Amber Bracken Grasslands36 award

One Mike and 25 noms to ring in our third birthday

It has been a wild couple weeks here at The Narwhal. Between a deluge of award nominations and an exciting hiring announcement, there's a lot to celebrate around here

There’s nothing like 25 award nominations to help ring in a third birthday, amirite?

Oh, did I mention we also hired a new editor who you maaaay have heard of?

It has been a wild couple weeks here at The Narwhal, and we’re just coming up for air.

In a nutshell: we picked up 10 Digital Publishing Awards nods, nine Canadian Association of Journalists award nominations, six National Magazine Awards selections and, to top it all off, we shared the news that big-friggin’-deal investigative journalist Mike De Souza is joining our team as managing editor.

We are competing at the front of the pack with the biggest outlets in Canadian media, all with an editorial team of just eight — soon to be nine when Mike joins our pod next month. All of this just THREE YEARS after our co-founders Emma Gilchrist and Carol Linnitt put this beautiful little publication-that-could into the (natural) world. That’s right: we’re celebrating our birthday! 🎂

We couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate than with all of you, our most loyal readers. It’s hard to believe we now count more than 3,100 members who support our independent, non-profit journalism by giving whatever they can each month. (We still have some gorgeous print magazines, featuring our award-nominated journalism, for anyone who becomes a member today!)

It’s thanks to your readership and donations that we’re able to hire incredible journalists and publish all of this important work now getting recognized as the best-of-the-best. Among the award nods:

  • Our on-the-ground reporting documenting the Wet’suwet’en standoff garnered a total of four nominations, including for best news coverage and best photo storytelling (shoutout Amber Bracken!).
  • Aaron Vincent Elkaim’s photo essay on the impacts of hydro projects on the lives and livelihoods of Indigenous communities earned four nods.
  • Our series on nature-based climate solutions nabbed five nominations, with special shoutouts to our features on those fighting to save native prairie grasslands and the woodlot owners primed to make a difference in the Acadian forests of New Brunswick.
  • Jimmy Thomson’s investigation into the workplace abuse of West Coast fisheries observers, a story that began with a reader tip, picked up a pair of nominations.
  • A best newsletter selection for Arik Ligeti (hey, that’s me!) for these emails that land in your inbox each week.

If we’ve managed to do all of this work with a tiny staff, imagine what’ll be possible as we grow our ranks? Award nominations bring the warm and fuzzies, but the hard, important work is doing the journalism itself. Adding Mike — who’s broken story after story during his stints at Global News, National Observer and Reuters, to name a few — will bolster our capacity to ramp things up even more.

“I have watched with great admiration over the past few years as Emma and Carol recruited some of the best journalists in Canada and built a scrappy, but mighty, media organization,” Mike says. “It is a diverse, dedicated and hard-working team that is setting the agenda every day.”

Take care and set your agenda for more Narwhal celebrations to come,

Arik Ligeti
Audience engagement editor

P.S. We want to make sure we’re doing our best to serve all of you. That’s why we’ve put together this special survey to learn what our diehard readers think we’re doing right and what else we should prioritize. Would you be able to fill it out? We promise it’ll only take 10 minutes, tops!


The Narwhal in the world

We’ve been overwhelmed by all the kind messages coming our way this week! Here’s just one, a lovely shoutout from Eva, a Narwhal member. Thanks, Eva!


This week in The Narwhal

Seeing the forest for the trees: searching for solutions in the Kispiox Valley

Denzel Sutherland-Wilson Hailey Wilson

By Matt Simmons

As the province reviews the timber supply in a northwest B.C. forest district, locals explore options for non-timber forest products and work together to support sustainable forestry opportunities. Read more.


B.C. ‘shouldn’t have approved’ plan that failed to protect Nahmint old-growth forests: watchdog

By Sarah Cox

A three-year review by the forest practices board found the provincial government did not meet its legal objective to protect ecosystems and ancient forests in a treasured Vancouver Island watershed. Read more.


$100 million in federal funding for cleanup of Alberta oil and gas wells went to sites licensed to CNRL

Well site Alberta

By Sharon J. Riley

Canadian Natural Resources Limited — which has reported an average annual profit of $1.9 billion over the last decade — benefited most from taxpayer-funded cleanup of derelict wells. Read more.


What we’re reading


When you’re celebrating your third birthday. Tell your friends to join the ocean dance party and sign up for our newsletter.

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You’ve read all the way to the bottom of this article. That makes you some serious Narwhal material.

And since you’re here, we have a favour to ask. Our independent, ad-free journalism is made possible because the people who value our work also support it (did we mention our stories are free for all to read, not just those who can afford to pay?).

As a non-profit, reader-funded news organization, our goal isn’t to sell advertising or to please corporate bigwigs — it’s to bring evidence-based news and analysis to the surface for all Canadians. And at a time when most news organizations have been laying off reporters, we’ve hired five journalists over the past year.

Not only are we filling a void in environment coverage, but we’re also telling stories differently — by centring Indigenous voices, by building community and by doing it all as a people-powered, non-profit outlet supported by more than 3,300 members

The truth is we wouldn’t be here without you. Every single one of you who reads and shares our articles is a crucial part of building a new model for Canadian journalism that puts people before profit.

We know that these days the world’s problems can feel a *touch* overwhelming. It’s easy to feel like what we do doesn’t make any difference, but becoming a member of The Narwhal is one small way you truly can make a difference.

We’ve drafted a plan to make 2021 our biggest year yet, but we need your support to make it all happen.

If you believe news organizations should report to their readers, not advertisers or shareholders, please become a monthly member of The Narwhal today for any amount you can afford.

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