Globe and Mail wins Michener Award for thalidomide coverage

The Globe and Mail has won the 2014 Michener Award for its coverage of the legacy of the drug thalidomide and the experience of the survivors.

2 CBC News projects among 6 finalists for prestigious journalism award

Thalidomide survivor Mercedes Benegbi celebrates outside the House of Commons after MPs voted to compensate survivors on December 1, 2014. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

The Globe and Mail has won the 2014 Michener Award for its coverage of the legacy of the drug thalidomide and the experience of the survivors.

The annual award, which recognizes excellence in public service journalism, was handed out during a ceremony at Ottawa's Rideau Hall Thursday night.

Shortly following the publication of the Globe series, members of Parliament voted unanimously to support fair compensation for thalidomide survivors. In March, the government announced a lump sum payment of $125,000 for the survivors and the creation of a $169-million fund to cover medical assistance.

"With great sensitivity, the Globe and Mail gave survivors and their families a national voice as they spoke of the growing physical, mental and financial toll," the Michener Awards Foundation said on its website.

CBC stories among finalists

Two CBC News projects were among the six finalists considered for the prestigious journalism award.

CBC News's investigation into the temporary foreign worker program showed problems with how the program was being used and exposed abuses by employers, including some McDonald's locations. The stories generated response from across the country and eventually prompted the Conservative government to make changes to the program.

In another in-depth investigation, CBC North examined the troubling death of a young baby in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. The reporting looked at the health-care struggles in remote Arctic communities and examined the record of a nurse who was posted to Cape Dorset. The coverage prompted the Nunavut government to launch an independent review of the case.

The other nominees this year were:

L'actualité: For an investigation into how the military handles sexual assault and harassment allegations. The eight-month investigation, which included detailed interviews with soldiers, resulted in an independent investigation and the reinstatement of one victim who had been discharged after complaining.

The Canadian Press: For an investigation "exploring and explaining the new and complicated rules" of the Conservative government's Fair Elections Act and the controversy that surrounded it.

"The result was national protest, almost universal condemnation and ultimately government amendments to the act to remove some of the Conservative government's most egregious attempts to manipulate the new voting system to its advantage," the foundation says.

The Vancouver Sun: For a series that looked at struggles and realities of "aging out" of British Columbia's foster care system at 19. The series, which sparked action from community groups, colleges and universities and the province, included a cost-benefit analysis that showed "taxpayers would save money if B.C. extended foster care support for 19- to 24-year olds."

The annual award, named after former governor general Roland Michener, was first presented in 1971. It recognizes "outstanding and unbiased public service in journalism," the foundation says. 

The Toronto Star took the prize last year for its coverage of Toronto's then mayor Rob Ford and the controversies around him.


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