Ottawa Citizen reporter Chris Cobb is the recipient of the 2007 Michener-Deacon Fellowship. Governor General Michaëlle Jean made the presentation during the annual Michener Award ceremony held at Government House in Ottawa, June 8, 2007.
Mr. Cobb will use the fellowship to research and write about the 1997 Mine Ban treaty, how it evolved, what impact it is having across the globe and why Canada’s leadership and interest appear to have waned. He will examine the progress of clearance programs in affected nations and describe how land- mines continue to be a threat. His goal is to write a book or a major publishable report in time for the 10th anniversary, in December 2007, of the signing in Ottawa of the international Landmines Treaty. The signing of the treaty has been recognized as a major Canadian diplomatic achievement.
Mr. Cobb visited Mozambique last summer, a country in which 23 people were killed and 34 more were injured by landmines in 2006. While there, he observed a landmine clearing project that used African pouched rats, some the size of small dogs, to detect mines. He wrote about the project in an article published in the Citizen last November. Upon returning to Canada, Mr. Cobb decided he wanted to explore the topic of landmines in greater depth. The fellowship, introduced in 1987, will provide Mr. Cobb with $25,000 and a four-month study-leave to pursue his project on the use and clearance of the estimated 100 million landmines in more than 70 countries around the world. (Update: Chris Cobb fellowship report)
Chris Cobb is a senior feature writer and reporter for the Ottawa Citizen. He specializes in development issues, media and government/political communications strategies. His recent work includes feature series on AIDS in Africa, landmines in Mozambique, and coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico.
He is president of the Canadian branch of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, an organization dedicated to nurturing journalism in developing commonwealth countries. He is also the author of Ego and Ink, the story of the founding of the National Post and the subsequent national newspaper war.
Judges for the 2007 Michener-Deacon Fellowship:
Lindsay Crysler (chair), former managing editor of The Gazette, Montreal; former director journalism department, Concordia University, Montreal; Clinton Archibald, professor of public ethics, St. Paul University, Ottawa; Claire Helman, former filmmaker, National Film Board, former public affairs broadcaster, CBC Radio, Montreal; Donna Logan, former managing editor, CBC National News, former program director and vice-president, CBC Radio, Director of School of Journalism, University of British Columbia; Shirley Sharzer, former senior journalist, The Toronto Telegram, The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, former faculty member University of Western Ontario Journalism School.
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. It is named after the late Roland Michener, a former Governor General, and the late Paul Deacon, a senior media executive and Michener Foundation President.