By Margo Goodhand
Vice-President and Chief Judge, Michener Awards Foundation
One of the most frequent questions we receive from news outlets submitting to the Michener Awards is: What are you looking for when you say “supporting evidence is required, including testimonials from independent and disinterested sources”?
The Michener Award is judged on many things, but a true Michener-worthy submission makes significant change — to a law, to a community, to public opinion. So when we ask for testimonials, we are looking for third-party confirmation of the impact of your work.
While they are not required, testimonials can sometimes offer insights into the impact of a story that the news organization cannot provide.
Examples include: a letter from a city councillor, Member of Parliament, or CEO; letters to the editor; or even a series of Tweets if they come from someone who is credible and informed.
We encourage testimonials because they add weight to your claims that you have made an impact in some way. They help the judges put your work into perspective. Excerpts from testimonials are sometimes used in our public citations, should your entry be selected as a finalist.
One caveat: Judges are not looking for vague hyperbole, like “This story was great,” or “I loved this project.” Testimonials must point to significant and measurable change.
While there is no word limit on supporting evidence, we kindly ask that you not overload the judges with extraneous material. We receive a significant volume of large submissions, and judges get cranky if you waste their time.
Last but not least — congratulations on having a Michener-worthy submission this year, that’s already a huge achievement. Best of luck!