Foundation InformationAs Western Canada's best-known and most influential reporter, Jack Webster left his mark on the BC journalism scene with his hard-hitting reporting style. In his more than 40 years of print, radio and television journalism, Jack Webster was synonymous with insightful, accurate and unabashed reporting.
Founded in 1986, The Jack Webster Foundation carries on Jack's legacy by promoting and recognizing the achievements of BC based reporters with the Jack Webster Awards.
A History of The Jack Webster FoundationIn 1986, a group of community-minded citizens organized a salute to Jack Webster on the occasion of his retirement from active journalism in British Columbia. Over 1,000 guests enjoyed the gala dinner filled with humorous stories, touching remembrances and, most of all, Jack's Scottish brogue and insight into life around him.
From the proceeds of this successful dinner, the Jack Webster Foundation was established as a permanent tribute to Jack. The mandate of the Foundation is to promote and honour excellence in journalism in British Columbia. For the past 13 years, the Foundation has recognized journalists for outstanding work at its annual Webster Awards Dinner where a unique glass statue, known as a 'Webster', is presented along with a cash prize. 'Websters' are considered the measure of journalistic excellence in British Columbia.
The Foundation presented annually one award: Best Reporting of the Year. In 1990, the Jack Webster Award of Distinction was introduced to honour journalists working with limited resources. Also, the Lando family of Vancouver, established the Science Award in honour of their son and brother, Barry, who is a producer with CBS' 60 Minutes and who has a strong interest in the reporting of science based stories.
The Best Reporting of the Year award was divided into 3 awards, one each for print, radio and TV.
Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award
In 1991, the Webster Foundation established its Lifetime achievement award. The first recipient and namesake of the award was Bruce Hutchison, a legend in Canadian journalism.
Hutchison's writing career stretched from 1918 at the Victoria Times Colonist to 1992 at the Vancouver Sun. In between, he worked for the Province, Winnipeg Free Press, Financial Post and Maclean's. He wrote more than a dozen books. Received three national newspaper awards, 4 honourary university degrees and three governor general awards. His published opinions helped shape Canadian public policy for several generations and his writing about the land and its people have had a major influence on the way we think about who we are and what we might become.
His last article, filed on time as usual and not in need of any editing, ran in The Sun the month before his death at age 91.
"If our children ask, some years hence, what happened and why we didn't see it happening before our eyes, the answer is that humans never do, and maybe are happier, more durable, for the mercy of their ignorance. In the beginning, the wise man never asks the end."
The list of winners of this most prestigious award is a veritable who's who of journalism in a number of fields.
Cartoonists Len Norris and Roy Peterson, news director Warren Barker, columnists Jim Hume and Denny Boyd, reporter's-reporter (or newspaper reporter) Moira Farrow, radio newsman George Garrett, newspaper founder Dan McLeod, newspaper veteran Patrick Nagle and television producers Cameron Bell and Keith Bradbury are past Hutchison winners. Although Moira Farrow and Len Norris are no longer with us, like Jack their work lives on.
To the Foundation's six awards, the Trustees added Photojournalism which in 1995 became Best Visual Image Award. This award was phased out in 1996.
In 1996, three new awards were added. Best Reporting in the Chinese Language was introduced to recognize the growing and significant Chinese Language media in British Columbia. Jean Cormier, the first Chair of the Jack Webster Foundation, sponsored the Business Industry and Economics Award and a new award category for feature writing was created, which was divided into three awards in 1998, one each for print, radio and television.
The Jack Webster Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism was created in 2000 and sponsored by the Law Society of British Columbia who had up until 1999 administered its own media awards.
The Jack Webster Award for Community Reporting replaced the Jack Webster Award for Distinction in 2001. The new name better reflects the small market purpose of this award.
In 2001, a new category was added - The Jack Webster Award for Commentary. This award recognizes the importance of commentary as it defines and grapples with significant issues in our community.
In 2003, the Commentatary award was renamed the Commentator of the Year award and presented in honour of Linda Webster, Jack's daughter who passed away in 2002. The sub-title 'City Mike Award' was added to reflect Jack's cutting edge commentary on CJOR's City Mike show in the 1950s.
In 2008, the Jack Webster Award for Online Journalism was introduced to reflect the importance on online media.
In 2011, the Jack Webster Foundation introduced an online submission process to provide a more convenient method for journalists to submit their broadcast and print entries.