Sun stories on missing women honoured

Vancouver Sun

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

An 11-part Vancouver Sun series on the disappearance of women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has received honourable mention at the 2001 Michener Awards for public service journalism.

The Sun's entry, which was the runner-up, was one of six finalists for the award for meritorious public service journalism.

The Record of Kitchener-Waterloo came first at the awards ceremony on Tuesday for uncovering serious misuse of public funds in municipal lease financing.

Pierre Bergeron, president of the Michener Awards Foundation, said the race between the Record and the Sun was a particularly tight one.

The 11-part Sun series by reporters Lindsay Kines, Kim Bolan and Lori Culbert, ran between September and November 2001 and examined investigators' lack of progress in solving what may be Canada's biggest serial murder case.

Kim Bolan, Lori Culbert, Lindsay Kines

The reports uncovered flaws in the initial Vancouver police investigation into the disappearances of women from Vancouver streets.

Most of the women were prostitutes. The reporters established that the number of missing women was 45, much higher than the 27 about whom the public had been told. The series also showed police had done far less on the case than they claimed.

Not long after the reports appeared, Vancouver police and RCMP intensified their investigation and shortly after that, an arrest was made.

The Record and The Sun were among six finalists honoured in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson presented the Michener Award.

Bergeron said the winning entry represented persistent digging and total commitment by the paper over eight months.

The Record's investigation of a too-good-to-be-true financing deal for a city park revealed that politicians and employees authorized contracts they didn't understand. The costs were nearly $500 million more than they expected.

The newspaper's work resulted in audits, municipal investigations, multi-million-dollar lawsuits and the drafting of legislation in Ontario to protect municipal taxpayers.

The Michener Award -- named for former governor-general Roland Michener -- is presented for meritorious public service in journalism, with particular reference to the public benefits generated by the entry and the resources available to the news organization.

Citations of merit were presented to:

- CBC News, The National for Trail of a Terrorist, the story of the life in Canada of convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam.

- The Canadian Press for a series of reports on conditions in women's prisons and the failure to implement recommendations for improvement.

- The Toronto Star for Medical Secrets, a series about a lax Ontario medical regulatory system that failed to hold doctors accountable for practices harmful to patients.

- The Winnipeg Fress Press for two entries, each about the plight of children on Winnipeg streets. One tackled child prostitution, the other chronicled young people involved in drug dealing and panhandling.

 Copyright  2002 Vancouver Sun

Courtesy of the Vancouver Sun 



Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016