Sharon J. Riley Digital Publishing Awards Amber Bracken

The Narwhal nominated for eight 2020 Digital Publishing Awards

Nominations highlight excellence in feature writing about Canada’s natural world as well as a commitment to world-class visual journalism

The Narwhal has received eight nominations from Canada’s Digital Publishing Awards, scoring the fourth-largest number of selections of any media outlet for its feature writing, photography and video work.

The eight nominations in digital excellence place The Narwhal, a non-profit and ad-free publication covering Canada’s natural world, right behind industry heavyweights The Globe and Mail, CBC and Radio-Canada.

Emma Gilchrist, The Narwhal’s co-founder and editor-in-chief said the nominations highlight the potential for non-profit business models to breathe new life into Canadian journalism.

“The Narwhal’s single largest source of revenue is its readers, with more than 1,200 monthly members,” she said. “Through their contributions, readers make it possible for us to produce journalism that’s now being recognized as among the country’s finest.”

Two of The Narwhal’s long-form pieces, on the clear-cutting of a Canadian rainforest and a First Nation’s fight against a mining company, received nominations in both the best feature article and best photo storytelling categories.

A long-form feature on Canada’s forgotten rainforest, written by Sarah Cox with photos by Taylor Roades, explored the risks facing British Columbia’s inland temperate rainforest — which is being logged as fast as the Amazon.


An image from The Narwhal’s trip to inland temperate rainforest in B.C. The Narwhal’s feature by B.C. Reporter Sarah Cox, Canada’s forgotten rainforest, is nominated for best feature and best photo storytelling with the Digital Publishing Awards. Photo: Taylor Roades / The Narwhal

Judith Lavoie’s story and Louis Bockner’s photography, meanwhile, highlighted the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s 30-year battle against a proposed mine that would threaten a lake of profound cultural and spiritual significance.

The Narwhal picked up four of the six nominations in the photo category, a recognition of its commitment to world-class visual journalism.

The nominations for best photo storytelling include an in-depth feature documenting the effects of aging oil and gas infrastructure on Alberta canola farmers, photographed by Amber Bracken, and the environmental legacy left behind by a Canadian-owned mining company operating in Mexico, photographed by Amanda Annand. 

Don Weiben shows journalist Sharon J. Riley and photographer Amber Bracken his canola crop near Fairview, Alberta on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. Much of the canola on the Wieben family farm is affected by the presence of pipelines underground. Photo: Amber Bracken / The Narwhal

The latter photo essay, The pit of San Pedro, was also recently nominated for a photojournalism award from the Canadian Association of Journalists.

An article by Gilchrist on the Heiltsuk Nation’s plan to establish its own oil spill response centre in the wake of a 2016 tugboat disaster was nominated in the short feature category. A video on the same subject, produced by Jayce Hawkins of Approach Media, picked up a nomination in the video feature category. 

Jordan Wilson

A portrait of Jordan Wilson, a Heiltsuk Coastal Guardian Watchman, aboard one of the nation’s monitoring vessels. Emma Gilchrist’s feature on the Heiltsuk First Nations’ efforts to create an Indigenous Marine Response Centre is nominated for a Digital Publishing Award. Photo: Louise Whitehouse / The Narwhal

Finalists for the Digital Publishing Awards, now in its fifth year, were chosen by a panel of 75 judges examining work from 150 publications.

This year’s winners will be announced online as COVID-19 forces the cancellation of the in-person awards event.

In addition to the 2020 Digital Publishing Awards nods, The Narwhal was nominated for two Canadian Association of Journalists awards this year. It won four Canadian Online Publishing Awards in 2018 and received multiple nominations for the Digital Publishing Awards and National Magazine Awards in 2019.

Want to support The Narwhal’s award-winning, non-profit journalism? Become a member for as little as $5/month to help make our independent journalism possible. 

Arik Ligeti is The Narwhal’s audience engagement editor, with a focus on growing a dedicated community of members and readers.…

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