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Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award

Patricia Graham
2012 Recipient

Patricia GrahamIt's probably not widely known that this year's Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award winner started her professional life as a lawyer.

Patricia Graham spent four years practicing law in Toronto before she abandoned it to take up the life of a scribe. We're glad she did. The law's loss has definitely been journalism's gain.

Graham is an award winning 30-year journalist who is a member of the executive board of Pacific Newspaper Group and has been named one of Canada's Top 100 most powerful women by the Women's Executive Network. As Editor in Chief of The Vancouver Sun, she led more than 100 reporters and editors for nearly eight years. In October 2011, the Pacific Newspaper Group recognized her significant contribution by promoting her to the post of Vice President, Digital.

She has paid her dues, earning the respect of her peers along the way. She worked as a copy editor, editorial writer, editorial page editor and senior newsroom manager for a range of newspapers from The Globe and Mail to the Campbell River Courier Islander.

She joined the Pacific Newspaper Group in 1986, worked at The Province and then moved to The Vancouver Sun 20 years ago. In the words of a colleague, "the achievement of the Sun's staff, I believe, is great because of the guidance and leadership of Ms. Graham over the past decade. Journalists today need champions. They need leaders to hold them to a standard, create the context for their work, believe in them, and then make available the resources and opportunities to be the best they can be. Ms. Graham is such a leader."

Graham's time has not been an easy one in which to lead. Newspapers in North America have taken it on the chin in the last two decades, with financial woes leading to staff reductions, publication cuts and numerous closures. But under Graham's leadership, The Vancouver Sun has become a multi-media newsroom operating seven days a week and producing one of the fastest growing websites in Canada. The newspaper now is fully engaged with social media including a three-times-a-day iPad edition. All of this was done with virtually no growth in resources.

As with many leaders, the results of those they led are the proof of their contribution. The journalists in her newsroom continue to be granted fellowships in Canada, the United States and further afield. They are regularly nominated for, or win prestigious awards including the ones being bestowed in Jack Webster's name tonight. The numbers in the past decade alone are impressive: 38 Webster Awards, 12 National Newspaper Awards and three Micheners under her stewardship.

And while all this was happening, she has continued to serve as a commentator on media and community issues, as a lecturer and adviser at UBC's Journalism School, as a member of the board of directors of Canadian Women in Communications, and as a member of the board of governors of the National Newspaper Awards.

She has also done much to foster young talent in journalism, honour diversity in hiring, and mentor young women. She encourages other women and journalists to engage in service and to provide mentorship to others. She is a frequent public speaker and participant at community events and has successfully worked to build bridges and foster dialogue within the diverse communities that make BC what it is.

We think Bruce Hutchison - a longtime Sun editorial director who wrote for the paper until his death in 1992 - would have heartily approved of our choice of Graham for the honour that bears his name.


See the dinner presentation video for Patricia Graham.


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Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award