Oolichan_Youth_Science_Camp_2022-10

The Narwhal wins eight 2023 Digital Publishing Awards

Judges recognized reporter Emma McIntosh for work that has ‘made politicians and policymakers sit up and take notice’ as The Narwhal jointly led the media pack at the national awards ceremony

Our pod at The Narwhal is celebrating eight 2023 Digital Publishing Awards, including the prestigious emerging excellence award for Ontario reporter Emma McIntosh, after an awards ceremony in Toronto last Friday.

The eight medals, which included four golds and four silvers, put our independent media outlet in a tie with Radio-Canada and its journalism lab for the most awards of any news organization in Canada. And on the same evening, The Narwhal also took home a gold at the National Magazine Awards.

In awarding the emerging excellence prize, the Digital Publishing Awards jury praised McIntosh for the impact of her reporting, including investigations into the Ford government’s cuts to the Greenbelt.

“Her reporting for The Narwhal has made politicians and policymakers sit up and take notice,” the jury wrote. “And at a time when many of us are probably experiencing climate fatigue, she’s making readers sit up and take notice too. Her reporting could serve as a model for how to do journalism that stands out in an age of information overload. And we can’t wait to see what she does next.”

The Narwhal's Emma McIntosh is seen in a field
Judges said Emma McIntosh’s reporting could serve as an example of how to do impactful journalism that “stands out in an age of information overload.” Photo: Christopher Katsarov Luna / The Narwhal

The Narwhal’s turnout at the Digital Publishing Awards points to the impact of non-profit, reader-funded journalism, executive editor Carol Linnitt said. “Our team is tiny when compared to traditional newsrooms across Canada and these awards show the outsized influence a relatively small player can have in the journalism industry.” 

“The Narwhal exists to serve the public interest and we have passion to make public-interest reporting impactful, beautiful and award-worthy. We are so proud of our team for their diligence and it’s incredible to see their work — and the work of the talented freelancers we collaborate with — acknowledged by our peers in this way.”

The Narwhal’s seven other medals at the awards gala spanned everything from feature storytelling to photography to design.

Our interactive, data-driven spotlight of the work of Indigenous Guardians, penned by reporter Jimmy Thomson, took home the gold medal for best feature article. The story, and The Narwhal’s online presentation, also won silver for best digital design.

Northwest B.C. reporter Matt Simmons’ feature on a fish camp connecting Nisg̱a’a youth to the land won gold in the arts and culture storytelling category.

Water testing with Nisga'a youth
Kate Mussett with UBC’s Centre for Indigenous Fisheries teaches Nisga’a youth how to test water samples as part of a three-day oolichan science camp. Photo: Marty Clemens / The Narwhal

Photojournalist Dustin Patar and Narwhal editor Elaine Anselmi won gold for best photo storytelling for capturing the work of scientists making sense of a fading Arctic landscape.

The Narwhal’s feature reporting was recognized with silver medals in three separate categories. Manitoba reporter Julia-Simone Rutgers, whose position is part of a partnership with the Winnipeg Free Press, won for her piece about Peguis First Nation’s battles with floods, tying for silver with The Globe and Mail. Biodiversity reporter Ainslie Cruickshank won in the long feature category for her cross-border look at the environmental impacts of B.C. coal mining in both Canada and the U.S. And Simmons also took home a silver for his short feature on a Wet’suwet’en salmon celebration.

In addition to the eight Digital Publishing Awards, The Narwhal also took home a gold medal Friday at the National Magazine Awards in the photo essay and photojournalism category. Ian Willms was recognized for his piece in The Narwhal capturing the life and death of Warren Simpson, a man who worked in the oilsands and believed his rare cancer was caused by pollution from industry.

“The Narwhal is one of Canada’s leading non-profit newsrooms and the reason we are able to produce such high-quality journalism is thanks to our generous members,” Linnitt said. “More than 6,000 individuals donated to The Narwhal last year and they should all take pride in these national awards. We couldn’t do our work at this calibre without them.”

The Narwhal’s work was also recognized with four honourable mentions at the National Magazine Awards and another six at the Digital Publishing Awards.

Other big winners at the Digital Publishing Awards included CBC with seven awards and The Globe and Mail with six. Winners also included fellow independent outlets such as The Local, which took home general excellence in digital publishing for small publications, while Xtra Magazine won in the medium category. The Globe won for general excellence for large publishers.

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?

See similar stories

Conservation chronicles: Sarah Cox dives into the heart of wildlife protection in her new book

In her new book Signs of Life: Field Notes from the Frontlines of Extinction award-winning journalist Sarah Cox takes readers on a journey across Canada:...

Continue reading

Recent Posts

Thousands of members make The Narwhal’s independent journalism possible. Will you help power our work in 2024?
Will you help power our journalism in 2024?
That means our newsletter has become the most important way we connect with Narwhal readers like you. Will you join the nearly 90,000 subscribers getting a weekly dose of in-depth climate reporting?
A line chart in green font colour with the title "Our Facebook traffic has cratered." Chart shows about 750,000 users via Facebook in 2019, 1.2M users in 2020, 500,000 users in 2021, 250,000 users in 2022, 100,000 users in 2023.
Readers used to find us on Facebook. Now we’re blocked
That means our newsletter has become the most important way we connect with Narwhal readers like you. Will you join the nearly 90,000 subscribers getting a weekly dose of in-depth climate reporting?
A line chart in green font colour with the title "Our Facebook traffic has cratered." Chart shows about 750,000 users via Facebook in 2019, 1.2M users in 2020, 500,000 users in 2021, 250,000 users in 2022, 100,000 users in 2023.
Readers used to find us on Facebook. Now we’re blocked
Overlay Image