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Canada The Globe and Mail’s Unfounded investigation wins Canadian Journalism Foundation prize

The Globe and Mail’s 20-month investigation into how police forces across Canada handle sexual-assault complaints has been awarded the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s prize for excellence in journalism.

Reporter Robyn Doolittle, who spearheaded the Unfounded project that has won several of Canada’s top journalism awards this year, was also given the foundation’s Landsberg Award, for exceptional coverage of women’s issues.

Unfounded used data gathered from hundreds of police jurisdictions across the country. The project showed that sexual-assault complaints are twice as likely to be dismissed as unfounded as complaints in other assault cases.

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“There isn’t a journalist in the country who deserves this award more than Robyn Doolittle,” Globe editor-in-chief David Walmsley said.

“Her relentless commitment to getting at the story, through integrity and hard work, consistently reaches the highest standards and traditions of our industry.”

The investigation spurred law-enforcement agencies to review more than 37,000 cases and some agencies pledged to revamp their approach to policing sexual violence.

On Tuesday, the project won the prestigious Michener Award, recognizing public-service journalism. Unfounded also won a National Newspaper Award in the Investigations category and Ms. Doolittle was named 2017 Journalist of the Year by a panel of three former NNA winners.

Other nominees for the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s excellence award included:

  • CBC Edmonton for an investigation into how a Calgary oilman persuaded Alberta’s health minister to give his private health foundation a $10-million grant.
  • Global News for stories about how Canada rejects hundreds of immigrants because of incomplete data.
  • The Toronto Star for undercover work exposing the lack of safeguards for temporary agency workers.
  • The Toronto Star, Global News and the National Observer for a collaboration bringing together 50 journalists, students and instructors to examine the hidden costs of the oil industry.

The prize for excellence in journalism for the small media category went to The Independent of Petrolia and Central Lambton. Their stories showed the town’s chief administrative officer lied about about his ownership of two buildings being used for town purposes, raising questions about conflict of interest.

This year also marked the inauguration of an award aimed at recognizing journalistic efforts to help Canadians assess the quality of the news they consume.

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Radio-Canada won the award for its weekly program Corde Sensible aimed at combatting misinformation on social media.

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