Moira Wyton was introduced to The Tyee by her father at age 11 and was excited to begin working as our newly hired health reporter in March this year. She spent less than a week in our office when we abruptly moved to working remotely from home as part of physical distancing measures for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not much of a welcome wagon! The circumstances might have blown another journalist off course, but Wyton has adapted to become a consistent voice that readers trust. She has an eye for the big picture and social inequity, asks intelligent questions in the daily media briefings with Dr. Bonnie Henry and, lucky for us at The Tyee, has a great sense of humour that shines through every Zoom call. She has compared finding health stories to drinking from a firehose, so I was curious to know, amidst a health crisis, how does she focus on issues that matter? (And how does one not get blown away by the force of the hose?)
For her first Three Things interview, Wyton will answer the question by examining how the pandemic has taught us to cover health better. She’ll discuss health as more than what happens in hospitals; racism and its impacts in our health-care system; and how changes to our system are possible, despite the politicization of health. Three Things is a short and informal livestreamed interview show where we pick the brains of folks in The Tyee family to see what’s on their minds.
A UBC graduate, Wyton cut her teeth at the Ubyssey student newspaper along with our editorial assistant Olamide Olaniyan. After graduating, she returned home to Edmonton to work at the Edmonton Journal and talks in this interview about how this reinforced her sense of journalistic duty, as she realized her stories would impact people she knew. She broke an important story on how Indigenous transit users are ticketed at a much higher rate than other people in Edmonton and continues to report on the health impacts of race by asking and reporting on the need for race-based health data in B.C. We were lucky enough to hire her as part of the Local Journalism Initiative, a program funded by the Government of Canada.
Wyton stays motivated in a daunting job because she knows many people care about health reporting, particularly people who often don’t see themselves represented in mainstream health stories. She also wants to be a credit to her father, who introduced her to The Tyee’s reporting all those years ago. She jokes that he is also a pretty big Andrew Nikiforuk fan, so she has to bring her best every day in order to be the favourite Tyee journalist in her parent’s eyes. In characteristic Wyton fashion, she cracks a joke and goes back to work, casually sipping from the firehose, making a challenging hustle look effortless.
Join us on Wednesday, July 8 at 1 p.m. PST, when I will have the delight of chatting with Wyton about how the pandemic has taught us to cover health better. Register here for the webinar or follow us on Facebook and YouTube where the livestream will be broadcast. You can follow Moira on Twitter at @moirawyton.