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13 national award nominations honour The Narwhal’s impactful work

Investigations, photojournalism and other reporting from 2023 have been recognized by the Digital Publishing Awards and Canadian Journalism Foundation

The Narwhal has earned over a dozen new nominations for national awards from the Digital Publishing Awards and Canadian Journalism Foundation.

“These nominations speak to the breadth of The Narwhal’s work over the past year, from innovative digital designs and newsletters to breathtaking photojournalism and groundbreaking investigations,” The Narwhal’s editor-in-chief Emma Gilchrist said. “We are so proud of our talented and dedicated team for pulling off such impactful work and we owe a debt of gratitude to every single person who reads and shares our work and supports our journalism by becoming a member or making a one-time donation.”

Details of the new honours were unveiled about a week after the Canadian Association of Journalists announced a flurry of nominations for The Narwhal for the annual CAJ awards.

Here’s a rundown of our team’s latest nominations.

Canadian Journalism Foundation Jackman Award

The Narwhal’s Ontario reporter Emma McIntosh was nominated for the Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism as part of a team that also included Noor Javed, Sheila Wang and Charlie Pinkerton from the Toronto Star for groundbreaking reporting on the Greenbelt scandal in Ontario. They were nominated in the “large media” category alongside other work from The Canadian Press, Global News, The Globe and Mail and the Winnipeg Free Press.

Digital Publishing Awards 

The Narwhal received 12 nominations for work published by over 20 journalists, in a range of categories. Several Narwhals were recognized in multiple categories. These include:

Best Editorial Package

Illustration of British Columbia, Caribou, Salmon, and two people digging clams.
Illustrator Karlene Harvey was among those recognized as part of The Narwhal’s nomination for a series on Indigenous food sovereignty.

Steph Kwetásel’wet Wood, Lindsay Sample, Michelle Cyca, Shawn Pakinson, Jesse Winter and Karlene Harvey were nominated in the small publication category for Nourish, a series about food sovereignty for First Nations. Five other outlets were also nominated in this category: MAJ, Mordu, Pivot, The Local and Xtra Magazine.

Best News Coverage

The Narwhal’s Emma McIntosh and team from the Toronto Star including Noor Javed, Charlie Pinkerton, Sheila Wang, Robert Benzie, Jesse McLean and Brendan Kennedy were nominated for their coverage of the Ontario Greenbelt scandal. 

The Narwhal’s Matt Simmons, Lindsay Sample, Shawn Parkinson and Marty Clemens also received a nomination in this category for coverage of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Journalists from CBC Montreal, Radio-Canada, The Globe and Mail and The Star also had other coverage nominated in this category.

Best Topical Reporting: Climate Change

Sarah Cox’s investigative piece on disappearing caribou as part of a team entry with Carol Linnitt, Lindsay Sample, Karan Saxena and Shawn Parkinson was a finalist in this category alongside other reporting by Canadian Geographic, CBC, Hakai Magazine, Le Devoir, National Observer, Ricochet Media, IndigiNews Media and the Real News Network, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.

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.

Best Feature Article

Francesca Fionda’s unique feature on the exciting world of slug racing was nominated alongside other finalists from 24 heures, Global News, Hakai Magazine, Le Devoir, Le Droit and the Toronto Star.

Best Long Feature Article

Julia-Simone Rutgers, who reports for both The Narwhal and the Winnipeg Free Press, earned a nomination in this category for a feature about the future of green energy in rural Manitoba. Journalists from Canadian Geographic, CBC, Le Devoir, Ricochet Media and IndigiNews Media, the London Free Press, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star were also nominated in this category.

Best Service Feature

Emma McIntosh received another nomination in this category for her report about research showing how new highways don’t fix traffic congestion as part of a team entry with Denise Balkissoon and Shawn Parkinson. Air Canada enRoute, Chatelaine, Modern Farmer, The Globe and Mail, The Tyee, the Toronto Star and Verdict santé were also nominated in this category.

Best Photo Storytelling

Firefighter surrounded by fire.
Photojournalist Jesse Winter followed along as firefighters executed planned ignitions to help contain B.C. wildfires.

Jesse Winter’s dramatic photo essay from the frontlines of B.C.’s wildfire fight, edited by Lindsay Sample, was one of two nominations from The Narwhal in this category. Amber Bracken and Drew Anderson’s photo essay about the aftermath of an oil spill affecting First Nations in Alberta was also honoured with a nomination. The latter piece was edited by Sharon J. Riley and Carol Linnitt. Amber Bracken was additionally nominated in this category for work published in The Globe and Mail. Other outlets nominated in this category include the CBC, Radio-Canada and Urbania. 

Best One-of-a-Kind Storytelling

Fatima Syed led a team that included Denise Balkissoon, Kati Panasiuk and Shawn Parkinson that earned a nomination in this category for a feature about plans to create a national urban park in Windsor. Journalists from Le Devoir and Radio-Canada were also nominated in this category.

Best Editorial Newsletter

The Narwhal’s Arik Ligeti and Karan Saxena are a finalist in this category for their work on The Narwhal’s weekly newsletter. Journalists from National Observer, CBC, Literary Review of Canada, Politico and TLDR Newsletter were also shortlisted for this award.

Innovation in Digital Storytelling

Emma McIntosh earned her third DPA nomination of the year for her feature: The year of the Greenbelt. Shawn Parkinson, Arik Ligeti, Karan Saxena, Christopher Katsarov Luna, Jarrett Sitter, Denise Balkissoon and Elaine Anselmi also contributed to the piece. The Green Line, ProtégézVous, Radio-Canada, CBC and The Globe and Mail were also nominated in this category.

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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