Michener Award for Public Service Journalism goes to The Narwhal and The Toronto Star for their reporting of the Ontario Greenbelt Scandal

15.06.24 01:30 Uhr

OTTAWA, ON, June 14, 2024 /CNW/ - This evening, at a ceremony at Rideau Hall, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, recognized the exceptional journalism of this year's six Michener Award finalists. The Michener Award for 2023 is presented jointly to The Narwhal and The Toronto Star for their reporting on the Ontario Greenbelt Scandal.

"The Toronto Star and The Narwal told the story of corruption at the heart of the Ontario Greenbelt. Their journalism accomplished what every Michener-worthy piece of reporting sets out to do: hold public officials to account and change our communities for the better," said Margo Goodhand, President of the Michener Awards Foundation. "In fact, all of tonight's finalists are shining examples of the power of investigative journalism at its very best. My sincere congratulations to these newsrooms."

The Narwhal and the Toronto Star: Ontario Greenbelt Scandal

When Ontario's auditor general presented her report on the Ford government's Greenbelt scandal, she cited two newsrooms for providing her with significant new and revelatory details. Throughout 2023, the Narwhal and the Toronto Star revealed how politically connected developers benefited from buying devalued farmland just before Premier Doug Ford lifted Greenbelt protection of those lands. The Narwhal and the Star seized the public's attention with a steady drumbeat of exclusives: how well-connected developers were invitees to the premier's daughter's wedding; ethics violations; the unmasking of a mysterious "Mr. X" who connected developers with government bureaucrats. The reporters persevered despite near-constant criticism of their work by the government. Their investigation culminated in Ford scrapping the plan to allow development on formerly protected Greenbelt lands and cost the government two ministers and two senior staffers. The RCMP launched an investigation. The reporting by The Narwhal and the Star, the auditor general has said, "greatly contributed to public awareness, and ultimately to the provincial government reversing its unsupportable decision to remove specific lands from the Greenbelt."

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.

The following newsrooms were awarded a Michener citation of merit:

  • The Canadian Press: A 'predator' at CSIS
  • CBC/Radio-Canada: The girls around Robert Miller/Le système Miller
  • The Globe and Mail: Montreal fire safety
  • Montreal Gazette: Staff haunted by suicide at the Lakeshore Hospital ER
  • Radio-Canada: La face cachée de Neptune / The dark side of Neptune

The Michener Award Foundation also recognized the 2024 Michener-Deacon (Ève Lévesque and Marie-Christine Noël) and Michener-O'Hagan Fellowship (Jean-Hugues Roy and Naël Shiab) , recipients, as well as honouring two giants of political journalism, Terry Mosher and Chantal Hébert, with the prestigious Michener-Baxter Award for exceptional service to Canadian public service journalism.

Thank you to the 2023 Michener Award judges:

  • Chief Judge Katherine Sedgwick: former journalism professor at Loyalist College and former deputy editor of the Montreal Gazette
  • Sally Reardon: former senior CBC-TV news producer
  • Tahieròn:iohte Dan David: journalist, media trainer and founding director of APTN News
  • Mary McGuire: retired journalism professor at Carleton University
  • Guy Gendron, broadcast media journalist and former ombudsman for CBC Radio-Canada

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. The Michener Awards Foundation's voluntary Board of Directors administers the award, in partnership with the Rideau Hall Foundation with sponsorship from BMO, Cision, Power Corporation of Canada, and TD. Learn more at www.MichenerAwards.ca.

SOURCE Michener Awards Foundation