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Five Tyee Journalists Are Finalists for BC’s Top News Prizes

For us, it’s a record number of Jack Webster nods. Our member supporters made it possible.

Tyee Staff 21 Sep

Finalists for British Columbia’s top journalism awards were announced last evening and The Tyee was well represented. Recipients of Jack Webster Award nominations included, for their investigative work, Tyee staff reporters Jen St. Denis and Andrew MacLeod; Tyee Tula Immersion Fellow Zoë Yunker; and freelancer Mary Fowles. Tyee contributing editor Steve Burgess drew a nod for his commentary.

The five nominations placed the non-profit, largely member-funded Tyee among news organizations garnering the most Webster nominations this year. Others with that many were CBC and the Vancouver Sun.

All Jack Webster Award finalists in 14 categories are listed in this press release.

“It's very gratifying to be finalists for these awards,” said Tyee publisher Jeanette Ageson. “Our team works hard to live up to our promise of reporting in the public interest, and giving these stories the in-depth treatment they deserve. And because we're supported by readers, we can make this reporting free and available to everyone.

“We congratulate all the Webster finalists,” added Ageson. “In these trying times we need strong journalism from diverse perspectives now more than ever.”

Here are the Webster nominations for The Tyee:

Jen St. Denis’s multi-part series investigating safety concerns and poor conditions for workers and tenants of Vancouver SRO hotels, nominated in the category of Excellence in Feature/Enterprise Reporting — Print/Online. Included stories:

SRO Tenants Have Lived with Broken Windows for Years

The Housing Is Owned by the Province. The Working Conditions Are Terrible

‘Unlivable’ SROs Spur Homelessness, Says BC’s Attorney General

Tenants in BC Housing-Funded SRO Are Bullied Out of Rooms, Alleges Support Worker

Review Found Poor Budgeting and Oversight at Major BC Housing Operator

Andrew MacLeod’s multi-part series drew on freedom of information documents to expose a hidden website mess for the B.C. government, nominated in the category of Excellence in Technology Reporting. Included stories:

FOI Reveals a Problem-Plagued BC $8.9-Million Tech Project

Come Clean on Bungled BC Bid System, Say BC Liberals

BC Tech Project Far Over Budget, Late, Minister Confirms

BC Considered Cancelling Late, Costly Tech Project

Mary Fowles on The Hidden, Deadly Epidemic in Partner Violence in the category of Excellence in Legal Journalism.

Zoë Yunker on the devastating price Indigenous people paid for BC Hydro’s dams, and the push to include First Nations in the province’s coming renewable energy boom in the category of Excellence in Business, Industry, Labour and Economics Reporting. Included stories:

Their Land Was Drowned by a Flood of Hydropower

The Coming Indigenous Power Play

Steve Burgess for his range of commentary combining humourous and acute political observations in the category of Commentator of the Year.

“We've had an amazing year of journalism at The Tyee,” said managing editor andrea bennett. “I'm so proud of our reporters, and the freelancers who work with us. It's their hard work, skill and talent that allows us to maintain not only a publishing schedule of four to six stories per day, but an award-worthy publishing schedule of four to six stories per day.”

Tyee senior editor Paul Willcocks noted one of the Webster judges’ decisions also exposed the inherent weakness in B.C.'s freedom of information laws.

"It took a year of battling for Andrew MacLeod to get the information on the tech contract," Willcocks said. "During that time the minister kept maintaining all was well with the project, and the government and the Information and Privacy Commissioner maintained there was no public interest argument for releasing the documents.

“This recognition showed they were wrong."

The finalists were announced at an in-person social gathering yesterday evening, a new format for the Webster Awards. The winners will be announced at an online event on Nov. 3.

Last year Tyee journalists received four nominations resulting in three Jack Webster Awards. The Tyee overall also won the Bill Good Award, which, said the Webster Awards board, “honours a B.C. individual or organization that makes a significant contribution to journalism in the province, or addresses a community’s needs and benefits via journalism.”  [Tyee]

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