Margo Goodhand

Margo Goodhand cut her teeth in journalism as a reporter -- where all good newspaperwomen start. But it was her climb up a very long ladder at the Winnipeg Free Press — from the graveyard shift on the copy desk to assistant city editor to Features Editor to Entertainment Editor to Deputy Editor — that shaped her into the trailblazer who led the newsroom into its digital age.

Goodhand became editor of Manitoba’s largest newsroom in 2007 — the first and only female editor in the paper’s 149-year history. Amid turbulent, revolutionary times for the media world, Goodhand shifted the Free Press to a 24/7 digital and print operation, while enhancing its reputation for innovation and excellence.

Her leadership refreshed and redefined the newsroom, earning recognition and awards on a national and international scale – including the nomination of an all-female Free Press team for the 2008 Governor General’s Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. In 2009, Goodhand accepted on behalf of the Free Press the “Excellence in Journalism” award from the Canadian Journalism Foundation, its highest award for broadcast, digital or print journalism.

Goodhand published North America’s first-ever “pink” newspaper in 2008 to increase awareness and to fund-raise for breast cancer research and opened up senior leadership positions to women. She created a bridge to the city’s Francophone community, publishing a weekly story en francais from La Liberte which continues to this day. And she earned a reputation for fearlessly defending her Free Press colleagues’ work, famously wading into an angry crowd of protesters one day to listen to their concerns — but also to state the newspaper would continue to report on contentious issues.

Goodhand left the Free Press in 2012 to track down and interview a remarkable set of Canadian trailblazers, the pioneer feminists of the 1970s who opened Canada’s first battered-women’s shelters. Their stories formed the heart of Goodhand’s Runaway Wives and Rogue Feminists: The Origins of the Women’s Shelter Movement in Canada (Fernwood, 2017).

The book won two Manitoba book awards, but more importantly documented the historical contribution of these previously unknown and unheralded women. They were recognized in the House of Commons in May 2019, given a standing ovation from the assembled legislators, and later thanked by the Prime Minister for their work and their legacy. One has since received an Order of Canada.

Goodhand was the editor of the Edmonton Journal from 2013-2016 and continues to contribute to Canadian journalism through her work as Chief Judge of the Michener Awards, and as a member of a federal advisory panel of journalists.

Among her accomplishments are Distinguished Alumna of the University of Winnipeg (2011); one of Chatelaine Magazine’s “Women We Love” (2008); YWCA Woman of Distinction (2008); a founder and member of Winnipeg’s Homelessness Task Force (2012). Past board work includes: The Winnipeg Art Gallery; John Dafoe Foundation; National Newspaper Board of Governors; Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council and advisory boards for the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba.

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