure Ontario, the provincial agency overseeing infrastructure spending. The Globe series led to dismissals and four forensic investigations at public agencies in the province. Follow-up stories discovered similar conflicts of interest and questionable spending practices in hospital construction projects in Markham and Ottawa.

Société Radio-Canada's Enquête: Abus de la SQ: les femmes brisent le silence
An investigation by Enquête into the disappearance of an indigenous woman from Val D'Or, Quebec took an unexpected turn when friends shared experiences of ongoing physical and sexual abuse at the hands of local Sûreté du Québec officers. For the first time these vulnerable and marginalized women broke their silence with graphic and detailed allegations that included bullying, beatings, and police officers paying for sex. Following the broadcast, the Quebec government ordered a police investigation that resulted in eight officers being suspended, named an independent observer, and committed $6 million to help aboriginal women in Val D'Or. Sûreté du Québec resumed its investigation into Sindy Ruperthouse's disappearance.

The Telegraph-Journal: Day care inspections
When the Telegraph-Journal requested inspection records for day care centres in Saint John, the New Brunswick government refused to release them. The newspaper persevered for more than a year before winning access. Inspection records showed the provincial regulator failed to adequately enforce cleanliness standards, safety practices and mandatory background checks on employees. The resulting stories prompted the province to hire more inspectors and improve enforcement practices. The Telegraph-Journal continued to find discrepancies between the province's published data and the inspection reports obtained through access to information. In response, the government has put detailed inspections for all licensed day-care inspections online.

The Toronto Star: Presumed Guilty
An investigation by the Toronto Star found that police keep and frequently release "non-conviction" records about citizens to employers, volunteer agencies, schools and other organizations that request a background check. As a result, innocent people see their careers, reputations and livelihoods needlessly damaged. The Toronto Star series used hard facts and evocative storytelling to show how this practice has unfairly harmed individuals. Begun in 2014, the series led to a clear and important change in 2015: the Ontario Legislature unanimously approved a new law that restricts and standardizes what police in Ontario can and cannot release in background checks.

Judges for the 2015 Michener Awards:
Kim Kierans (chair), Professor of the School of Journalism and Vice-President at 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; Claude Papineau, former Vice-President for French Services of The Canadian Press and former Parliamentary Correspondent; Christopher Waddell, Professor and former 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, and Mary Lynn Young, Associate Dean at UBC's Faculty of Arts, former director at UBC School of Journalism.

2015 Michener Awards
Recognizing outstanding and unbiased public service in journalism, the award is presented to news organizations rather than to individuals: newspapers, broadcasting stations and networks, news agencies, periodicals, magazines and online journalism sources.

Web sites:


SOURCE Michener Awards Foundation

For further information: Kim Kierans, (902) 422-1271 ext. 164, e-mail: kim.kierans@ukings.ca; Julie Rocheleau, Rideau Hall Press Office, (613) 998-7280, e-mail: julie.rocheleau@gg.ca


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