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Private Award Sponsorships OK'd By P.C.C.
Special Editorial Section


OTTAWA — Press Club Canada has reversed a year-old policy that prohibited the national federation of press clubs from collaborating with private companies in sponsoring journalism awards or fellowships.

At its annual meeting here, Press Club Canada directors — who in nearly all cases are presidents of local press clubs — voted to untie their executives' hands by allowing them to entertain private enterprise proposals for co-sponsorship of programs aimed at rewarding journalistic excellence.

There was no specific proposal before the board. A year ago, when the decision was made to shut the door on private sponsors, Canada News-Wire had proposed two new awards.

Press Club Canada now administers the Michener Award, named to honor the late Wendy Michener, daughter of the former Governor-General. The award now is in its eighth year.

The 1976 award, presented by Governor-General Jules Leger at Rideau Hall recently, went to The Vancouver Sun for reporter John Sawatsky's stories on the police break-in at a left-wing Quebec news agency.

An honorable mention was awarded the London Free Press for a series by Wendy Koenig on the problems of London's skid road.

This year's Press Club Canada meeting attracted representatives of 14 local clubs. A notable absence was Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg club withdrew a year ago in protest over the continuing membership in Press Club Canada of the Moncton Men's Press Club, the only men-only club left in the country. PCC President Bob Weber of London said he had tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Winnipeg people to reconsider, explaining it was no part of Press Club Canada's function to interfere in or dictate local club affairs.

To add insult to Winnipeg's perceived injury, delegates this year elected Bill Anderson, past president of the Moncton club, to replace Weber as PCC president.

The question of Press Club Canada's purpose came in for close examination at this year's meeting. Its original function was to provide a forum for exchange of information among press clubs on organizational and financial matters. But delegates complained they received little of use in return for their PCC dues — $1 per member, to a maximum of $200.

Secretary-treasurer Bob Wyatt of Edmonton said the problem sprang from the fact that member clubs paid little attention to the national federation — or the problems of other clubs — between annual meetings of Press Club Canada. He urged the delegates to maintain closer liaison with the federation.


Published in Content's SOURCES December 1977


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