Ottawa, April 20, 2023 – The Michener Awards Foundation, which celebrates the best in public service journalism, today announced its 2023 Michener-L. Richard O’Hagan Fellowship goes to Sarah Trick and Alanna King to create a new media style guide on disabilities. The Michener-Deacon fellowship for investigative reporting is awarded this year to Molly Thomas for her investigative project on education in Afghanistan.
The fellowship is worth $40,000 plus $5,000 in expenses.
The Michener-Richard O’Hagan educational fellowship is awarded to Sarah Trick and Alanna King of TVO and Carleton University to create a new style guide for the Canadian news and media landscape: A guide to help journalists and journalism students cover disabilities thoughtfully, accurately and with nuance.
The Michener jury felt that disability is often an unseen factor, despite the fact that Statistic Canada estimates one in five Canadians have a disability. In their project description, Trick and King wrote that: “Journalists are not and should not be activists, but they do have the responsibility to accurately reflect the communities they cover and live in.” Their guide will be easily accessible and easily updated as it will be in a digital format.
Sarah Trick, the lead journalist on this project, is a multiply-disabled, neurodivergent digital media producer at TVO. She received her Master of Journalism from Carleton in 2016, and her work has appeared in The Walrus, CBC and TVO. Alanna King brings her rich teaching and instructional designer experience to the project. She is also employed at TVO.
Ms. Thomas’ project focuses on access to education for Afghan women and girls. Canada invested vast amounts of money and resources in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014, paving the way for Afghan females to go to school. But it has been almost two years since most girls in Afghanistan have been out of the classroom. Ms. Thomas wants to understand the Taliban’s current approach on education and what their plans are for the future. The Michener jury felt strongly that Thomas’ project could highlight the complexities of the ban and raise the difficult question of whether this situation still ought to concern us as Canadians.
The Michener fellowship recipients are traditionally honoured at an annual ceremony at Rideau Hall, hosted by the Governor General of Canada, which ultimately unveils the winner of the prestigious Michener Award for public service journalism in Canada.
This year, after two years of virtual ceremonies due to the global pandemic, the ceremony will be held live at Rideau Hall on June 16, 2023 (date subject to change based on the Governor General’s special responsibilities). At this event hosted by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon Governor General of Canada, all of the Michener Award finalists and winners of the 2021 and 2022 will be celebrated, along with our 2022 and 2023 fellowship recipients.
Finalists for the 2021 Michener Award, announced last fall, were: Global News on military sexual misconduct; Kamloops This Week on municipal spending; CBC Saskatoon and The Globe and Mail on residential schools; CBC News on Peter Nygard; The Globe and Mail on eating disorders in amateur athletics; CBC Saskatchewan on academia and identity.
The finalists for the 2022 Michener Award will be announced later this month.
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 Michener-Deacon Investigative Journalism fellowship is supported by the Michener Awards Foundation and the family of the late Paul S. Deacon. It allows a journalist to devote up to four months for a reporting project. Applicants are required to undertake a project that aspires to the criteria of the annual Michener Award for journalism with its emphasis on making an impact for the public good.
The Michener – L. Richard O’Hagan Fellowship for Journalism Education, supported by BMO Financial Group, is dedicated to the advancement and enrichment of the education of Canadian journalists and journalism students. It is named for the late L. Richard O’Hagan, distinguished press secretary to Prime Ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau and longtime senior vice-president at Bank of Montreal. He began his career as a reporter at the former Toronto Telegram. Winning projects are designed to expand the knowledge of newsroom products, processes and practices.
Judges for the 2023 Michener Fellowships:
– Geneviève Rossier (Chair), Directrice générale, CN2I;
– Maxime Bertrand, Director, Community Relations and Journalistic Standards, Radio-Canada;
– Raymond Brassard, former Executive Editor of the Montreal Gazette and Editorial Consultant at the National Newspaper Awards;
– Vivian Smith, PhD, Editorial consultant, former Globe and Mail journalist and university journalism instructor, author of Outsiders Still (U of T Press).