CBC News podcast Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo wins award for excellence in journalism

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Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo is this year's recipient of the CJF Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism in the large-media category

TORONTO, June 13, 2019 /CNW/ - The CBC News podcast Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo is this year's recipient of the CJF Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism in the large-media category, presented tonight at the annual Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards.

The powerful podcast explored the disappearance of Cleopatra Semaganis Nicotine, a young Cree girl taken from her Saskatchewan home in the Sixties Scoop, put up for adoption in the U.S. and wrongly thought to have been murdered while hitchhiking back to Canada.

"What makes Finding Cleo unique and engaging is the way it is told — as a 10-part podcast where you are along for the journey, facing the roadblocks of bureaucracy on a cold trail, experiencing the frustrations and unsure of the outcome," says Excellence Award jury member Isabel Bassett, former chair and CEO of TVO. "Finding out the truth of one young girl accomplishes more than bringing closure for a family — it tells the much larger story of the 'Sixties Scoop' from the point of view of those who experienced it, in a way relatable by all."

Named after CJF founder Eric Jackman, this annual award honours news organizations, large and small, that embody exemplary journalism and have a profound and positive impact on the communities they serve.

For her work, Missing & Murdered host and investigative reporter Connie Walker also won The Landsberg Award, which celebrates exceptional coverage of women's equality issues. The award is presented by the CJF in association with the Canadian Women's Foundation, which provides the $5,000 prize.

In the small-media category, the Regina Leader-Post and Saskatoon StarPhoenix won the CJF Jackman Excellence in Journalism Award for their joint submission covering the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, including the first 36 hours thereafter.

More than 500 journalists, media executives and business leaders from across the country attended the CJF Awards gala at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

Among the evening's other award winners:

  • The CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowships, designed to foster better comprehension of Indigenous issues, went to Charnel Anderson and Logan Perley, who will be hosted by CBC News for one month at its Indigenous Centre in Winnipeg. Anderson, a member of Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek in northwestern Ontarioand a freelance journalist based in Toronto, plans to examine the Indigenous-led policies that allow First Nations some exemptions from the Indian Act and help other communities in their pursuit of self-determination. Perley is Wolastoqew from Tobique First Nation, New Brunswick, who just finished his final year of journalism and native studies at St. Thomas University in Fredericton. He will explore the education initiatives aimed at revitalizing the endangered Wolastoqew language. The fellowships are supported by RBC, CJF honorary governor Rosemary Speirs and Isabel Bassett, former Chair and CEO of TVO.
  • The CJF-Facebook Journalism Project News Literacy Award, which celebrates journalistic efforts that encourage Canadians to better understand and assess the quality of news they consume, went to Agence Science-Presse, a Montreal-based non-profit media organization. The agency was recognized for its efforts to help students at a Montreal high school verify the news found on social media, specifically disinformation in science. The award comes with a $10,000 prize.
  • The CJF-Globe and Mail Investigative Journalism Fellowship, which offers early-career journalists a year-long opportunity to sharpen their reporting and research skills while working on ongoing investigative journalism projects under the guidance of Globe and Mail editors and senior reporters, went to Marsha McLeod, most recently a criminal justice reporter with Investigative Post in Buffalo, N.Y.
  • The Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, which provides a seasoned Canadian journalist with $100,000 and an opportunity to pursue a year-long investigation into a current policy issue, goes to John Lorinc, a Toronto freelancer who covers politics, urban affairs, the environment and business. He will investigate and report on the impact of smart cities technology and data governance on citizen and their governments. The fellowship is a collaboration of the Atkinson Foundation, the Toronto Star and the Honderich family.
  • The Tom Hanson Photojournalism Award, presented with The Canadian Press and supported by Nikon, went to Andrew Lahodynskyj, a freelance photographer and photo editor based in Toronto. This award provides an early-career photojournalist with the opportunity to spend six weeks at The Canadian Press head office in Toronto.
  • The Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University, funded by The Martin Wise Goodman Trust, went to Karyn Pugliese, executive director of news and current affairs at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. She will study the strategies newsrooms and educators can use to implement Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action for media and journalism schools. Pugliese is the 25th Canadian Nieman fellow, a biennial award.
  • The William Southam Journalism Fellowships, which reward mid-career journalists with an academic year to audit courses and participate fully in life at Massey College, are awarded annually by the University of Toronto and Massey College. This year's winners are:
    • Dana Gibreel, a Jordanian journalist who is a senior reporter at the online magazine 7iber, receives the Gordon N. Fisher/JHR Fellowship, awarded in partnership with Journalists for Human Rights and named after Gordon N. Fisher who, along with St. Clair Balfour of Southam Newspapers, created the fellowships in 1962;
    • Joey Coleman, an independent journalist in Hamilton and publisher of the crowd-funded The Public Record, who received the St. Clair Balfour Fellowship;
    • Sarah Rogers, reporter with Iqaluit-based Nunatsiaq News, who received the Webster/McConnell Fellowship;
    • John Perry, a senior producer with As it Happens, CBC Radio, who received the CBC/Radio-Canada Fellowship; and
    • Martha Troian, Winnipeg-based investigative journalist from Obishikokaang (Lac Seul First Nation) in Northern Ontario, who received the McLaughlin Centre Science Journalism Fellowship.

The previously announced Lifetime Achievement Award went to John Honderich, the former Toronto Star editor and publisher and now chair of Torstar Corporation, for a distinguished career committed to integrity and excellence in journalism.

Special CJF honorees this year included Maria Ressa, executive editor and CEO of the Filipino news site, Rappler.com, who received the annual CJF Tribute for her courageous defence of independent journalism in the face of government harassment. Meanwhile, a CJF Special Citation went to Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, who was recognized for his commitment to the pursuit of truth in an atmosphere of "alternative facts".

The evening's entertainment performances included: singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas, who accompanied the In Memoriam segment; a number from the musical Newsies by the Mainstage Theatre Company; and Seán Cullen, award-winning comedian, who acted as the live announcer. The gala was hosted by Anne-Marie Mediwake, host of CTV's Your Morning.

The CJF Awards thanks the generous support of presenting sponsor Deegan Public Strategies and sponsors Labatt Breweries of Canada, Thomson Reuters, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, General Motors of Canada, Shaw Communications, Medtronic, Rogers, Accenture, CTV News, the Jackman Foundation, Scotiabank, the Facebook Journalism Project and Intact Financial. Thanks also to in-kind supporters The Globe and Mail, Postmedia Network, Toronto Star, The Canadian Press, Cision, Porter Airlines,Bespoke Audio Visual, Coca-Cola Canada and Wine Rack.


About The Canadian Journalism Foundation

Established in 1990, The Canadian Journalism Foundation promotes, celebrates and facilitates excellence in journalism. The foundation runs a prestigious annual awards and fellowships program featuring an industry gala where news leaders, journalists and corporate Canada gather to celebrate outstanding journalistic achievement and the value of professional journalism. Through monthly J-Talks, a public speakers' series, the CJF facilitates dialogue among journalists, business people, academics and students about the role of the media in Canadian society and the ongoing challenges for media in the digital era. The foundation also fosters opportunities for journalism education, training and research.


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