Sault Ste. Marie The Narwhal DPA NMA awards Christopher Katsarov Luna

The Narwhal honoured with three Digital Publishing Awards, four National Magazine Awards

At just three years old, our publication was acknowledged as an impressive digital platform that ‘brings readers a combination of hard-hitting investigative reporting, environmental coverage and gorgeous visuals’ during two awards ceremonies Friday

The Narwhal took home three Digital Publishing Awards and four National Magazine Awards during two awards ceremonies Friday. The wins included the prestigious honour of gold in the general excellence category of the Digital Publishing Awards for work that “fills a hole in mainstream media coverage of the environment.”

In receiving the general excellence win in the medium-sized publication category, The Narwhal was recognized as an “impressive digital platform that brings readers a combination of hard-hitting investigative reporting, environmental coverage and gorgeous visuals.” The judges highlighted The Narwhal’s quality journalism, immersive storytelling and powerful imagery that is playing a role in revitalizing environmental journalism in Canada.

The Narwhal’s co-founder and managing editor Carol Linnitt said “it is an incredible honour to receive this award,” during the Digital Publishing Awards ceremony, which was hosted virtually.

Linnitt congratulated The Narwhal’s staff and added: “I also want to thank the more than 3,300 monthly members of The Narwhal who make our work a reality. Our team is incredibly proud to champion non-profit news in Canada, so this win feels particularly wonderful.”

The Narwhal’s Carbon Cache series, which explores nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, won a gold with the Digital Publishing Awards for best editorial package. From the family woodlot owners in the Maritimes who could prove to be the key to saving the Acadian forest to the Indigenous leaders playing a critical role in holding on to the remaining prairie grasslands, the series has helped readers across the country understand the glimmers of hope behind the doom-and-gloom headlines about our planet. The Carbon Cache series is made possible through the generous support of the Metcalf Foundation. 

The Narwhal’s in-depth feature on legacy industrial pollution and high cancer rates in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., won a silver for best long feature article. The feature, written by freelance investigative journalist Hilary Beaumont and accompanied by photography from Christopher Katsarov Luna, was produced in collaboration with U.S.-based non-profit newsroom Environmental Health News and editor Brian Bienkowski. The cross-border feature explores how a mining boom in northern Ontario’s ring of fire region is reigniting tensions in Sault Ste. Marie, as well as the city’s sister town of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, about the impacts of industry on human health and how people from both sides of the border are fighting back.

The National Magazine Awards honoured Aaron Vincent Elkaim with a gold and silver medal for his photo essay in The Narwhal entitled State of Erosion. Elkaim, who spent years documenting the dramatic impacts of large-scale hydroelectric projects on Indigenous communities in Northern Manitoba, took home a gold in the photo essay and photojournalism category and a silver in the portrait photography category. His work provides a unique insight into how remote electricity projects that are advertised as clean can have significant environmental and cultural impacts for Indigenous Peoples that can all too easily remain out of sight and out of mind.

A portrait of a young girl on the streets of Easterville, Manitoba. Photo: Aaron Vincent Elkaim / The Narwhal
A portrait of a young girl on the streets of Easterville, Manitoba. Easterville is the reserve community of the Chemawawin Cree Nation, founded in 1962 after they were forcibly relocated during the construction of the Grand Rapids dam which flooded 202,343 hectares of land. Photo: Aaron Vincent Elkaim / The Narwhal

Amber Bracken was also honoured with a silver in the photo essay and photojournalism category for her stunning work in The Narwhal documenting the crisis in Wet’suwet’en territory, where she, like many other photojournalists, faced the threat of arrest by the RCMP for doing her job. Bracken’s work from the frontlines, which also received a finalist nomination for portrait photography, has become iconic across the nation. The Narwhal is proud and fortunate to have had the privilege of publishing her images and reporting from the conflict zone. Bracken shared the silver win with Nick Hawkins, whose work appeared in the Maclean’s Magazine piece Saving the right whales.

The Narwhal’s investigation into workplace abuse in the trawl fishery industry, by reporter Jimmy Thomson, took home a silver in the investigative reporting category. Thomson’s story was sparked by a tip from a reader, who alerted The Narwhal to an environment of intimidation and harassment that whistleblowers later explained was obscuring the true impacts of deep-sea harvesting on the B.C. coast. Two weeks after the story was published, a skipper accused of abuse by fisheries observers resigned from his position as a director of a groundfish research and conservation society.

The Narwhal’s feature on efforts to save the Acadian forest from logging by freelancer journalist Lindsay Jones was also nominated for a National Magazine Award. 

In addition to the three Digital Publishing Awards wins, The Narwhal also received seven nominations, including three nods in the photo storytelling category for pieces on the legacy of Manitoba Hydro, the people working to save native grasslands and the arrest of matriarchs during the Wet’suwet’en standoff. The Narwhal’s on-the-ground coverage from Wet’suwet’en territory also earned a nomination for best news coverage.

Other finalist selections included: our feature on B.C.’s looming extinction crisis for best science and technology storytelling; a look at the impacts of hydro and fracking in the best online video feature category; and our weekly newsletter for best editorial newsletter.

The Narwhal is an independent, ad-free and non-profit publication that, at just three years old, is making a substantial impact on Canada’s publishing landscape — thanks in large part to the support of our monthly members. If you want to support award-worthy and in-depth journalism about the natural world, become a Narwhal today.

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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 3,500 members

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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.

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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