Your Excellencies, honoured guests , Michener finalists , Mesdames et Messieurs.
It’s a great pleasure and honour to chair tonight’s presentation ceremony. As those of you who have been here for earlier presentations of these awards will realize, the format tonight is somewhat different. We’re having the presentations first and dinner afterward.
So that I don’t keep you from your dinner and the finalists from their prizes, I’ll be brief. On another occasion, in another place, one might wonder if the anticipation might be better than the realization, but not here and not now. All the finalists will win a recognition of real consequence, regardless of whether they receive the Michener award or a certificate of merit. Just being a finalist and being here tonight is an honour.
As for the dinner, we all know we’ll enjoy that, and we greatly appreciate Her Excellency’s making this whole occasion possible.
I’d like to bring you up to date on the Michener Awards Foundation, which was established in 1982 to perpetuate the annual Michener Award first presented 15 years ago. This award, started by the Right Honourable Roland Michener when he was Governor General, is focused on meritorious and disinterested public service in journalism. Its test of merit is, did the articles or broadcasts benefit society? And the judges are instructed to take account of the resources available to each entrant, so a small weekly or broadcasting station has as much chance at the award as the country’s biggest media organizations.
In addition, the Foundation has an educational function, designed to foster journalism of high quality and service to the community. To this end, for the third year, the Foundation is sponsoring a seminar on Monday at Carleton University at which journalism students and faculty will have an opportunity of learning first hand from the finalists how they went about producing the fine work that gained them a chance at the award. Videotapes of this session will be sent to other journalism schools across the country.
At today’s meeting of the Awards Foundation, board members were brought up to date on the fund-raising campaign, just begun, to finance this activity and eventually broaden it. We’re encouraged by the response so far.
I would like to take a moment to voice some thanks – to their Excellencies for their support of this work, and their gracious hosting of this marvellous occasion; to Mr. Michener for the personal interest he has taken in the work of the Foundation financially and in so many other ways; to the National Press Club, represented tonight by its president Ken Pole and other members of its executive – the National Press Club regularly provides the Foundation’s board with a room for its deliberations and a lunch for its stomachs, and just recently a substantial cheque for its campaign; to Fraser MacDougall and his panel of judges, who put many hours of hard work into selecting the finalists and the winners; to the finalists and their organizations for helping the cause of public service in journalism; to Mr. Paddy Sherman, publisher of the Ottawa Citizen, for the Sunday luncheon he hosts at the National Arts Centre for the finalists; to Stuart Adam, Director of the School of Journalism at Carleton University, for his help in organizing the annual seminar.
And now I would like to call on a very special person, the Founding Patron of the Michener Awards Foundation, the Right Honourable Roland Michener:
Thank you, Mr. Michener. Your contribution has been enormous and we’re grateful also that your successors as Governor General have continued the tradition of these presentation dinners at Government House.
Michener Awards Foundation
Rideau Hall, Ottawa
November 16, 1985