Your Excellencies, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen;
As president of the Federation of Press Clubs of Canada, may I say it is with great pleasure that I and our organization take part in the presentation of these, the third annual Michener Awards for Journalism.
The Awards, of course, are in recognition of outstanding public service in journalism, and, Sir, I am happy to report that in their relatively brief history they are well on the way to becoming entrenched as among the very top awards in Canadian journalism. I’m sure you will share our satisfaction in this national acceptance, which is a tribute to the foresight displayed when talks between the Federation and yourself concerning this project began some four years ago.
This third competition covered projects completed during 1972. Judges for the competition were: Fraser MacDougall, retired Ottawa bureau chief of The Canadian Press and executive secretary of the Ontario Press Council; Yves Gagnon, director of communications at Laval University; Sam Ross of Vancouver, retired veteran radio news correspondent; and William Boss, director of public relations at the University of Ottawa.
Their unanimous decision was that there were two entries in the 1972 competition of absolutely equal merit. Since the award was designed to take into account the resources available to the entrants, I believe you will agree with me that it is fitting that the award for 1972 is shared by one of Canada’s larger newspapers – The Globe and Mail of Toronto – with one of the smaller – the Scotian Journalist, of Halifax.
The judges wrote, referring to the Scotian Journalist, a weekly newspaper; “The panel was impressed by the level of service that the entries indicated was being maintained by The Scotian Journalist and, in particular, by its reporting of the conditions under which women offenders had been incarcerated at the Interprovincial Home for Women (Cloverdale) at Moncton, New Brunswick. The Scotian Journalist made public a confidential official report on the situation and its coverage eventually led to the closing of the institution.”
The judges had this to say about The Globe and Mail entry: “The Globe and Mail through a brilliant succession of interpretive pieces disclosing blatant conflicts of interest on the part of politicians at the provincial and municipal levels, influenced the government of Ontario into promulgating regulations that moved Ontario to the forefront in this field among all the jurisdictions in Canada. Here was a classic case of a ‘biggie’ taking on the might by persistently digging for facts then publishing them in the best traditions of journalism as a bastion of democracy.”
Cited with honourable mentions in the 1972 competition on the grounds, as the judges reported, “that the publications had so fulfilled the conditions for the award, that lacking such distinguished competition they might have won,” were: Montreal’s La Presse, continuing its attention to the plight of patients in hospitals for the chronically ill, and The Windsor Star, which followed up an individual reader’s complaint to the extent of producing a news interpretation of legislation covering wards of Children’s Aid Societies.
May I express to you, Sir, the lasting appreciation of the Federation of Press Clubs of Canada for your inspiring interest and generous co-operation in the uniquely-Canadian enterprise which is the Michener Award for Journalism.
And now, Your Excellency, I would like to present the persons who will accept the 1972 Michener Award – Miss Debbie Sprague of The Scotian Journalist and Richard Doyle of The Globe and Mail.
President – The Federation of Press Clubs of Canada,
Government House ceremony for the presentation of the 1972 Michener Awards,
May 9, 1973.