Veteran journalist Bob Johnstone, producer of CBC radio’s syndicated column “Today in History,” was honoured November 23, 1998 in Toronto with the 1998 Pierre Berton Award for distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history.
Johnston, the fifth recipient of the award since its inception in 1994, began producing the daily three-minute segments for radio in the early 1980s on an occasional basis, but they proved so popular with listeners that by the mid-1980s they were instituted as a regular feature on CBC. Each segment examines a historic event for the calendar day, marrying quirky, humorous, infamous, or little-known events from history to Johnstone’s casual, engaging storytelling manner. Heard by hundreds of thousands of Canadians daily, the vignettes in Today In History have also been collected in a book of the same title.
Johnstone joined CBC radio news in 1974 after reporting stints for the Toronto Telegram, Canadian Press, and the Toronto Star. He has been a cohost of CBC’s The Fifth Estate as well as a political commentator and radio news instructor.
The Society received twenty-five nominations for the 1998 award, including writers, filmmakers, academics, publications, institutions and organizations. The award was presented to Johnstone by Pierre Berton in the Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto.