It feels like just yesterday when The Narwhal set out on a mission to report on the natural world in Ontario. On Tuesday, that effort was recognized by the Canadian Journalism Foundation, which awarded The Narwhal with this year’s CJF-Meta Journalism Project Digital News Innovation Award.

“The Narwhal manages to nail it: strong journalism, an innovative approach and undeniable impact,” jury chair Susan Harada, a journalism professor at Carleton University, said.

The jury celebrated The Narwhal’s secret sauce for this eastward expansion: our fundraising efforts to connect with readers who ultimately made this dream a reality.

“Building a bureau from scratch really gave us a chance to think about what was missing when it came to environmental coverage in Ontario,” bureau chief Denise Balkissoon said. “And it’s been really gratifying to have people respond so positively by reading our stories in droves and becoming members of The Narwhal.”

In addition to a growing cohort of members, The Narwhal’s Ontario expansion has been made possible thanks to support from the Metcalf Foundation, McConnell Foundation and Echo Foundation.

Readers have been coming to The Narwhal to dive into the work of Ontario reporters Emma McIntosh and Fatima Syed, who have been diligently documenting the Doug Ford government’s environmental cuts — breaking stories on everything from Ontario’s Greenbelt to the controversial Bill 23.

Farmlands in the Greenbelt region of King County
Fatima and Emma were also nominated for an award from the Canadian Association of Journalists for their authoritative coverage of environmental reforms introduced by the Ontario government as part of its housing plan. Photo: Christopher Katsarov Luna / The Narwhal

Emma’s work, which took a deep dive into the developers who would benefit from changes to Greenbelt protections, kicked off a series of investigations into Greenbelt land sales.

That body of dogged reporting, done in collaboration with our friends at the Toronto Star, was also named a finalist for the Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism by the Canadian Journalism Foundation.

Photojournalist Dustin Patar’s work capturing a fading Arctic icescape, published in The Narwhal, won the foundation’s inaugural Edward Burtynsky Award for climate photojournalism.

We’ve got big plans for 2024
Seeking out climate solutions, big and small. Investigating the influence of oil and gas lobbyists. Holding leaders accountable for protecting the natural world.

The Narwhal’s reporting team is busy unearthing important environmental stories you won’t read about anywhere else in Canada. And we’ll publish it all without corporate backers, ads or a paywall.

How? Because of the support of a tiny fraction of readers like you who make our independent, investigative journalism free for all to read.

Will you join more than 6,000 members helping us pull off critical reporting this year?
We’ve got big plans for 2024
Seeking out climate solutions, big and small. Investigating the influence of oil and gas lobbyists. Holding leaders accountable for protecting the natural world.

The Narwhal’s reporting team is busy unearthing important environmental stories you won’t read about anywhere else in Canada. And we’ll publish it all without corporate backers, ads or a paywall.

How? Because of the support of a tiny fraction of readers like you who make our independent, investigative journalism free for all to read.

Will you join more than 6,000 members helping us pull off critical reporting this year?

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