The Globe and Mail is a finalist for the prestigious Michener Award for public-service journalism, given annually by the Governor-General.
The newspaper has been nominated for its investigation into last summer’s deadly derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Que., when a train laden with crude oil exploded in the middle of town, killing 47 people. The Globe exposed how lax government oversight and industry complacency allowed a booming business of oil-by-rail shipments to proliferate in North America, without any new safety standards to protect the communities these trains pass through.
Globe reporters Grant Robertson and Jacquie McNish investigated the volatility of the oil, and showed how the crude being transported from North Dakota through Lac-Mégantic was far more explosive than railways and regulators knew, and that shippers weren’t testing oil properly to determine how dangerous it was. The investigation prompted the government to introduce new emergency regulations for oil shipments, and to treat oil as a highly dangerous substance.
Reporter Justin Giovannetti and photographer Moe Doiron spent months re-creating the night of the disaster through survivors’ accounts. Reporter Les Perreaux investigated the rail lines used to ship crude into Canada, exposing shoddy infrastructure and questionable practices along the route. Ottawa reporter Kim Mackrael probed the disaster from Parliament Hill, while reporter Brent Jang pieced together the anatomy of the derailment itself. The Globe is one of six finalists, alongside The Canadian Press, CTV News, the Toronto Star, the Windsor Star, and a joint submission by the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald. The award, which was founded in 1970 by the late Roland Michener, then governor-general, will be handed out June 11 by Governor-General David Johnston.