The Federation of Press Clubs of Canada/La Fédération des Cercles des Journalistes du Canada was first proposed in June of 1967. Preliminary meetings were held and the organization was officially founded at a meeting in Kitchener in October of 1968. The second annual meeting is to be held in Hamilton in October of 1969.
The Federation is an organization of Canadian press clubs and its main purpose is to assist the member clubs, through co-operation, to meet their professional and administrative objectives. At the moment, membership consists of press clubs in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Thunder Bay, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.
Officers for 1968-69 are: President, William MacPherson National Press Club of Canada, Ottawa; Vice-president, Angus Macdonald, Moncton Press Club; Secretary-Treasurer, Barry Mather, M.P., Newsmen’s Club of British Columbia, Vancouver.
From the earliest discussions there was general agreement that the Federation should take initiatives in the field of journalism awards, and it is in this context that we are respectfully requesting consideration for the establishment of a Governor General’s Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism.
The Toronto Men’s Press Club has, through its National Newspaper Awards program, a long-established record of recognizing outstanding individual efforts in journalism. There is, however, no national award to recognize such effort by a Canadian publication or broadcasting station.
Our suggestion is that His Excellency consider lending his name to just such an award. It would be awarded annually – providing it is merited – to the publication or broadcasting medium judged to have performed the most outstanding job of public service in the preceding year. Eligible would be newspapers, daily or weekly; news agencies; magazines; and radio and television stations and networks.
Broadly speaking, the award would be similar to the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in the United States (although this prize is restricted to newspapers). This prize is a gold medal which is given annually “for distinguished example of a newspaper’s use of its journalistic resources, which may include editorials, cartoons and photographs as well as reporting, in accomplishing a disinterested and meritorious public service.”
Our thought is that the judges of the competition would take into account the resources available to the entrant. Just as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for example, would be eligible to enter for some great national achievement, so should a small weekly newspaper that stretches its resources to the limit to achieve perhaps a modest but important community improvement.
Each entrant would be expected to submit a full description of the project for which it seeks recognition with appropriate supporting evidence such as clippings, tapes, etc. The judges would also welcome documentation from independent and disinterested parties testifying to the nature of the public service performed.
Entries would be confined to each calendar year. Deadline for entries might be February 15th with judging completed by March 31st. The award might be conferred at Government House sometime in April.
The competition would be under the auspices of the Federation, which would handle arrangements for publicity, the distribution of entry forms, the judges and so forth.
We would suggest that appropriate judges might include the president of The Canadian Press, the President of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, and the heads of the Schools of Journalism at the University of Western Ontario and Carleton University (the only two degree-granting schools in Canada). It would also be worth considering the possibility of naming a distinguished Canadian from outside the field of journalism to the judging panel, perhaps as chairman.
If this proposal appears to be feasible, the objective would be to have all necessary details worked out so that the first award would be for the calendar year of 1969.
President – Federation of Press Clubs