Fairy Lake at the base of the Fairy Creek Watershed

The Narwhal nominated for four Canadian Association of Journalists awards

From the Wet’suwet’en crisis in B.C. to the COVID-19 pandemic’s tear through Ontario greenhouses, our publication couldn’t be happier to see critical stories recognized

The Narwhal is ringing in the early days of media awards season with four nominations from the Canadian Association of Journalists, as judges recognize our team’s on-the-ground coverage from Fairy Creek to Wet’suwet’en territory to the farmlands of southern Ontario.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to receive these nominations for our team’s reporting, especially knowing the dedication it takes to pull off these kinds of brave and in-depth stories,” The Narwhal’s executive editor Carol Linnitt said. 

“From Hilary Beaumont’s investigation into migrant worker conditions in Ontario to Sarah Cox’s feature on the Pacheedaht First Nation’s relationship with Fairy Creek, these sensitive and complicated reporting projects take months to complete and require a tremendous amount of editorial support. The reason our team is able to conduct this kind of reporting is because of the thousands of amazing people who support us as monthly members. They’re the unsung heroes of these nominations!”

Cox’s feature, detailing the Pacheedaht First Nation’s stand on the Fairy Creek logging blockades on Vancouver Island, has received a nomination for environment and climate change reporting.

Recognizing that most coverage of Fairy Creek was centred around the blockades themselves, Cox managed to get a first-hand view of why the Pacheedaht’s elected leadership opposes the blockaders and how the nation is seeking to assert its rights and restore damaged habitat. The resulting story, which is complemented by striking photos from Taylor Roades, captures the complexities of Fairy Creek, logging and the management of B.C.’s old-growth forests.

In the photojournalism category, Amber Bracken was named a finalist for her work documenting the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and their fight against TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline. Bracken was present as armed RCMP officers conducted raids against land defenders on Wet’suwet’en territory in northwest B.C., police actions that saw more than a dozen arrested at gunpoint. 

Bracken and documentary filmmaker Michael Toledano were among those jailed and charged, with Coastal GasLink eventually dropping those charges following public outcry over efforts to stifle press freedom.

“It’s a worrying trend that it’s becoming more common these days for journalists to face arrest for doing their job,” Linnitt said. “Seeing Amber recognized by the Canadian Association of Journalists for the photos she made during that time of high conflict feels especially meaningful.”

Our Wet’suwet’en coverage was also recently recognized by the Canadian Journalism Foundation, which named The Narwhal a finalist for the Jackman Award for excellence in journalism.

In the Canadian Association of Journalists’ labour reporting category, judges recognized The Narwhal’s investigative feature on the plight of migrant farmworkers amid the COVID-19 pandemic as one of their selections.

Beaumont spent months speaking with more than 30 migrant workers and filed freedom of information requests to uncover a story of failures in government oversight and company operations that put these workers — already in precarious situations — at heightened risk during a global pandemic. Photographer Christopher Katsarov Luna’s imagery from inside the cramped bunkhouses offer a jarring portrait of the people Canadians rely on to stock their grocery shelves. Editors Denise Balkissoon, Mike De Souza, Arik Ligeti, Elaine Anselmi and Carol Linnitt were also nominated for their work behind the scenes to pull off the multimedia feature.

Stephanie Wood
The Narwhal’s B.C. reporter, Stephanie Kwetásel’wet Wood, was named a finalist for the Canadian Association of Journalists’ emerging Indigenous journalist award for the second time. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh reporter Stephanie Wood was named a finalist for the CAJ’s emerging Indigenous journalist award for the second year in a row. Wood’s recent work has included a feature on a community forest charting new territory for climate action, the First Nations who have gone to court to stand up for their rights and repair broken landscapes, and a first-person view on what reconciliation should look like for settler Canadians.

Ontario reporter Emma McIntosh, B.C. bureau lead Lindsay Sample and managing editor De Souza also received nominations for their stellar work prior to joining The Narwhal’s pod.

The Narwhal’s journalism has been nominated alongside commendable work from journalists across the country. 

In addition to Wood, finalists for the emerging Indigenous journalist award include APTN’s Shushan Bacon and TVO’s Charnel Anderson.

For labour reporting, nominations include a team from CBC Radio One – Ideas and pieces by Inori Roy and Tahmeed Shafiq in The Local.

In the photojournalism category, Bracken is up against Ben Nelms, Cole Burston, Nathan Denette and Darryl Dyck.

In the environment and climate change category, finalists include Michelle Gamage and Sean Holman at The Tyee, Pierre St-Arnaud at La Presse Canadienne and a team from CBC British Columbia.

Like a kid in a candy store
When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?
Like a kid in a candy store
When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?

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