Ottawa, Thursday, November 16, 1989. The Globe and Mail was the winner of the 1988 Michener Award for excellence in Canadian journalism. The award was presented at a ceremony, Rideau Hall, hosted by the Governor General of Canada, the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé. News editor Paul Palango accepted the award on behalf of The Globe and Mail. There were seven finalists selected from the 32 entries representing news media across the country including CJOH-TV in Ottawa which was runner-up and received honourable mention.
The judges reported that the quality of entries once again showed remarkable improvement over previous years, complicating the selection task in which they took into account the nature of the particular public service involved and the resources available to each entrant. During her address to assembled guests, the Governor General said that to ultimately gain and enjoy the public trust, news organization must always strive for excellence. (the full text)
The Globe and Mail received the award for three investigative reports which were treated as a single entry by the judges. They were:
(1) ‘Behind the Boom, The Story of York Region’, an eight-part series 10 months in the making and the newspaper’s most expensive investigative project that told how a small group of developers gained control over most of the region’s development industry. Investigative reporter Jock Ferguson and researcher Dawn King exposed hidden relationships between land developers, municipal politicians and key officials in York Region, Canada’s fastest growing municipality, located north of Toronto. There was evidence of conflict of interest, breach of trust, and corruption. The facts went unchallenged and the series resulted in police investigations and provincial government reviews of legislation involved.
(2) ‘Entrepreneurial Immigration‘ examined the federal government’s policy of encouraging business immigrants to come to Canada and turned up shortcomings reflected in a headline “Loophole routes to Canada paved with Hong Kong gold.” The story by reporter Victor Malarek illustrated that the project, far from being a success as the government had claimed, actually failed badly.
(3) ‘Ontario Boxing Scandal‘ disclosed that Ontario’s athletic commissioner and former championship boxer Clyde Gray was not carrying out his duties properly and that he ignored rules aimed at making the sport safe for contestants. More than 40 unlicensed boxers were permitted to fight in Ontario along with 52 others with records that should have resulted in suspensions. The series of stories by Stephen Brunt lead to a government inquiry and transfer of the commissioner to another post.
1989 Michener-Deacon Fellowship:
The Michener Awards Foundation announced that broadcast journalist Kristina von Hlatky was the recipient of the 1989 Michener study-leave Fellowship. She has been a contract producer for Radio Canada’s public affairs program ‘Le Point’ for six years and for other broadcasting outlets as well. Her productions have covered a wide range of subject matter and in both official languages. Ms von Hlatky plans to use the fellowship to study differing attitudes to the abortion issue with attention to public policies developed in Sweden, France, the United States and Canada. Her study will include attendance at courses on abortion given by nurses and physicians and she intends to produce three articles on the themes studied; the background, the psychological aspects, and public opinion as reflected in pro-life and pro-choice meetings and demonstrations. A scenario for a one-hour television program is also planned. Ms von Hlatky was introduced to Governor General Sauvé by the President of the Michener Awards Foundation, Paul Deacon. (full text)
CJOH-TV was given honourable mention for initiating, producing, and assembling a gripping program called ‘Second Chance‘ aimed at increasing public awareness of the vital need for organ transplants. It attracted 152,000 viewers in Ottawa, far more than the station’s normal audience in the early evening time slot in which it was shown.
The venture had a unique aspect in that 12 other CTV stations contributed segments for the program and aired it as well. The format permitted individual stations to change the order of presentation to emphasize aspects of special interest to their viewers. CJOH-TV managed the production and assembled the program. Its manager, Al Mackay, served as executive producer and accepted the award on behalf of the Ottawa TV station.
Five Citations of merit in the 1988 competition were awarded to:
Calgary Herald, for publishing ‘Sweat and Tears‘, a special report that revealed shocking practices in the employment of immigrant workers in Alberta. In her six ‘weeks of painstaking research on the immigrant story, labour reporter Lorraine Locherty talked to workers in shopping malls and manufacturing plants, interviewed dozens of refugees and immigrants, social workers, labour leader and many others. In addition, she obtained confidential labour department policy documents containing information on the government’s attitude on labour law enforcement. Publication of her report led to prompt action by provincial authorities including a government review of the province’s labour standards act and other legislation. Ms Locherty accepted the Citation on behalf of the Calgary Herald.
Rock 103 (CJMO-FM) Moncton, for mounting a successful campaign against “user” fees the New Brunswick government imposed on cancer patients coming from other areas outside of Saint John, site of the only treatment clinic in the province. On June 20 the station opened its attack on the daily charges of $15 for meals and $15 for accommodation. Within days of the campaign launch, the government discontinued user fees including charges for all meals and accommodation. News director Gerry Proctor accepted the Citation of Merit on behalf of the radio station.
Moosomin World-Spectator, for effectively alerting the public in this small southeastern Saskatchewan town to the Drug and Alcohol Abuse problem by initiating an open forum to deal with the issue and its impact on their community. The discussion on the topic involved participants from the church, RCMP and schools, among other organizations. The initiative called for a remarkable effort by the weekly community newspaper and its only reporter who organized the forum and prepared the text for a six-part series published in six consecutive issues. Bruce Penton, publisher of the World-Spectator, accepted the Citation on behalf of the newspaper.
Vancouver Sun, for three related series on the changing face of Canada that gave its readers a better understanding and a balanced view of the complex subject of refugees; of the problems in the Punjab, homeland of the Sikhs; and of life in Canada for new immigrants. In ‘A Passport and a Prayer, and in anticipation of government plans to change Canada’s refugee policies, the Sun assigned reporter Kevin Griffin to describe how the new bill would affect the governmental process and the people seeking to enter Canada as refugees. In ‘Canada and the Sikhs’, Sun reporter Kim Bolan and photographer Bill Keay spent 18 days in the Punjab examining that troubled part of India where Sikh’s make up 90% of India’s immigrants to Canada. A team of reporters, editors and photographers, in ‘Faces of Immigration‘, spent several months gathering information for a seven-part series that put Canada’s immigration laws under the microscope. Scott Macrae accepted the Citation on behalf of the Sun.
Winnipeg Free Press, for ‘Strangers in Their Own Land‘, a compelling study of the problems of Indians in Manitoba and the despair, rather than hope, facing Canada’s native people in the future. The study was described in detail in a 24-page supplement distributed with one issue of the daily newspaper. Writers, Pauline Comeau and Aldo Santin, joined later by photographer Wayne Glowacki, found solid evidence that Indians in the province have made no progress at all in the last 20 years. Instead, they have fallen behind, despite government spending. Arthur Wood, publisher, accepted the Citation of Merit from Governor General Jeanne Sauvé on behalf of the Free Press.
Judges for the 1988 Michener Award:
Fraser MacDougall, retired, Canadian Press and Ontario Press council, and chair of judging panel; Bill Boss, Bedford Mills, Ontario; Pierre Lemieux, CPR Public Affairs, Montreal; Gail Scott, journalism, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, Toronto; Hon. Mitchell Sharp, former federal cabinet minister; and Graham Trotter, Edmonton, retired.
Judges for the 1989 Michener Fellowship:
Senator Richard Doyle, former editor-in-chief of the Toronto Globe and Mail and chairman of the judging committee; George Bain, columnist and journalism teacher; Lise Bissonette, Quebec writer and editor; John Miller, head of journalism at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto; and Ted Chapman, retired Calgary broadcaster who lives in Vancouver.
The Michener-Deacon Fellowship is named after the late Roland Michener, a former Governor General, and the late Paul Deacon, a senior media executive and Michener Foundation President. The Michener-Deacon fellowship is awarded annually to a deserving recipient and helps to advance education in the field of journalism and serves the public interest through the promotion of values that benefit the community.