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Journalist Frances Bula has been a contributor to The Globe and Mail for nearly 20 years, and has also written for the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Magazine and BCBusiness Magazine.

Journalist Frances Bula has been named the recipient of the 2023 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award, established by the Jack Webster Foundation and first presented to its namesake journalist in 1991, honours an exemplary career in B.C. journalism.

Over more than 35 years, Ms. Bula has made significant contributions to the field as a journalist, commentator, journalism instructor and professor. A contributor to The Globe and Mail for nearly 20 years, she has also written for the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Magazine and BCBusiness Magazine.

“It is unbelievably gratifying to be recognized by fellow journalists, co-teachers and many former students through this award,” Ms. Bula said.

“It also is a great message to all the other journalists out there who aren’t necessarily working on grand investigative pieces or national controversy-provoking columns, but are simply trying their best every day to find stuff out on behalf of the public and to pass on lessons learned to others starting out in this weird and rewarding profession we have.”

In her reporting, Ms. Bula specializes in urban issues and city politics, writing on everything from homelessness to billion-dollar development projects, and the politics that steer them all.

“Her extensive experience reporting on urban issues and city politics, as well as her willingness to share her knowledge and expertise, has helped to raise the bar for journalism in B.C.,” the foundation said in a news release.

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The Globe’s B.C. bureau chief, Wendy Cox, described Ms. Bula’s calm pressing of mayors, city bureaucrats and candidates as a masterclass for young journalists interested in public policy.

“Frances is the kind of unicorn every editor I know would kill for,” Ms. Cox said. “She’s utterly connected to her beat, not because she’s ultracompetitive, but because she’s genuinely fascinated by how cities work. Frances can get inside policies and understand how they are supposed to work and how they don’t, but also why they look the way they do.

“She’s probably forgotten more about civic policies like housing and zoning than many people in city halls know now. Those people come and go. Frances, for decades, has been a constant.”

As an instructor and professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langara College and the University of British Columbia, Ms. Bula “has inspired excellence in her students by encouraging them to think critically and creatively about the craft of journalism,” the foundation said.

Past recipients of the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award include Stephen Hume, John Daly, Fabian Dawson, Clive Jackson, Kim Bolan, Shelley Fralic and Gary Mason.

The award will be presented Nov. 14 at the Webster Awards gala in Vancouver.

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