Montreal Gazette reporter Aaron Derfel wins top journalism award

Longtime Montreal Gazette health reporter Aaron Derfel has been honoured by the Canadian Association of Journalists with this year’s McGillivray Award, which recognizes the best investigative journalism published or broadcast in 2023.

Derfel won the award, presented Saturday in Toronto as part of the CAJ’s 2024 national conference, for a four-part series that “exposed egregious failures in care” in the emergency department of the Lakeshore General Hospital, the CAJ stated.

“His empathetic reporting showed how family members and staff members struggled with how a number of patients died in the facility’s care and how the institution’s responses failed to respond to what happened or lead to changes.”

Derfel was also named winner Saturday in the Written News category, one of 19 in the CAJ Awards. All of this year’s winners can be found here.

In March, he won the 2024 Canadian Hillman Prize for the same series. That prize honours excellence in journalism in service of the common good.

In April, The Gazette was named a  finalist for the Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism for Derfel’s series. It is Canada’s highest journalism honour. The Michener ceremony will be held June 14 in Ottawa.

The series was also shortlisted in April by the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Jackman Awards for Excellence in Journalism. Winners will be announced June 12.

In May, Derfel was honoured by the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians with the 2024 Medical Journalism Award for his stories on Quebec’s emergency-room crisis.