War Memorial Cartoon Mints Canada’s ‘Journalist of the Year’

Inaugural National Newspaper Award honor goes to Bruce MacKinnon.

BruceMacKinnonPodiumPublished the day after the fatal October 22 shooting on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a reservist guarding the National War Memorial, the Halifax Chronicle Herald editorial cartoon imagined the Memorial’s bronze World War I figures coming to life to comfort Cirillo. Upon publication, the image rocketed to the top of Reddit and Imgur and was shown in coverage on CNN, Fox News and elsewhere.

Friday night in Toronto, the cartoonist responsible for the image, Bruce MacKinnon, accepted the first-ever Journalist of the Year citation from Canada’s National Newspaper Awards. The Toronto Press Club, which has been giving out honors since 1949, relied on a panel of three past female winners to select the inaugural recipient from this year’s 22 category honorees.

From MacKinnon’s weekend Facebook post:

My first thought was if I were any one of the hard-working five-star journalists in the room that night, I’d be protesting on the street right now. To be singled out from that group, by a panel of former NNA laureates, is both baffling and incredibly humbling to me. But as a cartoonist in a country with such a strong history of editorial cartooning, it made me extremely proud and hopeful for the future of our profession. I am grateful to the NNAs for recognizing Canadian editorial cartooning in such a profound way and I hope it sends a message to newspapers about the value in hiring cartoonists.

At the end of his acceptance speech, MacKinnon was presented with a gift box, inside of which was a gold-sequined fedora. The hat was suggested by an NNA member as the symbol going forward for each year’s Journalist of the Year Award. MacKinnon has one small suggestion in that regard: put a “Press” card in the band of future golden fedoras. ‘I don’t think you could find a more singular icon for the tradition of newspaper journalism,’ he wrote.

A portion of the reprint orders for the October 23, 2014 cartoon are being donated by The Chronicle Herald to Cirillo’s family. Next year, MacKinnon will mark his 30th year with the Nova Scotia daily.
[Screen grab via: YouTube]