Postmedia News, Ottawa Citizen win Michener award for reporting on robocalls

OTTAWA – A Postmedia News and Ottawa Citizen investigation exposing the use of “robocalls” to mislead and harass voters during the 2011 federal election campaign has won the 2012 Michener Award.

The foundation handing out the award noted that the “detailed and sustained reporting” led to Elections Canada investigating complaints, a Federal court ruling that electoral fraud occurred in six ridings and a PC campaign worker facing charges.

“The persistent coverage shed light on how technology can subvert our most fundamental democratic value: the right to vote in a fairly run election,” the Michener foundation said in a statement Tuesday.

“The impact of this coverage has been resounding.”

The Michener award is presented annually for journalism that contributes to the public good.

Michener Citations of Merit went to CBC News, La Presse, the Toronto Star, the Coast and the Vancouver Sun, which were among the six finalists for the award.

Each news outlet was singled out for the degree of public benefit generated by their submitted stories.

The winner was announced Tuesday night at a ceremony hosted by Gov. Gen. David Johnston at Rideau Hall.

Johnston also presented the 2013 Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Journalism Education to CBC News reporter Julie Ireton, who will develop a workshop on entrepreneurial journalism to help students of the craft market their skills.

Meanwhile, the 2013 Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Investigative Journalism went to photojournalist Roger LeMoyne, who will document the environmental and civic behaviour of Canadian mining companies in foreign countries.

Bryan Cantley, who served as vice president of the Canadian Newspaper Association for many years before retiring, was given the Michener-Baxter Special Award for his commitment to Canadian journalism and the newspaper industry.

The Michener Award was founded in 1970 by then governor general Roland Michener.