THE Winnipeg Free Press has been awarded this year's prestigious Excellence in Journalism Award from the Canadian Journalism Foundation.
The national award is given annually to a news organization for "overall extraordinary performance."
The winners, in the large-media and small-media categories, were announced Thursday at the 16th annual CJF Awards at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.
The Winnipeg Free Press squared off with other media giants that were among the five finalists in the large-media category.
"This award is for the reporters, the photographers and the editors who have made our newsroom the best in Canada," said Free Press editor Paul Samyn. "They have boundless imagination, energy and commitment. What the CJF recognized is the way we practise our craft, the way we have answered the calling to care and dare to make a difference and the courage needed in the pursuit of truth."
While other awards honour specific achievements in journalism, the CJF recognizes general excellence in accuracy, independence, accountability to the audience along with courage and originality.
The Free Press also won the Excellence in Journalism Award in 2009.
The Excellence in Journalism Award, now in its 17th year, was established by Dr. L.R. (Eric) Jackman, chairman of the Jackman Foundation and founder of The Canadian Journalism Foundation.
In addition to the Winnipeg Free Press, the five large-media finalists were CBC News: Special Investigations Unit, The Current -- CBC Radio One, Postmedia News and the Toronto Star.
"At a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty in the media, we were impressed with the range of creative ideas that news organizations across the country are exploring to address the economic and coverage challenges they face, while at the same time maintaining their focus on excellence in journalism," Christopher Waddell, chairman of the jury, said in a statement.
The members of the jury included Waddell, who is the director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University, Ontario Power Authority corporate communications director Murray Campbell, National Public Relations managing partner Catherine Cano, Sen. Jim Munson of Ottawa and director and associate professor Kelly Toughill of the School of Journalism at the University of King's College.