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The Narwhal nominated for five National Magazine Awards, three Digital Publishing Awards

Our on-the-ground photojournalism and investigative reporting have been recognized as among the best-of-the-best in Canadian publishing

The Narwhal’s journalism has been recognized with a total of eight nominations this week from the National Magazine Awards and Digital Publishing Awards, with work from the front lines of Wet’suwet’en territory and an investigation into the mistreatment of migrant farmworkers each receiving two finalist selections.

This is the fourth award nomination in just over a month for Amber Bracken’s on-the-ground coverage of militarized RCMP raids against Indigenous land defenders fighting the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Bracken’s photo essay capturing the day of the arrests was named a finalist for best photo storytelling by the Digital Publishing Awards as well as by the National Magazine Awards in the photo essay and photojournalism category.

Bracken, who was among those arrested in the raids, was also nominated for an award by the Canadian Association of Journalists. The Narwhal was also named a finalist for the Jackman Award for Excellence in Journalism by the Canadian Journalism Foundation for our Wet’suwet’en coverage.

Gitxsan supporter Wilpspoocxw Lax Gibuu (Shaylynne Sampson) in Gidimt'en territory near Houston, B.C.
Gitxsan supporter Wilpspoocxw Lax Gibuu (Shaylynne Sampson) in Gidimt’en territory near Houston, B.C., on Nov. 19, 2021, the day militarized RCMP officers arrested more than a dozen individuals, including land defenders and journalists. Photo: Amber Bracken / The Narwhal

“These nominations speak to the impact of investing deeply in fearless, on-the-ground reporting,” said The Narwhal’s editor-in-chief Emma Gilchrist, who was herself nominated for a first-person piece published in Maisonneuve on a journey into her family history.

“There are no two ways about it: investigative journalism is expensive. We are only able to do this work because of the extraordinary generosity of our members.”

Hilary Beaumont’s investigation into the conditions faced by migrant workers on Ontario farms was named a finalist in the National Magazine Awards’ investigative reporting category. The months-long investigation included a visit to a bunkhouse, with photographer Christopher Katsarov Luna capturing 360-degree imagery of the cramped living conditions workers were experiencing at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Katsarov Luna’s work on the multimedia piece was also nominated for ​​best photo storytelling by the Digital Publishing Awards. Last month, the piece was named a finalist in the Canadian Association of Journalists’ labour reporting category.

The recognition for visual reporting didn’t stop there — The Narwhal nabbed three of the four nominations in the Digital Publishing Awards’ photo storytelling category. The final nod in this category came for Pat Kane’s photo essay capturing the work of Elders and scientists to save a disappearing caribou herd in the subarctic.

Dene elders sit back-to-back in a boat.
Dene elders are working with researchers to blend Traditional Knowledge and contemporary science to study the disappearing Bathurst herd. Photo: Pat Kane / The Narwhal

Another tale of collaboration to save dwindling caribou, this time in Tahltan territory in northwest B.C., saw photographer Jeremy Koreski earn a photo essay and photojournalism selection from the National Magazine Awards.

The Narwhal’s coverage of the brutal summer drought that hit central and Western Canada received two nominations from the National Magazine Awards. Louis Bockner captured how ranchers and farmers are grappling with the realities of weather extremes in his photo essay documenting life in the Kettle Valley watershed, while Sarah Lawrynuik reported from Manitoba on the upheaval facing Prairie ranchers due to climate change in this short feature.

The Narwhal’s National Magazine Awards finalist selections for photo essays were nominated alongside work published in Air Canada enRoute, Maclean’s, Maisonneuve, Queen’s Alumni Review and Reader’s Digest Canada. ​​In the short feature category, Lawrynuik is nominated alongside work from The Local, Quench Magazine, Maclean’s, Hakai Magazine, ELLE Québec, Canadian Geographic and Chatelaine. The Narwhal’s three Digital Publishing Awards-nominated photo essays are up against a piece from The Globe and Mail.

The Narwhal’s Ontario bureau chief Denise Balkissoon was nominated five times for National Magazine Awards for her previous work at Chatelaine, while Ontario reporter Fatima Syed received two nods for past work at Chatelaine and The Local. Syed, who also received three Digital Publishing Awards selections, was just honoured at a ceremony in Ottawa this week as a joint winner of the 2022 Press Freedom Award from World Press Freedom Canada. 

The press freedom award for Syed and Tai Huynh, editor-in-chief of Toronto-area independent outlet The Local, was given for the publication’s stories on the Peel Region’s health care crisis during the pandemic.

Last but not least, The Narwhal’s B.C. investigative reporter, Sarah Cox, earned a National Magazine Awards nomination for feature writing for her story in BESIDE on the endangered northern spotted owl.

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 this spring. 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 the 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. Here’s the thing: we need 300 new members to join this month to meet our budget. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?
We’ve got big plans for 2024
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 this spring. 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 the 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. Here’s the thing: we need 300 new members to join this month to meet our budget. 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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The Narwhal’s reporters uncover energy stories that send shockwaves throughout Canada. But they can’t do it alone — we still need to add 90 new members this month to meet our budget. Will you support crucial climate reporting that makes an impact?
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The Narwhal’s reporters uncover energy stories that send shockwaves throughout Canada. But they can’t do it alone — we still need to add 90 new members this month to meet our budget. Will you support crucial climate reporting that makes an impact?