The finalists are: The Canadian Press, CTV News, The Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald (joint submission), The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and The Windsor Star.
His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will host the Michener Awards ceremony at Rideau Hall on June 11, when the winner of the 2013 Michener Award will be announced and two Michener-Deacon Fellowships will be presented. The Fellowship winners will be announced in mid-May.
The Michener Award, founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then governor-general, honours excellence in public-service journalism. The judges’ decisions are heavily influenced by the degree of public benefit generated by the print, broadcast and online entries submitted for consideration.
The following entries are the 2013 finalists:
The Canadian Press
In The Long March Home, a series stretching throughout 2013, the Canadian Press has detailed the challenges faced by Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan. The stories recount the problems they have faced getting the federal government and National Defence to live up to their commitments to Canada’s newest veterans. Whether it was mental health programs, pensions, support for the disabled or support for the burial of impoverished veterans, action consistently fell short of promises as the stories detailed. The national outcry about the series resulted in federal improvements to programs and increased financial support for veterans services.
CTV News broke many of the stories in the Senate expense scandal, including a secret $90,000 repayment scheme involving the Prime Minister’s Office. CTV regularly exposed new details about questionable expense claims submitted by Senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Mac Harb. CTV’s reporting contributed to significant action: investigations by the RCMP, the federal Ethics Commissioner, and a Senate committee; criminal charges against Brazeau and Harb; the suspension of three Senators — Brazeau, Wallin and Duffy — and the early retirement of Harb; the resignation of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright; and reforms to Senate expense reporting.
The Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald
The Fatal Care series revealed that 145 children died in foster care in Alberta over the last 14 years, almost three times more than the province had reported. The investigation exposed a byzantine and secretive death review system that is accountable to no one and laws that prevent parents from talking about their child’s death. The six-part series helped to get death records opened for public scrutiny, prompted a provincial roundtable on child welfare reform, and led to calls to introduce new legislation to restructure the child welfare system and update laws covering publication bans.
The Globe and Mail
Canadians were left wondering how a trainload of oil could cause so much death and destruction when it derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec last summer, killing 47 people. The Globe and Mail asked the same question, and in a comprehensive, four-month investigation discovered a rail shipment system in the U.S. and Canada marked by sloppy government regulation and industry complacency regarding the unusually explosive and corrosive oil sent from North Dakota east through populated areas. In response, a startled Canadian government said it would introduce stringent safety and testing measures for oil trains and declare crude oil a “highly dangerous substance”.
The Toronto Star
Despite public criticism, attacks from politicians and charges of engaging in a vendetta, the Toronto Star relentlessly pursued the city’s mayor Rob Ford, convinced that his private life was a public concern. The result was stories of public drunkenness, boorish behaviour, abuses of his office and the revelation that a video existed showing the mayor smoking crack cocaine in the company of members of drug gangs. Despite denials from the mayor, a police investigation substantiated the Star’s allegations. In shocked response city council stripped Ford of all but ceremonial powers.
The Windsor Star
The Windsor Star gave voice to a community that was fighting to keep a vital health care service. As part of a consolidation plan, Cancer Care Ontario directed Windsor hospitals to stop providing cancer-related thoracic surgery and to send their patients to a London facility two hours away. When the Windsor medical community resisted, Cancer Care Ontario threatened to withdraw funding for all cancer surgeries in the city. The Windsor Star’s persistent coverage highlighted inconsistencies and potential risks in the Cancer Care Ontario plan, and it galvanized a community-wide protest that caused the agency, and the provincial government, to reverse its decision.
Judges for the 2013 Michener Awards
- Kim Kierans (chair), Professor School of Journalism and Vice-President University of King’s College, Halifax and former CBC news reporter and editor
- Kevin Crowley, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University and former Business Editor with the Waterloo Region Record
- Allan Mayer, former editor-in-chief of the Edmonton Journal and former reporter with the Edmonton Sun and London Free Press
- Claude Papineau, former Vice-President for French Services of The Canadian Press and former Parliamentary Correspondent
- Christopher Waddell, Director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, former National Editor of The Globe and Mail, and Parliamentary Bureau Chief for CBC Television News.
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