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The Narwhal is ringing in its 5th birthday. Help us celebrate

As The Narwhal turns five today, I’m giving thanks to the thousands of members who make our journalism possible

Editor’s note: We’re chuffed to see the love and support our newest members showed us — and grabbed the last few copies of our annual print edition. We’d love to welcome more readers to this thriving news ecosystem, but we’re all out of this year’s magazines!


It’s uncomfortable, how fragile we can become when we enter into a state of hope. 

With cynicism, there’s a certain invincibility one gets to enjoy. But when you allow yourself to dream — to truly, desirously dream — your vulnerability becomes unavoidable.

I’m reflecting on the uncomfortable stakes of hope as The Narwhal celebrates its fifth birthday. Thinking back to the moments just before we launched this audacious new publication (a non-profit online magazine focused exclusively on the environment? Good luck!) actually makes my heart race to this day. 

Looking back at this screenshot of a conversation between me and The Narwhal’s co-founder, Emma Gilchrist, from April 16, 2018, the day we officially created The Narwhal News Society, gives me a shot of nervous excitement:

Screengrab of a Slack conversation: Emma Gilchrist: "Are you SURE you want to do this?! *Deep Breaths*" Carol Linnitt: "ha ha ha ha, I've never been SO SURE! I'm sure I'm sure." Emma: "Oh phew, I kinda needed to hear you say that." Carol: "Are you sure?" Emma: "I'm sure. It's just so nervewracking. Ha!" Carol: "I know! It's kind of a big deal."

There was no way of knowing then what we know today, which is that thousands of other people shared our same dream. And those thousands were willing to join to make the dream of non-profit, member-driven, public-interest journalism a reality.

It almost gives me whiplash to fast-forward and look at what, together, we’ve built today: 

  • The Narwhal is now a bustling pod of 24 staff 
  • Our team has consistently swept the awards circuit, taking home gold for not only environment reporting, but photojournalism, investigations, digital design and labour and human rights reporting
  • In the last year we’ve partnered with the Toronto Star, The Weather Network, VICE World News, CTV, the Winnipeg Free Press and others
  • In the last half-year alone, our team has filed more than 230 freedom of information requests all across the country and is at the forefront of the nation’s reporting on Indigenous-led conservation, species at risk and mining
  • In the last three months we’ve had reporters on the ground in places as far-flung as Windsor, Ont., Kitimat, B.C., Fort Chipewyan, Alta., and Vivian, Man.

None of this happened on the shoulders of hope alone. It’s taken a momentous outpouring of public generosity — a miracle of sorts — to arrive at this incredible place just five years into The Narwhal’s existence.

More than 6,000 individuals donated to The Narwhal last year to make all of this magic happen, helping us become one of the fastest-growing member-funded media organizations in the country. 

It’s thanks to our members that our 2023 print magazine — available to anyone who becomes a Narwhal today — is packed with award-nominated stories about everything from the true history of Prairie farming to the end of an Alberta community to one First Nation’s long journey home.

When I reflect on those early days of The Narwhal, when it was still just a glimmer of hope on the media horizon, I can recall how painful it was to hear the voices of critics. Emma and I were told The Narwhal was not practical, it was too cute, too flippant, too idealistic, not possible. 

And the thing that proved them all wrong? You. Our readers. And in particular our members — the everyday people across Canada who are so inspired by the importance of high-quality, high-stakes journalism they’re willing to throw their hat into the ring with us. 

Will you become a member today? And as a huge bonus, anyone who joins our pod today will receive a copy of our Narwhal print edition, hot off the presses.

As we cast our minds forward to what we can accomplish in the next five years, we’re again ready to embrace the fragility and vulnerability that comes with the dream of The Narwhal. And it’s once again we remember the thousands of people who have our backs. We hope you’ll become one of them today.

Take care and keep the dream alive,

Carol Linnitt
Executive editor

P.S. Our members are the unsung heroes behind our biggest investigations and most ambitious storytelling. Become a Narwhal today to support the blockbuster investigations of tomorrow and we’ll send you a copy of our limited-edition 2023 print magazine! 

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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