Cited for its “dogged pursuit of issue-based stories,” the Toronto Star
won the Excellence in Journalism Award (large media category)
for the second year in a row at the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF)
14th Annual Awards Gala on June 7. CBC Manitoba won the Excellence in Journalism
Award in the small/local media category.
“We received a record number of entries,” said Excellence Jury Chair Michael Benedict. “And we received a record number of high quality entries. It speaks to the positive state of Canadian journalism despite tough economic times in the industry.”
A sellout crowd of media and business luminaries from across the
country gathered at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel to celebrate overall
excellence in journalism, with the ceremony hosted by Global National
executive editor and anchor Dawna Friesen. Other honourees included
Lifetime Achievement Award winner Patrick Brown and Honorary Tribute
recipient Robert MacNeil.
“Good journalism starts with good reporters,” said Michael Cooke, editor of the Toronto Star, who accepted the Excellence Award from Rudyard Griffiths, co-anchor of the daily BNN current affairs show Squeeze Play.
“The truth is there’s not a lot in between. Good reporters are
everything. The bloggers come out there to pick the pockets of the dead,
but it’s the reporters that do the real journalism.”
For CBC Manitoba, it was the second time managing editor Cecil Rosner
accepted the Excellence Award on behalf of his organization – the CBC
Television program Canada Now in Winnipeg won in 1991. Bob
Lewis, incoming chair of the CJF, presented the award and congratulated
the broadcaster for consistently delivering “very useful, very practical
information that was of obvious value to its audience.”
“It’s really humbling to be in this room,” said Rosner, noting that
making a living as a journalist is rewarding in itself. “I count myself
lucky to be able to come to work every day.”
The Winnipeg Free Press and The Tyee received honourable mentions in the large/national and small/local media categories respectively.
Among the evenings other awards:
The previously announced Lifetime Achievement Award to Patrick Brown
was presented by Peter Mansbridge, CBC senior news correspondent and
anchor of The National. Reporting for CBC and its
French-language network SRC from 1974 to 2008, Brown covered major
events in dozens of countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He is
the recipient of three Gemini awards and the author of the
autobiographical Butterfly Mind. Brown is now an independent documentary producer based in Beijing.
In accepting his award, Brown recognized the hard work by the unsung
heroes who’ve helped him and other foreign correspondents, often putting
their own lives at risk for the sake of a story. “TV is a team sport
… if there is an achievement there, it is not a one person game,” he
says. “Management and editors back here in Toronto are very concerned to
look after us, as employees and known faces, but these people are
important too and we need to remember when things happen not to forget
Robert MacNeil, award-winning television news anchor, author and journalist and co-creator of the MacNeil/Lehrer Report,
was acknowledged during a special CJF tribute for a journalism career
that has spanned nearly a half century. Now living in New York City,
MacNeil was born in Montreal and raised in Halifax but began his
journalism career with Reuters in London.
MacNeil says his Canadian-ness has kept him “something of an
outsider” when it comes to issues like the justification of the Iraq
war, and also the belief in the value of public broadcasting. “I thank
the Canadian spirit that shaped me when I was young,” says MacNeil.
“Today, when looking for my country, I find it in myself.”
Visit the CJF Gala page for more highlights from the gala, including videos, photos, live blog and more.
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Founded in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes, celebrates and facilitates excellence in journalism. The foundation runs a prestigious awards and fellowships program featuring an industry gala where news leaders…
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