The Narwhal's Ontario reporter Emma McIntosh

The Narwhal earns 14 nominations at Digital Publishing Awards, five at National Magazine Awards

From features to photo essays, digital design to newsletters, we’ve punched above our weight in picking up a boatload of award nominations this week

Judges for Canada’s Digital Publishing Awards have recognized The Narwhal with 14 nominations — the second-most of any news organization — just two days after our work earned five finalist selections at the National Magazine Awards.

Highlights from the Digital Publishing Awards include a whopping four Narwhal nominations in the best feature article category, three selections for our multimedia piece on the conservation work of Indigenous Guardians and an emerging excellence nomination for Ontario reporter Emma McIntosh.

At the National Magazine Awards, The Narwhal’s photojournalism earned two nominations while a feature on the plight of endangered plovers garnered two nods of its own.

“The Narwhal is a small publication on the Canadian media landscape but these nominations show we punch far above our weight,” said Carol Linnitt, co-founder and executive editor of The Narwhal. “The reason we’re able to pull off such high-quality reporting is because of the thousands of individuals who generously support our non-profit newsroom and the award-winning work our team is known for.”

Investigating problems. Exploring solutions
The Narwhal’s reporters are telling environment stories you won’t read about anywhere else. Stay in the loop by signing up for a weekly dose of independent journalism.
Investigating problems. Exploring solutions
The Narwhal’s reporters are telling environment stories you won’t read about anywhere else. Stay in the loop by signing up for a weekly dose of independent journalism.

The Narwhal’s 14 nominations at the Digital Publishing Awards, including one for a co-production with the Winnipeg Free Press, matched the tally for Radio-Canada, while The Globe and Mail led the pack with 24. Independent outlets, including our friends at The Local and The Tyee, were among those to be named finalists for general excellence in digital publishing.

In addition to this week’s nominations, The Narwhal is also up for four National Newspaper Awards at a gala this Friday. Last month, we took home an award for human rights reporting from the Canadian Association of Journalists, while the Canadian Journalism Foundation awarded us for our digital innovation.

“These days, we often hear there is no appetite for in-depth and longform journalism, especially about difficult topics like the environment,” Linnitt said. “But our audience and our members prove that wrong. Everyday people are actually the unsung heroes behind these awards and nominations.”

Here’s a rundown of our nominations at the Digital Publishing Awards and National Magazine Awards.

The Narwhal’s Digital Publishing Awards nominations

Best Digital Editorial Package

Jimmy Thomson’s data-driven feature, on the Indigenous Guardians reinforcing sovereignty and science along the coast of B.C., was recognized here and in two other categories. The immersive piece, a true team effort packed with visuals and an interactive map, was made possible with support from the Pulitzer Center and Humber College.

Contributors: Jimmy Thomson, Carol Linnitt, Shawn Parkinson, Arik Ligeti, Ashley Tam

Our Indigenous guardians feature saw reporter Jimmy Thomson visit Wuikinuxv territory, including The Big House — the ceremonial centre of the village.
Journalist Jimmy Thomson visited Wuikinuxv territory to report out his feature on Indigenous guardians. The Big House is the ceremonial centre of the Wuikinuxv village. Photo: Jimmy Thomson / The Narwhal

Best Feature Article 

Reporter Ashley Okwuosa was nominated for her on-the-ground reporting about a former General Motors plant in St. Catharines leaking toxic chemicals. (Contributors: Ramona Leitao, Denise Balkissoon, Mike De Souza)

The Narwhal’s Prairies reporter Drew Anderson earned a nod for his piece on the town of Lehigh, a flood-prone Alberta community that is being shuttered amid the worsening effects of climate change. (Contributors: Leah Hennel, Sharon J. Riley, Emma Gilchrist)

Thomson’s interactive feature on Indigenous guardians was also nominated here. (Contributors: Carol Linnitt, Shawn Parkinson, Arik Ligeti, Ashley Tam)

Manitoba reporter Julia-Simone Rutgers, whose joint position at The Narwhal and the Winnipeg Free Press is made possible with support from the Winnipeg Foundation, was nominated for her feature on residents of Peguis First Nation facing an impossible choice as they tackled another major flood. (Contributors: Aaron Vincent Elkaim, Mike De Souza, Scott Gibbons)

Best Feature Article (Short)

Northwest B.C. reporter Matt Simmons garnered a nod for his piece capturing a Wet’suwet’en celebration of the return of salmon during precarious times for the keystone species — a story that was later republished on The Weather Network.

Contributors: Lindsay Sample, Emma Gilchrist

Best Feature Article (Long) 

Ainslie Cruickshank’s cross-border reporting, on how Canadian coal mines threaten fish at the heart of communities from B.C. to Idaho, was nominated in the long feature category. Read more about how the piece came together.

Contributors: Carol Linnitt, Jesse Winter, Emma Gilchrist

Reporter Ainslie Cruickshank speaking with Erin Sexton, a research scientist at the University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station, on the Koocanusa Reservoir just above Libby Dam.
Reporter Ainslie Cruickshank speaks with Erin Sexton, a research scientist at the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station, on the Koocanusa Reservoir just above Libby Dam in Montana. Photo: Jesse Winter / The Narwhal

Best Personal Essay 

Agriculture journalist Jay Whetter was nominated for his story in The Narwhal reflecting on his family farm and the long history of Indigenous people who shaped farming on the Prairies.

The Narwhal’s editor-in-chief, Emma Gilchrist, was nominated for her piece in The Globe and Mail on the harrowing, heartbreaking reality of terminating a pregnancy for medical reasons.

Best Arts & Culture Storytelling

Simmons also picked up a nod for his look at how an oily fish is connecting Nisg̱a’a youth to the land.

Contributors: Marty Clemens, Lindsay Sample, Emma Gilchrist

Best Service Feature

Simmons and art director Shawn Parkinson were nominated for visual explainer mapping the complicated truth about pipelines crossing Wet’suwet’en territory.

Contributors: Lindsay Sample, Arik Ligeti

Best Digital Design 

The Narwhal picked up a nomination for best digital design for its website, including the presentation work that went into Thomson’s feature on Indigenous Guardians.

Contributors: Jimmy Thomson, Emma Gilchrist, Carol Linnitt, Christian Desjardins, Arik Ligeti, Shawn Parkinson, Ashley Tam

Best Photo Storytelling

Photojournalist Dustin Patar and editor Elaine Anselmi were nominated for a stunning look at a search for answers after a giant Arctic ice shelf collapse. Patar also won the CJF-Edward Burtynsky Award for Climate Photojournalism for his Arctic work.

Best Editorial Newsletter

The Narwhal’s 2022 Ontario election newsletter, Political Climate, earned a nomination for best editorial newsletter. Penned by Ontario bureau chief Denise Balkissoon, the limited-run newsletter was a massive team effort.

Contributors: Denise Balkissoon, Shawn Parkinson, Emma McIntosh, Fatima Syed, Arik Ligeti, Karan Saxena, Mike De Souza, Elaine Anselmi

Emerging Excellence Award

Ontario reporter Emma McIntosh was named as a finalist for the Emerging Excellence Award for her commitment to bringing climate stories to the forefront in the province, while working collaboratively to break big investigations.

The Narwhal’s National Magazine Awards nominations

Long-Form Feature Writing

Ontario reporter Fatima Syed was nominated for her captivating feature on the plover, a tiny and endangered bird in the crosshairs of a conflict between nature and tourism at Sauble Beach. 

Contributors: Denise Balkissoon, Elaine Anselmi

An illustration of giant piping plovers on a beach surrounded by tiny humans
Our piece on endangered piping plovers earned nominations for long-form feature writing and illustration at the National Magazine Awards. Illustration: Hayden Maynard / The Narwhal

Feature Writing

McIntosh was nominated here too for a feature on the plight of the last, lonely caribou of Lake Superior.

Contributors: Denise Balkissoon, Emma Gilchrist

Illustration

Illustrator Hayden Maynard was nominated for his clever work capturing the plovers and tourists at Sauble Beach.

Photo Essay & Photojournalism

Ian Willms’ profound witnessing of the life and death of Warren Simpson — and the impacts of Alberta’s oil industry on the people of Fort Chipewyan — was nominated here. Willms recently won a human rights reporting award for this piece. 

Patar was also nominated at the National Magazine Awards for his piece on a fading Arctic icescape.

Long-Form Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting

Narwhal editor Michelle Cyca was nominated twice, in the long-form feature writing (6,000-plus words) and investigative reporting categories, for her cover story in Maclean’s on the curious case of Gina Adams.

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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