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Free Press finalist for Excellence in Journalism award

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The Winnipeg Free Press wasn’t a repeat winner at the Canadian Journalism Foundation Awards -- but is in some heady company again.

The Free Press was one of five finalists for one of the most prestigious journalism awards in the country, the Excellence in Journalism Award (large or national media category). But the Toronto Star was honoured with the prize Wednesday night at a ceremony in Toronto.

The award, handed out during the 17th annual CJF Awards, honours large media outlets that reach specific journalistic ideals including accuracy, independence and courage.

The Star has now won the award four times since 1996.

The Free Press won the award in 2013 and 2009.

 "This award recognizes the best in Canadian journalism and it was a tremendous honour to be a finalist," Free Press Editor Paul Samyn said, from the awards in Toronto. "We strive for excellence in journalism every day and to have that commitment recognized by the CJF is a tremendous honour."

The Free Press was up against the Toronto Star, CP Picture Service, CTV News and Globalnews.ca.

The award was begun by Eric Jackman, chairman of the Jackman Foundation and founder of the CJF. Besides Jackman, the award jury includes Christopher Waddell, director of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and Communication, Frank Switzer, vice-president Sun Life Financial, and Bruce Wallace, editor of Policy Options.

Meanwhile, Free Press digital copy editor Katie May was officially awarded the foundation’s Greg Clark Award for work she did at her previous employer, the Lethbridge Herald.

The award, in memory of one of the country’s greatest journalists, comes with funding to allow the recipient to spend a week "gaining insight, gathering strategic information and meeting key decision-makers on a specific issue."

May will spend a week at a birthing centre in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut to observe how its particular approach might help solve the maternal health crisis among First Nations women in remote northern Manitoba.

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