Emery Phillips Taseko Tsilhqot'in Nation New Prosperity mine

The Narwhal named finalist for three 2020 Webster Awards

Our team's in-depth and investigative journalism is being recognized for excellence in legal, business and environment reporting

The Narwhal has been named a finalist for three 2020 Webster Awards, which recognizes excellence in B.C. journalism, for stories detailing the impacts of workplace abuse out at sea, the consequences of logging in a rare inland rainforest and a decade-long battle against a proposed mine.

Carol Linnitt, co-founder and managing editor at The Narwhal, said it is an honour for the publication to be recognized by the province’s journalism community in the first year it submitted entries.

The Narwhal’s members deserve much of the credit, Linnitt said.

“These nominations are yet another reason to express gratitude to our monthly members who really make the kind of resource-intensive journalism we do possible. We truly wouldn’t be able to do it without the more than 1,800 people who give to support The Narwhal each month.”

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The resources that The Narwhal puts into its stories are evident in the pieces that were nominated.

An investigation by Jimmy Thomson was named a finalist in the “excellence in business, industry, labour and economics reporting” category. Thomson spent months looking into the culture of intimidation and harassment in B.C.’s trawl fishing industry. He spoke with 11 current or former at-sea observers about the abuse they faced trying to keep fisheries accountable.

Jon Eis Fisheries observer The Narwhal

Fisheries observers are responsible for monitoring bycatch on industrial trawlers off the B.C. coast. Many of these individuals feel not enough is being done to protect them from intimidation and harassment while at sea. “It’s a very dangerous thing for observers to be out there,” one whistleblower told The Narwhal. “You’re out there alone, often without cell service or contact.” Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal

The Narwhal’s B.C. reporter Sarah Cox was nominated in the “excellence in science, technology, health and environment reporting” category for her longform feature on Canada’s forgotten rainforest. The piece was edited by Editor-in-Chief Emma Gilchrist and accompanied by photos from Taylor Roades, both of whom were also recognized in the nomination.

The feature, which explored the risks facing a rare inland temperate rainforest being logged as fast as the Amazon, was also a finalist at this year’s Digital Publishing Awards, where Roades’ photos Roades garnered a silver medal.

Michelle Connolly, forest ecologist and director of Conservation North, a non-profit society created by Prince George scientists. Connolly was photographed by Taylor Roades for The Narwhal’s feature Canada’s forgotten rainforest, now a finalist for a Webster award. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal

In the “excellence in legal journalism” category, Linnitt, Gilchrist, reporter Judith Lavoie and photographer Louis Bockner were nominated for The Narwhal’s in-depth reporting on the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s 12-year battle against the proposed New Prosperity mine. Our team’s reporting included news articles, a visually rich on-the-ground feature and a descriptive timeline of the protracted legal process that spanned numerous government agencies.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently rejected an appeal from mining company Taseko, putting a likely (but not guaranteed) end to the protracted legal battle over a project that threatened a lake of profound cultural and spiritual significance for the Tsilhqot’in.

Lavoie and Bockner’s feature also received a silver medal in the feature writing category at the 2020 Digital Publishing Awards. 

Xeni Gwet'in chief Jimmy Lulua Louis Bockner Taseko New Prosperity Tsilhqot’in Nation

Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua sits in a pit house built as part of the Xeni Gwet’in traditional village near the shores of Chilko Lake in the Nemiah Valley. The Narwhal has provided in-depth coverage of Taseko’s proposed New Prosperity copper and gold mine, which has been rejected by the Supreme Court. Photo: Louis Bockner / The Narwhal

The Websters celebrate achievements in print, radio and podcasts, television and online media in British Columbia. The Narwhal is up against the Vancouver Sun, CTV Vancouver and Hakai Magazine. The winners of the 2020 Webster Awards will be announced on Dec. 8 during an online ceremony.

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You’ve read all the way to the bottom of this article. That makes you some serious Narwhal material.

And since you’re here, we have a favour to ask. Our independent, ad-free journalism is made possible because the people who value our work also support it (did we mention our stories are free for all to read, not just those who can afford to pay?).

As a non-profit, reader-funded news organization, our goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. And at a time when most news organizations have been laying off reporters, we’ve hired eight journalists over the past year.

Not only are we filling a void in environment coverage, but we’re also telling stories differently — by centring Indigenous voices, by building community and by doing it all as a people-powered, non-profit outlet supported by more than 2,500 members

The truth is we wouldn’t be here without you. Every single one of you who reads and shares our articles is a crucial part of building a new model for Canadian journalism that puts people before profit.

We know that these days the world’s problems can feel a *touch* overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like what we do doesn’t make any difference, but becoming a member of The Narwhal is one small way you truly can make a difference.

We’ve drafted a plan to make 2021 our biggest year yet, but we need your support to make it all happen.

If you believe news organizations should report to their readers, not advertisers or shareholders, please become a monthly member of The Narwhal today for any amount you can afford.

Josie Kao is a journalist currently based in Toronto but with loyalties to Vancouver. She has previously worked at The…

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