Ottawa, October 6, 1978 – The Globe and Mail has won the 1977 Michener Award for stories and editorials aimed at reforming child protection laws. It is the first time the award has been given for this theme and the second time the newspaper has won the award since it was established in1970. His Excellency Jules Léger made the presentation during a ceremony at Government House in Ottawa. Accepting the award on behalf of The Globe was Roy Megarry, the newspaper’s publisher.
The Globe was honoured for its year-long concentration of efforts aimed at reform in the area of protection for children. In 1977, the newspaper published 70 separate news stories or features and 16 editorials dealing with child abuse, child pornography, child molesting, residential treatment centres for troubled children, family court, violence in the family, and children’s aid societies.
The judges noted that The Globe and Mail’s unwavering pursuit of its aims disclosed shortcomings in provincial and federal legislation and in the involvement of both levels of government in the protection of children. The series brought about proposals for legislative changes and of official inquiries into some situations. Globe editor, Richard Doyle said the basis of the newspaper’s entry was a “year-round concentration of effort to bring about reform in an area that had been long neglected – perhaps because neither the writers nor readers wanted to believe what was eventually established as truth”
The editorials were written by Oakland Ross and Jean Howarth, and the articles by Barbara Yaffe, Rosemarie Boyle, James Jefferson, Peggy McCallum and Oakland Ross.
William MacPherson, chairman of the Press Club Canada Michener Award Committee thanked the Governor General for the ‘unflagging interest in and support of the Award and said the level of excellence for this year’s entries was extremely high. (full text)
Honourable Mention: CBC-TV, for a two-part program called “Connections”; An Investigation into Organized Crime in Canada. Each segment ran 90 minutes. The judges found that the network performed a valuable service by alerting Canadians to the threat organized crime posed for society in Canada, and to the way it had already spread into many parts of the country.
Two and a half years in the making, the program presented a graphic picture of the growth of organized crime in three Canadian cities – Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. It described links between all three and crime organizations in the United States. Through interviews, many with crime figures, it disclosed how the organizations flourish and prosper. (A short film consisting of excerpts from CBC’s program was provided for guests at the ceremony)
Three other news organizations were cited for unusual merit:
CHCM Marystown, Nfld. (population about 6,000) for persisting in a campaign, despite rebuffs and disappointments, to have the ministry of transport set up a formal inquiry into the disappearance in August of the fishing boat Cape Royal with a loss of eight lives. Three times in the course of its prodding, the radio station received identical telegrams from an executive assistant to Transport Minister Lang, each saying he was bringing the matter to the minister’s attention.
The Kingston Whig-Standard for a 15-part series by medical reporter Sylvia Wright on the health hazards in food. Her painstaking study commanded front-page play daily during the first three weeks of September. Reacting to overwhelming response, The Whig-Standard published the articles in booklet form and sold more than 2,000 copies in the first week they were available, at $2 apiece.
CTV Reports for an inquiry program, The Failing Strategy, carried on the CTV network Dec.11 The program examined the use of chemicals in food production in Canada, disclosing that they may affect the milk of nursing mothers and that government agencies are not well equipped for coping with possible hazards. The program sparked reaction right across the country reflected in newspaper coverage of its content and of comments about it.
Judges for the 1977 Michener Award:
Emery LeBlanc, former editor of L’Evangeline and former director of public relations for Via Rail; Fraser MacDougall, former Canadian Press who now is executive secretary of the Ontario Press Council; Bill Boss, former director of public relations at the University of Ottawa; and William Metcalfe, former managing editor of Winnipeg Free Press and Ottawa Journal.
The Michener Award, founded in 1970 by the late Right Honourable Roland Michener, then Governor General, goes to a news organization. The judges’ decisions are heavily influenced by the degree of public benefit generated by the print and broadcast projects submitted for consideration.