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For more than three decades, the fifth
estate has been Canada's premier investigative documentary program,
acquainting viewers with a dazzling parade of political leaders, shady
characters and ordinary people whose lives were touched by triumph or tragedy.
The tradition of provocative and courageous journalism which began with
Adrienne Clarkson, Warner Troyer and Peter Reilly on September 16, 1975
continues unabated with our current team of Hana Gartner, Linden MacIntyre,
Bob McKeown and Gillian Findlay.
After airing more than 1,600 stories and more than 600 shows, the program has become a ritual for millions of Canadians from coast to coast. Many of its shows attracted spectacular numbers of viewers. More than two million tuned in to watch stories such as Eric Malling's "Who killed JFK?" Hana Gartner's "Life with Billy" and Trish Wood's "Karla Homolka."
These numbers reflect an appetite for the weekly dose of thought-provoking, insightful journalism practiced by the fifth, which often makes headlines and influences public policy. Its stories are routinely shown around the world as well. Television networks in 16 countries from Norway to Korea to Argentina showed Linden MacIntyre's provocative Emmy winning story about the 1991 Gulf Conflict called "To Sell a War."
In addition to its impact among viewers and on society, the fifth estate is also recognized by its peers. It has won a remarkable 243 awards, including an Oscar for best documentary, three international Emmy Awards, 28 Geminis, 20 awards and certificates for investigative reporting from the Canadian Association of Journalists and dozens of honours from The New York and Columbus International film and video festivals. the fifth won a prestigious Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism and the Justicia Award from the Canadian Bar Association for a series of reports on the police and justice system.
What makes the fifth estate so successful? Long time host Linden MacIntyre probably says it best: "We aren't interested in a lot of the distractions of the mass media. We're not into marketing and we're not into celebrity. We're interested in getting information, in exploring important issues and illuminating public policy, and about telling the stories in a strong narrative fashion."
The mission of the program could also be described this way; to be the home of incisive and original investigative journalism, to challenge assumptions and question conventional wisdom, and most importantly to give voice to victims of injustice who deserve to be heard but have been silenced.