Journalists who kicked ass in 2017 (and will be attending NASH!)

Words by Sarah Krichel

Desmond Cole, Activist
@DesmondCole

The year of 2017 brought journalist and activist Desmond Cole into a never-before-seen spotlight, one he didn’t keep to himself. Cole deflected it onto injustices against Black people. That same spotlight, which included protests at Toronto Police Service Board meetings, was enough to spark his departure from his columnist job at the Toronto Star because of the publication’s intolerance of mixing activism with journalism. But choosing activism over a job that didn’t allow him to be himself led to him receiving the PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize for freedom of expression. Will he kick more ass in 2018 by running for mayor like he’s alluding to? We’ll have to wait and see.
Desmond’s NASH session: Come to the dinner of January 6th and listen to Desmond’s keynote where he’ll talk about the state of journalism and what that means for young diverse voices.

Robyn Doolittle, The Globe and Mail
@robyndoolittle

Eyeopener alumni and investigative journalist Robyn Doolittle made her mark with her reporting on Rob Ford’s personal life leading to her reception of 2014 Michener Award for public service journalism — but she garnered the most attention for Globe and Mail investigation: “Unfounded: Why police dismiss 1 in 5 sexual assault claims as baseless” in February. This story sparked national outrage and was followed by the publishing of multiple stories that included a map which rated how likely it is that police will believe your claim of sexual assault depending on where you live, as well as a story released Dec. 12 on how police services are reopening sexual assault cases and reforming their approaches as a result to the medley of Globe stories. With her love for FOIs, Canadians are waiting to see what else she and her team will reveal in 2018.
Robyn’s NASH session: Robyn will be keynote on January 5th and will be giving us a look into the Unfounded project and what investigatory journalism means to our communities.

Allison Tierney, VICE

This recent Eyeopener alumni and Ryerson graduate has accumulated three awards for herself in the past year: Best Brand Packaging for VICE’s week-long series “Relapse: Facing Canada’s Opioid Crisis,” Best original series or program produced for digital media for VICE’s “DOPESICK” documentary now at 5 million YouTube views, and a best service feature award for family, health and careers. Tierney kicked ass in 2017 by putting a spotlight on the women at the frontlines of Canada’s opioid crisis and by breaking the story of a Canadian woman’s email to a doctor which detailed her survival of an OD led to her being blocked at the US border.
Allison’s NASH session: Listen to Allison explain how to report on the opioid crisis responsibly. What are terms to use and not to use? What are ways to provide self-care?

Shireen Ahmed
@_shireenahmed_

This athlete-journalist is kicking ass through stories and press conferences but is no regular athlete — she’s a soccer-playing hijabi woman who’s here to tear down discrimination on Muslim women in sports and also fancies herself an athlete, advocate, community organizer and mentor. She’s made appearances in The Globe and Mail, VICE Sports and many more, and you can also find her in the weekly feminist sports podcast Burn It All Down, where a panel of five women discuss big stories in different sports domes and apply feminist critical lenses to their discussions. Also, she has a sick website.
Shireen’s NASH session: Let Shireen explain what else you should be putting in your sports section. She’ll go over what voices are missing in sports coverage and what stories to include beyond just game coverage.

Willow Fidler, APTN News

Reporting on Indigenous communities is already a meagre thing in Canada, but what happens even less is reporting within the Indigenous communities, like conflicts, community issues and personal stories. Willow Fidler of APTN News has shown Canada the significance of giving Indigenous people voices through video journalism with her prolific reporting on various First Nations communities. She is Anishinabekwe from Sandy Lake First Nation and has been inherent in giving a platform to First Nations people in her interviews, through stories like volunteers patrolling the roads of Thunder Bay or communities providing support to families in light of the MMIWG hearings. Local coverage is key to illustrating the bigger narrative of continued discrimination against First Nations.
Willow’s NASH session: APTN tells stories that no one else does. Willow will touch base on why local reporting and community storytelling is so important and how to keep your relationships growing.

Eternity Martis, Xtra
@eternitymartis

Eternity Martis is an advocate, activist and journalist who specializes her work in race and women’s issues, current affairs, relationships, fashion, music, body image and more. In 2017, this policy-changing long-form lover was nominated for Best New Magazine writer for her Hazlitt piece “Know Your History, Know Your Greatness,” where she details how Black history being omitted from Canadian schools’ curricula, and how being represented in who teaches you can make all the difference for Black youth trying to know what they come from.
Eternity’s NASH session: Eternity will be taking the time to go through what makes the perfect pitch and how better show off your ideas. Maybe attend her session before pitching our editors at speed pitching sessions!

Andree Lau, HuffPost Canada
@alau2

Andree Lau became the editor-in-chief for HuffPost Canada this summer, and was previously managing editor of news for the publication. She also managed HuffPost Alberta. Lau helped to launch HuffPost B.C. in 2012 and has previously worked for the CBC. She has video and podcast-oriented plans for 2018 as EIC.
Andree’s NASH session: Diversity in newsroom storytelling is something you hear about but don’t often tackle head-on. Andree will be talking about ways to include diversity, but not as a an afterthought in journalism.

Kenny Yum, CBC 
@yumke

And where did Kenny go after leaving HuffPost? He filled the role of the CBC’s new chief of staff. And yes, it seems he still has just the same amount of time to obsess over his cat and baby. The CBC has seen a boost in general with their visible diversity, like with The National having two racialized people and two women as the new hosts, replacing Peter Mansbridge, local white guy.
Kenny’s NASH session: how do you keep up with a constantly changing audience? Students papers are facing totally different challenges than they did before, but how can we do better? Kenny has (some) of the answers.

Stephen Trumper, Ryerson School of Journalism and Ryerson Review of Journalism
@steve_trumper

Stephen Trumper has been a part-time instructor at Ryerson University for more than 20 years continues to be the instructor at the Ryerson Review of Journalism. This year, the magazine saw a pivot in their focus on digital by bringing features to different online platforms, to a website redesign, to their new podcast launched this year “Pull Quotes.” Trumper managed the direction of the magazine by putting 100% of the onus on the students. Another fun fact about Trumper is that he’s a literal angel.
Stephen’s NASH session: Accessibility in journalism is a responsibility often forgotten about. Stephen will talk about some ways to be more accommodating and what are some terms you should be ditching? Speak up and ask your questions.

Vicky Mochama, Metro News Canada
@vmochama

This renowned-for-being-badass national columnist for Metro News reports on equity in race and gender as well as politics and culture. In February 2017, she started up her podcast Safe Space alongside Ishmael Daro from Buzzfeed, where they cover topics like the prison system, the electoral system, NAFTA and “The Whole Gay Thing.” Highly recommend this awesome weekly listen if you want to get hear some real takes about the news.
Vicky’s NASH session: Learn about how to get your paper started in the podcast world, Vicky will be dropping some knowledge about the best practices in podcasting and some ways to kick off.