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Tyee Journalists: Our Favourite Stories of 2014

Our beat reporters share the work that made them proud this year.

Jane Armstrong 30 Dec

Jane Armstrong is editor in chief of The Tyee.

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It's that time of year when editors pore over newsroom archives, compiling "best" and "worst" lists to categorize the year's films, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc.

This year, I suggested we look at a different measure. I asked the Tyee's beat reporters to select their favourite stories of 2014 and explain why those articles represented their best work. Had they interviewed someone who changed their viewpoint on an issue? Did their story have an impact on public policy? Did it help the journalist better understand a complex issue?

The result was a trove of first-class news reporting -- written and reported by Tyee writers, each accompanied by thoughtful notes from the writers. Scroll through the timeline above to see them all.

Many articles are beautifully written and argued. At least one piece, David P. Ball's series about the lives of undocumented migrants, prompted change and helped spark a public debate. His final piece, a story of one Mexican family's struggle to get their two Canadian children enrolled in public school, stuck with Ball.

"I will never forget (the Mexican father) Pedro's home teaching efforts and his stories of what it's like to live and work in Vancouver, despite being labelled by many as an 'illegal,'" Ball wrote. "Three months after The Tyee published this series, we learned that Pedro's children were admitted into a Vancouver school in October."

Another journalist saw his reporting efforts open the door to a new project. Andrew MacLeod's series of articles about inequality in B.C. proposed a wide range of solutions and led to a book offer on the subject.

Andrew Nikiforuk has written for two decades about the oil and gas industry. One of his favourite stories from this year included an interview with one of North American's leading experts on groundwater contamination. John Cherry, a University of Waterloo professor emeritus, called the shale gas industry a "mess" and warned that no Canadian jurisdiction has set up proper monitoring to protect groundwater in areas of intense oil and gas activity.

Katie Hyslop, who reports on education and youth issues for the Tyee, selected a piece she wrote last March that described how the B.C. government claws back child support payments for those on social assistance and disability payments.

Geoff Dembicki, who writes about energy and climate change, showcased an article about the efforts of a B.C. man, Peter Janes, to build a self-sustaining farm on Denman Island.

Jeremy Nuttall is the Tyee's parliamentary reporter in Ottawa. Before leaving for Ottawa, Nuttall wrote a searing series that investigated how workers, imported from countries ranging from the Philippines to Jamaica, are subject to abuse. The series concluded last March with this piece that revealed how so-called "ghost consultants" or illegal operators facilitate some foreign workers to enter Canada and work temporarily, often at wages below what Canadians would earn.

Bob Mackin, a prolific generator of freedom of information requests, selected a series of stories he wrote about the fallout from BC Place Stadium's $514-million renovation, which didn't pay the dividends that were expected. Find his round-up piece here.

These articles represent some of the best work from our Tyee reporters over the past year. Each piece resonated with the individual writers who brought these stories to light. We hope they made an impact on you.

Please note our comment threads will be closed Dec. 22 to Jan. 5 to give our moderators a well-deserved break. Happy holidays, readers.  [Tyee]

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