Tonight, in a virtual ceremony that showcased the journalistic excellence of six incredible finalists, APTN was announced as the winner of the 2020 Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism for its stunning series, Death by Neglect. It is a stark and haunting investigation that delves into a First Nations child-welfare system in which three sisters took their own lives.
“APTN’s Kenneth Jackson and Cullen Crozier’s work was dogged and thorough, and their sources spoke truth to power with great courage, putting their jobs, community status and even their homes on the line,” said Pierre-Paul Noreau, President of the Michener Awards Foundation. “The changes that came from this series were profound. Within weeks of APTN’s broadcasts, several investigations were launched into individual cases; several families were reunited; new funding was announced for on-reserve child welfare; and a pandemic moratorium was imposed on Ontario youths aging out of care. And, while this humanitarian crisis continues unabated, it is this kind of wide-ranging impact that makes this series undeniably Michener-worthy.”
Closing out its 50th anniversary year, the Michener Award was founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then governor general, to honour excellence in public service journalism. The Michener Award submissions are judged by an expert panel of journalists who have worked in media outlets and in academia across the country.
In a video summarizing this challenging pandemic year for finalists and journalists across the country, Chief Judge Margo Goodhand, said “Canadian journalists were on the front lines reporting on stark divisions over lockdowns, masks and vaccines; tracking overwhelmed nursing homes and ICUs, delivering the news amidst a virus that shuttered their own workplaces and threatened their own loved ones just like everybody else. It’s a time we hope to never experience again. But on behalf of the Michener Awards, I’d just like to say we see you, and we value your work.”
The following finalists were awarded a certificate of merit:
- CBC News — Inside Rideau Hall
- The Globe and Mail — Silenced
- Montreal Gazette — The Dorval seniors’ home
- La Presse — The Other Epidemic: sexual exploitation of kids on the internet
- The Winnipeg Free Press — A Stain on Our Game
In April, the Michener Awards Foundation also announced the recipients of the new Michener-L. Richard O’Hagan Educational Fellowship and the Michener-Deacon Investigative Fellowship. Each of the 2021 fellowships is worth $40,000 plus $5,000 in expenses.
The Michener Awards Foundation announced its Michener-Deacon Fellowship has been awarded to Ethan Cox and Erin Seatter, who will lead a Ricochet team investigation into police misconduct in Canada; and the Michener-L. Richard O’Hagan Fellowship goes to Allison Baker and Viviane Fairbank for a fact-checking project called In Defence of Truth.
Thank you to the Michener Award Judges:
- Chief judge Margo Goodhand: former editor of the Winnipeg Free Press and the Edmonton Journal
- Pierre Tourangeau: former ombudsman and news director of Radio-Canada
- Sally Reardon: former senior CBC-TV news producer
- Katherine Sedgwick: journalism professor at Loyalist College and former deputy editor of Montreal Gazette
- Pierre Asselin: former editorialist for Le Soleil
- Mary McGuire: journalism professor at Carleton University
About the Michener Awards
The Michener Awards honour, celebrate, and promote excellence in Canadian public service journalism. Established in 1970 by the late Right Honourable Roland Michener, Governor General of Canada from 1967 to 1974, the Michener Awards are Canada’s premier journalism award. This year marks the 50th anniversary of this prestigious prize. The Michener Awards Foundation’s voluntary Board of Directors administers the award, in partnership with the Rideau Hall Foundation. Learn more at www.MichenerAwards.ca.
For further information:
Margo Goodhand; Chief Judge, Michener Awards