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Say Hello to Our New Health Reporter: Moira Wyton

She’s eager to start sharing important stories about the state of well-being in BC. Get to know her.

Olamide Olaniyan 26 Feb 2020 | TheTyee.ca

Olamide Olaniyan is The Tyee’s editorial assistant. Follow him on Twitter @olapalooza.

British Columbia is full of health stories aching to be told, and Moira Wyton is aching to tell them. We’re excited that Wyton is joining our Vancouver newsroom on Monday as The Tyee’s new full-time health reporter, covering the wide diversity of health stories in the province.

She’ll be looking beyond the waitlists and bed shortages and examining the role of housing, inequality, child care and race as factors in health, as well as focusing on both short-term health crises and longer-term challenges and opportunities that these issues pose.

Wyton started her journalism career at the Ubyssey, the campus newspaper at UBC, where she wrote and edited stories around the university. She worked most recently at the Edmonton Journal, where she covered Alberta politics and community stories.

There, she broke a big story on how Indigenous transit riders are ticketed at a disproportionately higher rate than others.

We wanted to get to know her more before she officially started, from what she hopes to do at The Tyee, to her approach to journalism, to, yes, some of her scorching hot food takes. Please feel free to send her a welcome or story tip in the comment thread below, or email her directly here.

Welcome Moira! Tell us about yourself.

Thrilled to be here! Besides my own reporting work, for the last year I’ve also been writing terrible poetry I can only hope won’t become public in the next big data leak. I’ve played soccer practically since I could walk, and tinkering around on my hand-me-down film camera keeps me otherwise busy outside office hours.

What drew you to The Tyee?

I’m a long-time Tyee reader (my Dad turned me onto it when I was about 11), and I’m really happy to join a like-minded publication where I can build my long-form reporting skills and hone a beat. Health reporting shows the impact of social policy and politics at the cellular level, and I’m looking forward to supporting a new area of coverage with The Tyee.

Congrats on being The Tyee’s new resident young person. You’re emerging in journalism in a time of considerable flux and turmoil. Tell us about your experience within the field so far and how you feel about the future of journalism.

For years before entering the field I was hesitant to consider journalism a viable career option, because of the warnings from working journalists that it would be cutthroat and unpredictable. My success so far finding work I’m passionate about makes me optimistic, not only for myself but for the other young journalists in my life who have been incredibly supportive of one another (and far from cutthroat).

I’m very aware that the opportunities for my generation of journalists are coming as the dust settles a bit and outlets begin to find their footings better in the digital age after an immense number of journalists before us bore the brunt of the industry’s transitions. I hope publications and journalists can use this period of relative calm to work towards new and innovative models of journalism that not only strengthen the work journalists do but our working conditions as well.

You schooled at UBC in Vancouver, but then returned to Edmonton where you’re from and worked for the Journal. What lessons did you learn from reporting in that city that you think will be useful here?

Reporting in the same city as my family home instilled the importance of accountability to the communities whose stories I’m sharing. During my time in Edmonton I was running into friends, old teachers and people my age who had known a very different corner of the city from my own as I covered provincial and city politics, health, education and youth issues. These interactions were daily reminders to me of the responsibility I have to individuals and communities in my work, and it’s something I take very seriously as I come back to Vancouver.

What are you looking forward to the most in this new role?

The opportunity to learn and share more from B.C.’s experts, advocates and community builders! I love that I get to be curious for a living and readers can share that joy.

On to more serious matters. Our sources tell us you are a breakfast sandwich connoisseur with discerning taste. What is your hottest breakfast sandwich take?

I think the tweet speaks for itself as my hottest take, but I should mention I’m biased because I have never had an A&W breakfast sandwich and I accidentally said “I love you” to my partner for the first time over McMuffins.

Um, and yet you are now a health reporter. How will this affect your perspective on McMuffins?

Sometimes health is about how food makes you feel, not what’s on the ingredient list. You can pry my McMuffins from my cold, cheesy fingers.

What are you currently obsessed with?

My eggplant-purple foldable bike, Keanu! I got her second-hand for a steal in Edmonton and I’m thrilled to be moving close to a bike path so I can take her for some spins in Vancouver.

We hear you’re a woman of culture, multilingual and well-travelled. Could you tell us more about that?

Learning French has been really important since I realized as a kid it would help me understand the conversations my parents wanted to keep between them (I’ve been nosy from the start). But I also love the way the language has given me a whole new way of interpreting the world. I worked in a bakery in high school to save for a language study in Paris the summer before Grade 12, and then a year later I moved to the Champagne region of France for a dual bachelor of arts. At that point, I was considering a job in government and foreign affairs and I loved the idea of being fluent and well-travelled (and of two-euro wine).

Even though I didn’t pursue that path after an internship in diplomacy in Washington, D.C., my travels in Europe and then to China and Japan for research with UBC have really given me a much deeper understanding of where I come from and why I keep choosing Canada. No one has been more surprised than me that my travels time and time again make me want to come home!

For readers who don’t know, you and I worked together at the Ubyssey four years ago. Returning to a four-year-old argument, I must once again ask: is soup a meal?

No. And a hot dog is also not a sandwich, Ola.  [Tyee]

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