Jack (Sig) Sigvaldason, who has worked in the North as a reporter, editor and publisher for more than 40 years, will be awarded the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement award at the 15th annual Awards Gala in Toronto on June 7, 2012.
Sigvaldason had a career in advertising, public relations and editorial—including opening his own ad agency–in Winnipeg before moving his family to Yellowknife to work as the editor of News of the North. In 1971, after antagonizing various levels of government, advertisers and local communities, he was fired—only to start up the Yellowknifer (now celebrating its 40th year) and subsequently, Northern News Services, which publishes seven community newspapers. His success eventually allowed him to buy the newspaper that fired him and rename it News/North.
Sigvaldason joins a distinguished group of CJF Lifetime Achievement Award winners. Past recipients include: Patrick Brown, Lise Bissonnette, Joe Schlesinger, Sally Armstrong, Norman Webster, Knowlton Nash, Pierre Berton (posthumous), June Callwood, Doris Anderson, Trina McQueen, Doug Creighton, Mark Starowicz, Bernard Derome, Peter C. Newman, Peter Gzowski and Robert Fulford.
“Jack Sigvaldason has made an unprecedented contribution to journalism in Canada as publisher of Northern News Services , seven independent papers which have been recognized as the best community newspapers in Canada,” says Valerie Pringle, one of the jurors and long-time program host and television journalist at CBC and CTV. “The fact that he created this feisty, profitable mini newspaper empire in the NWT and Nunavut serving 60,000 people in two languages (English and Inuktitut) over an area of 1.5 million square miles is a massive achievement and the centerpiece of a 50 year career.”