Ottawa, June 6, 1975 – The Montreal Gazette was the recipient of the 1974 Michener Award for a comprehensive examination of real estate development in Montreal. Governor General Jules Léger made the presentation during a ceremony at Government House in Ottawa and reporter Donna Gabeline accepted the award on behalf of the newspaper. The Cape Breton Post and the London Free Press received honourable mention. This is the 5th year of the award program since its inception in 1970.
The winning series was entitled “Montreal at the Crossroads”. Award judges described the Gazette’s 13 part series of articles as “a thorough, detailed account of the problems relating to downtown development, ranging through every aspect of the process of rebuilding…to enhance Montreal’s reputation as a humane city. Visionary as well as realistic, it embraced all aspects of society and of activities”. There was evidence the series had an impact on the 1974 civic election in Montreal. The articles were written by Donna Gabeline, Gordon Pape, and Dane Lanken and formed the basis for a book and a follow-up series in The Gazette.
Cape Breton Post, Sydney, N.S., for a campaign that combined investigative reporting and editorial prodding to force an environmental assessment of a Nova Scotia Power Corporation project.
The London Free Press, for a story on conditions at the Dearness Home for the Aged in London which touched off a province-wide investigation into senior citizen retirement facilities.
Judges for the 1974 Michener Award:
Fraser MacDougall, chair of the judging panel, former Canadian Press executive and now executive secretary of the Ontario Press Council; Yves Jasmin, assistant secretary general of Communications at the National Museum of Canada; Bill Boss, director of public relations at the University of Ottawa; and Sam Ross, retired radio news correspondent, Vancouver.
The distinction between this and other media awards is primarily the emphasis on the degree of arms-length public benefit that is generated. Journalistic excellence alone is not enough. Other criteria include the resources available to the news organizations, applicants.