Ottawa, April 20, 2012 – The Michener Awards Foundation today announced six finalists for the 2011 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism.
The finalists are: the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (Vancouver); The Globe and Mail; La Presse; the Times Colonist (Victoria); the Toronto Star; and The Windsor Star.
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will host the Michener Awards ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 12 where the winner of the 2011 Michener Award will be announced and the two Michener-Deacon Fellowships will be presented. The winners will be announced on May 10.
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 and broadcast entries submitted for consideration.
The following entries are the 2011 finalists:
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
CBC Vancouver exposed a toxic and long-standing environment of systemic sexual harassment of women within one of the country’s most treasured institutions. By securing the trust of female RCMP officers, CBC produced a compelling series that achieved swift and meaningful results: an investigation by the Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, a pledge by the federal Public Safety Minister to conduct his own sweeping investigation, and a promise by the new Commissioner of the RCMP to make harassment issues his first priority.
The Globe and Mail:
The Globe and Mail achieved clear results with its investigation into Ontario government policies for funding cancer drugs for patients. The newspaper’s dogged and exemplary reporting exposed flaws and confusion within existing policies concerning the funding of Herceptin, an expensive drug to treat breast cancer. As a result, the province changed its funding policy for the drug, created a new evidence-building program designed to improve decision-making about when to pay for certain cancer treatments, and directed Cancer Care Ontario to review its guidelines for approving new drugs.
It was only when investigative reporters at La Presse revealed the findings of two secret engineering reports that readers discovered that the Champlain Bridge in Montreal, the most heavily travelled span in Canada, was falling apart and in desperate need of replacement. La Presse shed light on an urgent public safety problem that had not previously been revealed to the public. The coverage had a resounding impact: it sparked an intense public debate and became an important issue in the federal election campaign and in October the federal government promised to build a new bridge by 2021.
The Times Colonist in Victoria used its resources and expertise to expose a stealth policy by the B.C. government that forced people with developmental disabilities to move from group homes to cheaper accommodation. The newspaper’s sustained campaign – featuring many personal stories of developmentally disabled individuals and their families struggling with government cutbacks – spoke for the powerless and the voiceless. The coverage forced the province to change course and commit $40 million to improve services, demote the minister of social development and announce policy changes. As well, the CEO of Community Living BC resigned and an internal audit of its operations were ordered.
The Toronto Star:
The Toronto Star took readers into the heart of an unaccountable and arrogant non-profit agency that runs Ontario’s air ambulance service, known as ORNGE. Stories revealed a stunning lack of government oversight at a critical public service where senior managers benefitted over those people the air ambulance service was supposed to help. The Star’s tenacious reporting led to the removal of ORNGE’s management and board. Air response for patients has been improved and a new accountability structure put in place. The provincial auditor general expanded his probe into activities at ORNGE and a criminal investigation is underway.
The Windsor Star:
The Windsor Star showed courage and determination in exposing a web of brutality and deceit within the Windsor Police Service. The shocking beating of a local doctor by a Windsor detective led the newspaper to court documents and to uncover more incidents that validated a disturbing pattern of violence against innocent civilians, unethical behavior, and cover-ups within the police service over a number of years. The stories led to the resignation of the police chief, an investigation by the Ontario Office of the Independent Police Review Director, and an overhaul of the Windsor Police Service’s integrity and ethics policies.
Judges for the 2011 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.
(902) 422-1271 ext. 164
Rideau Hall Press Office