Emma Gilchrist Editor-in-chief The Narwhal

About us

We are The Narwhal.

Our team of investigative journalists dives deep to tell stories about Canada’s natural world you can’t find anywhere else.

We have just two rules: 1) Follow the facts. 2) Tell it like it is.

We’re tired of false dichotomies and business-as-usual perspectives. We’re not shy about the fact we think Canada’s greatest assets are our people, our lakes, our rivers, our forests. We tell stories Canada’s big news outlets miss and hustle to help our readers make sense of complex (sometimes downright messy) issues. As a non-profit online magazine, 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.

The Narwhal is a pioneer of non-profit journalism in Canada and is supported by more than 3,500 monthly members. In March 2021, The Narwhal became Canada’s first English-language registered journalism organization, which means all of our members and donors receive donation tax receipts. The Narwhal is also a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News, recognizing our adherence to strict standards of editorial independence and financial transparency. The Narwhal is a founding member of Press Forward, Canada’s association for independent media, and a proud partner organization of Covering Climate Now, a collaborative global journalism project to bring more coverage to climate issues.

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The Narwhal’s reporting is frequently cited in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC and others. Since launching in May 2018, The Narwhal has been the recipient of several awards. In 2021, The Narwhal won a World Press Freedom award, the Canadian Journalism Foundation’s Jackman Award, a photojournalism award from the Canadian Association of Journalists, four National Magazine Awards and three Digital Publishing Awards, including gold for general excellence. In 2020, photographer Amber Bracken was awarded the Charles Bury President’s Award by the Canadian Association of Journalists for her outstanding contributions to journalism in Canada for her coverage of the Wet’suwet’en crisis for The Narwhal.

DPA, NMA and CAJ award seals

Our History

The Narwhal was created by Carol Linnitt and Emma Gilchrist in 2018, and grew out of their previous project, DeSmog Canada.

Why The Narwhal?

Narwhals have intrigued explorers and scientists for hundreds of years. Indeed, just a few years ago, scientists discovered the narwhal’s tusk is actually highly sensitive like an antenna.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the narwhal was hunted for its tusk — which was more coveted as a magical unicorn horn than as the elongated tooth of a marine mammal. Whalers made a fortune selling horns while the rest of the world was duped into buying teeth.

The Narwhal is here to celebrate the truth, and to tell stories about the world around us — even if those stories sometimes dispel cherished myths. The Narwhal is here because there’s no such thing as unicorns.

Our commitment to more thoughtful, inclusive journalism

The storytellers in any society hold tremendous power. At The Narwhal, we recognize that this power represents both a privilege and a responsibility and we aim to use this power for the public good. 

To that end, we must recognize the inequities in Canadian media and in Canadian society at large. 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report recognized that Canada is a country built on cultural genocide. It stated “cultural genocide is the destruction of those structures and practices  that allow the group to continue as a group. States that engage in cultural genocide set out to destroy the political and social institutions of the targeted group. Land is seized and populations are forcibly transferred and their movement is restricted. Languages are banned. Spiritual leaders are persecuted, spiritual practices are forbidden, and objects of spiritual value are confiscated and destroyed … families are disrupted to prevent the transmission of cultural values and identity from one generation to the next. In its dealing with Aboriginal people, Canada did all these things.”

Canada’s colonial practices have far-reaching implications for newsrooms in Canada, which have long played a role in legitimizing abuses of power and cultural genocide.

The Narwhal recognizes that environmental journalism must be grounded in respect for Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous rights and must foreground Indigenous voices. 

The most recent Canadian study of diversity in journalism (from 2006) found that just 3.4 per cent of journalists in 37 newsrooms across the country were Indigenous or people of colour. As of 2016, these groups comprised more than 28 per cent of the Canadian population.

The Narwhal is committed to building a team that includes Indigenous voices and reflects the communities we serve. We take active measures to provide equal opportunity to people of all races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, gender identifications and abilities. We are also committed to fostering a welcoming culture that encourages flexibility and inclusion so all team members can fully contribute. 

As a small organization, we recognize some staff will undoubtedly carry an unfair burden if they are the sole representative of a marginalized group on The Narwhal’s team. We aim to avoid this where possible, but will also acknowledge when this does occur to mitigate the weight of these circumstances.

A diverse team enhances the relevance and substance of our journalism and is essential in fulfilling our mission to foster a deeper understanding of some of the most contentious issues of our time. 

The Narwhal endorses the calls to action on media diversity by Canadian Journalists of Colour and the Canadian Association of Black Journalists.

Our Team

Emma Gilchrist
Editor-in-Chief/Executive Director

Emma Gilchrist is a reporter, editor, public speaker and spreadsheet-keeper. She started her journalism career more than 15 years ago…

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Carol Linnitt
Executive Editor

Carol Linnitt is a journalist, editor and illustrator and co-founder of The Narwhal. Carol has been reporting on energy and…

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Mike De Souza
Managing Editor

Mike De Souza has covered politics for more than a decade, focusing in recent years on energy and environment policies…

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Arik Ligeti
Audience Engagement Editor

Arik Ligeti is The Narwhal’s audience engagement editor, with a focus on growing a dedicated community of members and readers.…

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Elaine Anselmi
Senior Editor

Elaine Anselmi is a writer, editor and unawarded champion bread-baker. She is a senior editor with The Narwhal, based in…

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Josie Kao
Assistant Editor

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

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Denise Balkissoon
Ontario Bureau Chief

Denise Balkissoon is based in her hometown of Toronto. She has been executive editor at Chatelaine, where she edited a…

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Sarah Cox
B.C. Investigative Reporter

Sarah Cox is an award-winning journalist and author based in Victoria, B.C. She has been covering energy and environmental politics…

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Stephanie Wood
B.C. Reporter

Steph Kwetásel'wet Wood is a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh journalist living and writing in North Vancouver. She writes stories about Indigenous rights, the…

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Sharon J. Riley
Alberta Investigative Reporter

Sharon is an award-winning journalist based in Edmonton. Her writing has also been published by The Walrus, Harper’s, The Tyee…

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Matt Simmons
Northwest B.C. Reporter

Matt Simmons is a writer and editor based in Smithers, B.C., unceded Gidimt’en clan territory, home of the Wet'suwet'en/Witsuwit’en Nation.…

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Emma McIntosh
Ontario Reporter

Emma McIntosh is a reporter based in Toronto who really likes being outside. She started her career in newspapers, working…

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Fatima Syed
Ontario Reporter

Fatima Syed is a Toronto-based freelance journalist. She has worked for The Walrus, the Toronto Star, The Logic and National…

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Safeena Dhalla
Director of Operations & Impact

Safeena Dhalla is a strategic leader with ten years of experience leading teams and complex projects in fast-paced, collaborative environments.…

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Board of Directors

Tanya Talaga

Tanya Talaga has been a journalist at the Toronto Star for 20 years, covering everything from general city news to…

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Alex Himelfarb

Alex Himelfarb was a senior executive with the federal government for almost 30 years, serving in a number of departments…

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Candis Callison

Candis Callison is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at UBC. Her research and teaching are focused…

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Faisal Moola

Faisal Moola, PhD, is an associate professor in the department of geography, environment and geomatics at the University of Guelph…

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Lauren Eckert

Lauren Eckert is a conservation scientist, adventure enthusiast and PhD candidate at the University of Victoria. Lauren’s early research experiences…

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Ziya Tong

Award-winning broadcaster Ziya Tong anchored Daily Planet, Discovery Channel’s flagship science program, until its final season in 2018. Tong also…

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Get in Touch with us

We're always happy to get tips, links and story ideas from our readers.
Donors Get in touch about your donation donations@thenarwhal.ca
Tips Send us your story ideas editor@thenarwhal.ca
Media Inquiries Journalists should contact emma@thenarwhal.ca
Mailing Address Suite 634
185 - 911 Yates St.
Victoria, BC, V8V 4Y9
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