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CJF to honour Torstar’s John Honderich with Lifetime Achievement Award

Toronto – April 3, 2019 – John Honderich, chair of Torstar Corporation, the parent company of the Toronto Star and numerous city and community newspapers, is the recipient of The Canadian Journalism Foundation’s (CJF) Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of a distinguished career committed to excellence and integrity in journalism and advocating for its importance as part of civil society. He will be honoured at the annual CJF Awards on June 13 in Toronto.

“John Honderich is an exemplar to all of us,” says The Right Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, a jury member. “His total dedication to journalism not only in Canada, but in emerging countries, is unrivalled. He is a journalist who never forgot he was a journalist even after becoming a manager. John Honderich is the ideal choice for CJF’s Lifetime Achievement award: a brilliant mind, a curious intelligence, and someone filled with scintillating good humour.”

Honderich has been chair of Torstar Corporation, publisher of more than 80 newspapers, since 2009 continuing a notable career in media and publishing. After being admitted to the Ontario bar, Honderich turned his back on the legal profession and joined the Ottawa Citizen as a copy boy in 1973. In 1976, he moved to the Toronto Star’s Ottawa bureau, later becoming its chief. He went on to head the Star’s Washington Bureau before returning to Toronto as deputy city editor and then business editor and editorial page editor before becoming editor-in-chief from 1988-1994 and publisher from 1994-2004. 

Honderich’s steadfast advocacy of journalism’s critical role in a healthy democracy as well as his extensive community service garnered him appointments to the Order of Canada (2004) and the Order of Ontario (2006). He helped lead the campaign to secure assistance for journalism announced in the last federal budget. 

Among his many community service ventures was a Special Ambassador for the Mayor of Toronto on Urban Issues and then Special Adviser to the Premier of Ontario on the future of the Greater Toronto Area. However, one of his proudest achievements, a paean to Canada, was visiting all 40-plus National Parks, including those in extremely remote Arctic regions, during the Canadian sesquicentennial. 

About the Lifetime Achievement Award

The annual Canadian Journalism Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding lifetime contribution to journalism in Canada.

Individuals who have worked in any type of media (print, broadcast, digital) and in any journalism category (news, business, politics, cartoon, arts, etc.) are eligible for consideration. The recipient will have demonstrated, throughout his/her career, a commitment to the highest journalistic standards and ideals. His/her work and contribution to the field and society should serve as a model that inspires excellence in others.

Criteria for the Lifetime Achievement Award:
Among the items to be considered are:

  • Body of journalistic work during career
  • Contribution to society through outstanding journalism
  • Recognition and respect from peers and community

Judging Methodology
The judging panel is comprised of four to eight jurors (with bilingual representatives), who review all submitted entries through an online portal, rank the entries and then attend a face-to-face meeting or participate via conference call with their rankings to agree upon the recipient of the award. See this year's jury.

The recipient is honoured at the CJF Awards on June 13, 2019 in Toronto.



Past Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award

2018 Peter Mansbridge
2017 Jean Pelletier
2016 Lloyd Robertson
2015 Michel Auger
2014 Peter Bregg
2013 Michael Maclear
2012 Jack Sigvaldason
2011 Patrick Brown
2010 Lise Bissonnette
2009 Joe Schlesinger
2008 Sally Armstrong


2007 Norman Webster
2006 Knowlton Nash
2005 Pierre Berton (posthumous)
2004 June Callwood
2003 Doris Anderson
2002 Trina McQueen
2001 Doug Creighton
2000 Mark Starowicz
1999 Bernard Derome
1998 Peter C. Newman
1997 Peter Gzowski
1996 Robert Fulford