Your excellencies, honoured guests, Michener finalists, mesdames et messieurs. On behalf of the directors of the Michener Awards Foundation, may I express our thanks to His Excellency for hosting this 20th presentation ceremony here in Rideau Hall. Il nous fait très grand plaisir, et fait honneur de même à la profession entière. We are very grateful, sir.
Over the 20 years, the recipients of the award have included a variety of organizations; some big, some small; some print, some broadcast; dailies, weeklies, a news service, a community paper; TV networks, a radio station; a TV station; operating in English and in French.
What makes it possible to compare the work of such diverse media is the Michener awards’ focus on public service – meritorious and disinterested public service through journalism. This focus and the high level of dedication that it demands have helped make the Michener award one of the most coveted awards in journalism. Winning it is evidence of careful and caring work in the public interest.
This concern for promoting public service journalism has also led to the introduction of four-month Michener study fellowships for mature journalists. The Foundation inaugurated this program in 1987 and has awarded five $20,000 fellowships since then, two involving French language journalists and three English. Their projects, designed to help increase their competence in journalism and their pursuit of public service, have studied such issues as a comparison of journalistic ethics in Canada and other industrial countries; developments in biotechnology and biochemistry; the development of weekly magazine supplements for newspapers; third-world issues, particularly those involving refugees and immigration; and abortion policy in Canada and some other countries.
I’m pleased that some of the generous donors who have supported the Michener Foundation and made this award and fellowship program possible are among the guests here this evening including the man who has been such an inspiration in the development of this program, the man in whose name the awards were established in 1970 – the Founding Patron, the Right Honourable Roland Michener, 90 years young exactly two months ago today.
President, Michener Awards Foundation
June 19, 1990