THE Winnipeg Free Press received a citation of merit Wednesday night at Rideau Hall in Ottawa as one of six finalists for the prestigious 2008 Michener Award.
The award went to CBC/Radio-Canada and The Canadian Press for a joint project that produced a multimedia analysis of Taser stun guns and their use by the RCMP.
The award named after former governor general Roland Michener is given out based on the degree of public benefit generated by the print and broadcast entries submitted.
"The Taser investigation changed the perceptions of Canadians from coast to coast, on both the safety of Tasers and their usage by enforcement officials," Free Press Editor Margo Goodhand said. "It was a much deserved honour for CP and the CBC.
"We were so honoured to be among these distinguished journalists tonight."
The Free Press was nominated for its two-year investigation into Manitoba's child-welfare system, sparked by the death of Phoenix Sinclair.
Editorial writer Catherine Mitchell, columnist Lindor Reynolds, Ottawa bureau chief Mia Rabson and public policy reporter Mary Agnes Welch were at the gala event, presided over by Gov. Gen. Michaëlle Jean.
Other finalists chosen by the Michener Awards Foundation were Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe, the Globe and Mail, the Hamilton Spectator and the Toronto Star.
One Canadian Press-CBC joint study of more than 3,200 incidents in which Mounties fired the powerful stun guns between 2002 and 2008 showed officers used the Taser multiple times in almost 43 per cent of cases. Another joint effort found the Mounties were censoring key information that must be recorded each time officers draw their weapons.
A separate CBC/Radio-Canada investigation found some stun guns deliver a stronger jolt than they should.
Ed Struzik, a reporter with the Edmonton Journal, won the 2009 Michener-Deacon Fellowship for a project on Arctic sovereignty.
-- Staff / The Canadian Press