The Globe and Mail won three Jack Webster Awards for work that included an investigation into the exploitation of immigrant workers, coverage of a blockade of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia and stories about lax campaign-finance rules in municipal elections.
The awards, which were announced Thursday evening at a ceremony in Vancouver, recognize excellence in journalism in B.C.
The Globe’s B.C. Bureau tied with CBC Vancouver for the most awards of the night. Global News won two awards, while the Abbotsford News, Black Press, CKNW radio, Fairchild TV, Megaphone Magazine and the Vancouver Sun each had one. A former Postmedia editor won the lifetime achievement award.
Investigative reporter Kathy Tomlinson won in the print category for enterprise reporting for her investigation into how recruiters and consultants exploit workers from India, the Philippines, Mexico and Guatemala who were seeking a job – and a new life – in Canada.
Ms. Tomlinson’s work revealed a system in which immigration consultants charged those workers exorbitant fees to recruit them for jobs that in some cases did not exist. Her investigation prompted the B.C. government to promise new laws and resources to protect workers and punish employers, while the federal government passed legislation to crack down on immigration consultants.
Brent Jang’s coverage of the blockade of the Coastal Link natural gas pipeline in northern B.C. earned him the business, industry and economics award.
Mr. Jang had reported extensively on the debate about a liquefied natural gas terminal on the northern coast and the pipeline it would require. When that debate boiled over into a blockade by First Nations protesters opposed to the pipeline, Mr. Jang spent a week in a remote area of the province and also explored how the pipeline had become a divisive issue within the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
Frances Bula won in the print breaking-news category for her stories looking into how updated campaign-finance rules were working – and, in many cases, not working – in the Vancouver region’s municipal elections last year. Her work revealed how candidates and third-party groups were finding creative ways to get around the new rules, either by rushing out ad spending just before disclosure rules took effect or by having independent candidates pool resources to increase their collective spending limits.
Ms. Bula also reported that unions were allowing their paid staff to work on election campaigns – something that would be considered an illegal in-kind donation at the provincial level, but was permitted in local elections.
“To win in every category we were nominated for shows a new phase of dominance in the British Columbia market,” editor-in-chief David Walmsley said. “We are thrilled with the recognition, which comes from doing independent, solution-based journalism with heart.”
CBC Vancouver won three awards, including in the digital category for a piece that went behind the scenes of a student-made documentary about life in the trenches in the First World War; in the legal category for a podcast on the fallout from the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou; and in the radio enterprise reporting category for a piece about a Vancouver homeless advocate.
Global News picked up awards in the television enterprise category for work on money laundering in B.C.’s casinos and in the breaking-news category for coverage of the 2018 wildfire season.
Other winners include the Abbotsford News for a series about homelessness; Black Press for work on the opioid crisis; CKNW for breaking-news coverage of a destructive Vancouver windstorm; Fairchild TV for a piece about a shortage of care workers for seniors; and the Vancouver Sun’s Daphne Bramham in the commentary category.
The lifetime achievement award went to former Postmedia editor Fabian Dawson. Megaphone Magazine, a publication that is sold by homeless and low-income street vendors, won the Bill Good Award.