OTTAWA, June 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Postmedia and The Ottawa Citizen has won the 2012 Michener Award for detailed and sustained reporting that exposed the use of "robocalls" to mislead and harass voters during the 2011 federal election campaign, Russell Mills, President of the Michener Awards Foundation, announced today.
In a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, presented the coveted Michener Award trophy to Postmedia and The Ottawa Citizen. The media outlet was among six news organizations honoured at the ceremony. The Michener Award is presented annually for journalism that makes a significant impact on the public good.
The Governor General also presented the 2013 Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Journalism Education to Julie Ireton, a reporter with CBC News, Ottawa. She will develop a workshop on entrepreneurial journalism to assist students in schools of journalism across Canada to market their skills.
The 2013 Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Investigative Journalism was awarded to photojournalist Roger LeMoyne who will document the environmental and civic behaviour of Canadian mining companies in foreign countries.
During the Award ceremony, the Governor General honoured Bryan Cantley with the Michener-Baxter Special Award for his commitment and outstanding service to Canadian journalism and the newspaper industry. Before he retired, Mr. Cantley served for many years as vice president of the Canadian Newspaper Association. He is secretary of the National Newspaper Awards and executive director of the Commonwealth Journalists Association.
The Michener Award honoured Postmedia and The Ottawa Citizen for exemplary reporting into "robocalls" scandal during the 2011 federal election campaign. Extensive interviews, court records and other documents showed that the automated telephone calls seemed to target opposition voters in ridings across the country. The persistent coverage shed light on how technology can subvert our most fundamental democratic value: the right to vote in a fairly run election. The impact of this coverage has been resounding: Elections Canada is investigating a deluge of complaints about calls that sent voters to non-existent polling stations; the Federal Court has ruled that electoral fraud occurred in six ridings; and a PC campaign worker is facing charges.
Michener Citations of Merit were presented to:
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Société Radio-Canada's Enquête revealed links between asbestos industry funding and "independent" research that had downplayed the health risks of asbestos mining. The findings were used to support Ottawa's "safe use" policy of continued exports to Third World countries. This compelling series forced federal and provincial governments to act on a serious public health issue that has killed thousands across Canada and threatened the well-being of many more in Asia, and put an end to the 130 year history of asbestos mining in Canada.
The investigation by The Coast, an independent alternative weekly newspaper, revealed that Halifax's popular three-term mayor, Peter Kelly had taken more than $160,000 from an estate of which he was the executor. More than seven years after Mary Thibault's death, her heirs and designated charities had not received the bequests in her will. Following the revelations, Mayor Kelly announced that he would not seek a fourth term, which changed the focus of the municipal election campaign.
La Presse began its investigation into the shady business of miracle cures in Quebec after the death of a young woman who was wrapped in plastic film and enclosed in a box by a personal self-fulfillment guru. The multimedia inquiry tracked the tentacles of these so-called healers, exposed fraudulent financial accounting, and found that few of these gurus face prosecution. The series shocked the medical community and provincial government into action.
The Toronto Star turned the spotlight on the failure of Ontario's health and social policies to address the challenges faced by people with autism at different stages of life.
The comprehensive series looked at all facets of the issue - from groundbreaking scientific research to the severe shortage of services and funding, particularly for young adults. The autism project sparked an intense debate and put questions about policy and treatment squarely on the political agenda.
The Vancouver Sun investigated gaps in public safety after catastrophic explosions killed four people and injured another 42 workers at two northern B.C. sawmills. Stories revealed that wood dust was frequently involved in fires, but fire-code inspections were lax. The impact following these stories was swift, with both the B.C. government initiating an inspection and prevention program, and the companies promising action to increase safety at sawmills.
Judges for the 2012 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 2013 Michener-Deacon Fellowships:
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:
The Michener Awards Foundation
(613) 727-4723, Ext. 5179
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