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The Tyee Nets Six CAJ Award Nominations

It’s an honour. And our supporters make it possible.

Tyee Staff 16 Apr 2024The Tyee

One of the great things about living on the West Coast is occasionally getting to wake up to good news out of Ontario. Today, we get to celebrate a haul of nominations for the Canadian Association of Journalists Awards — six in total!

“We’re gratified to receive this recognition from our esteemed peers,” says Tyee editor-in-chief David Beers. “These nominations reflect our journalists’ investment of commitment and care when taking on critical subjects. It’s an approach our reader supporters make possible, and it's woven into the Tyee’s mission to serve the public interest.”

Here are the Tyee finalists:

‘A Major Gap’ in BC’s Disaster Evacuation Support
Most victims are displaced far longer than the province’s aid system assumes, shows data analyzed by The Tyee.

How We Crunched the Data on Disaster Survivors
Not much was easily at hand. So we came up with a solution. A Tyee Q&A with Jens von Bergmann.

When Francesa Fionda set out to report her 20-story series, “Bracing for Disasters,” she had a few basic questions: Which populations were being most evacuated in B.C. due to disasters? How long, on average, were people waiting before they got to come home?

It turned out that these questions were not so easy to answer. So, working with mathematician and data scientist Jens von Bergmann, she drew on open data on historic and current evacuations provided by the provincial government and combined it with census data from 2016 and 2021.

Crunching the numbers allowed Fionda to uncover three previously unquantified realities about living with disasters in B.C.:

The resulting two pieces, zeroing in on this data, have been nominated in the CAJ’s data journalism category.

The revitalizing Power of Indigenous Typography
Typefaces express sovereignty. Here’s how Musqueam found just the right type for its language.

Christopher Cheung has been nominated in the written feature category for his piece on the development of a new font for the Musqueam Indian Band’s ancestral language, called hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓. Indigenous typography allows for “visual sovereignty,” one of the experts told Cheung. Indigenous fonts are a meaningful pathway for language learning across generations, especially in our digital world.

In a first for The Tyee, Cheung recorded a reading of the story to share the proper pronunciations.

“This was an eye-opening story on how typefaces mean more than just looks and have a part to play in language revitalization,” says reporter Christopher Cheung. “It’s all thanks to my sources for patiently teaching me about schwas and labialization, and hosting me on a memorable visit to the Musqueam reserve.”

Big Risks, Long Hours, Low Pay: The Lives of BC Log Truckers
As forests shrink, drivers work 16-hour days to deliver single loads of logs to BC sawmills.

Ben Parfitt has been nominated for a CWA Canada/CAJ Award for Labour Reporting for his piece on what is both a labour and a public safety issue: the increasing distance from logging sites to sawmills, which is creating longer hours and exhausting schedules for truckers.

Sources told Parfitt about the tacit agreement between drivers and their employers to falsify records in order to avoid limits on the number of hours truckers can spend behind the wheel, leading to some driving 15 or 16 hours at a stretch. These overly long days are dangerous both for truck drivers, with their 70-tonne loads, and others on the roads, they asserted.

Choked Out: The Wildfire Smoke Threat to Tree Planters
As the job hazard grows across Canada, protections fail to keep up. A Tyee and Climate Disaster Project special report.

Aldyn Chwelos, Kristen de Jager and Paul Voll have been nominated for a CWA Canada/CAJ Award for Labour Reporting for their piece on an increasing threat to the health and safety of tree planters: wildfire smoke.

This joint investigation by The Tyee and the Climate Disaster Project revealed that the regulations in place for outdoor workers during Canada’s wildfire seasons haven’t done enough to protect labourers, who were sometimes stuck in “drowning smoke.”

Silviculture safety and wildfire experts are calling on the provinces and territories to create work safety regulations specific to wildfire smoke that include monitoring air quality and introducing clear and enforceable measures to reduce exposure. But WorkSafeBC, the safety regulator in the province that plants the most trees, says it has no plans to introduce specific wildfire smoke protection.

851px version of FishingBoatNetWater.JPG
In the summer of 2022 the Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation declared Kitasu Bay an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area. The area is the community of Klemtu’s breadbasket and where 95 per cent of the local herring roe harvest comes from. Photo for The Tyee by Michelle Gamage.

How First Nations Are Asserting Sovereignty over Their Lands and Waters
Indigenous Marine Protected and Conserved Areas hold a key to food security and balancing ecological and economic priorities.

One of the Last Herring Roe Harvests on the Coast
The Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation unilaterally declared Kitasu Bay a protected area in 2022. Now they wait for Canada to catch up.

Michelle Gamage has been nominated for the APTN/CAJ Truth and Reconciliation Award for her double-header on Indigenous Marine Protected and Conserved Areas and the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation’s herring roe harvest — one of the main impetuses for the nation’s creation of an IPCA in their territory. As an outsider flying into the community of Klemtu, Gamage engaged in a trauma-informed, consent-based approach to her reporting, offering community members the option of working collaboratively to ensure she was getting the story right.

A Tribunal Examines the RCMP’s Handling of Abuse Allegations in Burns Lake

Amanda Follett Hosgood has been nominated for the APTN/CAJ Truth and Reconciliation Award for her multi-part, ongoing series covering a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal hearing examining whether the RCMP discriminated against Indigenous complainants while investigating historical abuse allegations at Immaculata Elementary School and Prince George College in northern British Columbia.

The Tyee published 14 articles about the tribunal in 2023, documenting survivors’ long wait for justice. Testimony wrapped up in February; written submissions will continue into July, and then the tribunal has up to six months to issue a decision.

“This CHRT hearing was significant because it was the first time, in more than a decade of this story making national news headlines, that the First Nations survivors had the opportunity to publicly share their own experiences. It took years to get there and a lot of courage for them to testify,” says reporter Amanda Follett Hosgood. “I’m grateful that The Tyee and my editor, andrea bennett, allowed me the time and space to hear their stories and give the tribunal hearings the attention they deserved.”

A total of 474 entries were submitted to this year’s CAJ awards. The full list of nominees is available on its website.

Winners will be announced at the awards gala on June 1 at the Toronto Reference Library.

A big thanks to the Builders and readers who make our work possible. Support us to bring even more diverse, fact-driven reporting to the public conversation.

Congrats to all the CAJ finalists!  [Tyee]

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