2008 Michener Award finalists announced

Six finalists for the 2008 Michener Award for public
service journalism have been announced.

The finalists are: a joint entry from the CBC and The Canadian Press; Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe; The
Globe and Mail
; The Hamilton Spectator; the Toronto Star; and the
Winnipeg Free Press.

In addition, the Michener Awards Foundation judges selected Ed Struzik, a senior writer at the Edmonton Journal, as winner of the 2009 Michener-Deacon Fellowship. Struzik was chosen for his proposal for a project on Arctic Sovereignty.

The awards ceremony, hosted by Governor General Michaëlle Jean, will take place on June 10 at Rideau Hall.

Here is a listing of the 2008 finalists as listed on the Michener Award Foundation website:

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The Canadian Press:

The two news organizations teamed up to undertake a multimedia analysis of Taser stun guns and particularly their use by the RCMP. They collaborated on data analysis, identification of vital trends, interviews and preparation of stories for newspapers, websites, radio and television. A scientific analysis by CBC/Radio Canada found that more than 10 per cent of Taser units tested were either defective with some discharging significantly more electrical current than the manufacturer’s standard.

Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe:

An 18-month investigation by the weekly newspaper resulted in the publication of a shocking report of misuse of public funds, illegal political contributions, non-approved and non-verified expense allowances and suspicious international missions by the CEGEP of Saint-Hyacinthe. The investigation triggered an investigation by the Auditor General of Quebec and recommendations for improved governance at CEGEPs.

The Globe and Mail:

A six-month investigation of Canada’s 911 system for handling telephone emergency calls found that outdated technology was being used in Canada while industry and regulators dragged their feet on changes. After the investigation the federal government ordered a nation-wide update of the country’s emergency phone system, including technology to locate 911 calls from cell phones.

The Hamilton Spectator:

Following an extended outbreak of Clostridium Difficile at Burlington’s Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital that claimed the lives of 91 elderly patients, The Spectator launched an investigation on many fronts using Access or Information legislation, computer assisted reporting and investigative techniques. The coverage was crucial to action taken by the Ontario government to increase funding for infection control and to require hospitals in the province to report publicly on outbreaks of C. Difficile infections.

Toronto Star:

Scientific tests conducted by the newspaper resulted in a series of stories on high level of lead in toys being sold in Canada. This led to the largest series of product recalls in Canadian history after federal officials confirmed the Star’s findings. The federal government vowed swift action (announced in the fall Throne Speech) to toughen toy safety laws to protect consumers and their children.

Winnipeg Free Press:

A two-year investigation of the state of the First Nation child welfare system in Manitoba was triggered by the tragic death of a five-year-old girl. The newspaper found that child welfare agency responsible for protecting her did not know she was missing until nine months after her death. Following the investigation, amendments to the provincial Child and Family Service Act were passed to make child safety the primary consideration.