Climate coverage in Manitoba gets massive boost

Environment & Animal Welfare

Media partnership funded by The Winnipeg Foundation will focus on environmental issues

A new partnership between The Free Press and The Narwhal has created a local climate reporter position that will focus on stories about ongoing and evolving environmental issues.

The Narwhal is an award-winning online journalism outlet that was founded in 2018. Based out of British Columbia, it has now expanded its reach and scope to other provinces, including reporters covering Alberta, Ontario, Newfoundland, and now Manitoba. While there have been Narwhal journalists assigned to the prairie region, this is the first position that will be dedicated to reporting in Manitoba.

The position has been created in part to meet an appetite for coverage in our province.

“We kept getting pitches from readers. They kept reaching out to us, wanting us to cover issues that are happening in Manitoba,” says Emma Gilchrist, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Narwhal. “Until now, we didn’t have capacity to cover things in Manitoba, and I really hope for this new reporter to get really integrated with what’s going on, on the ground in Manitoba; what the big issues are, and to get to tell those really human, really rich, complicated stories. What the front lines of climate change looks like there.”

While The Free Press currently reports on the climate crisis occasionally, this partnership with The Narwhal means the organization will have a dedicated focus on climate reporting once again. The Free Press’ Editor-in-Chief, Paul Samyn is excited about the opportunity.

“I think there’s a recognition that we weren’t doing enough,” says Samyn. “It’s not that we weren’t covering [climate change], almost every election campaign has had some degree of environmental policy. But I don’t think we covered it with the level of seriousness that we should have been. I said to our readers, we’re going to try and find a way to make this work.”

When the opportunity to connect with The Narwhal through funding from The Winnipeg Foundation, Samyn knew it was a great match.

“This opportunity came our way to work with The Narwhal and The Winnipeg Foundation, and I’m delighted that the commitment we made to readers is going to start bearing fruit soon,” said Samyn. “[The Free Press] will be strengthened through the collaboration with The Narwhal, no question about it.”

Gilchrist and her team at The Narwhal know that Manitoba faces many issues and areas of focus that will be highlighted by this new position.

“I know there can be lots of interesting stories about the agriculture industry, lots of stuff about the health, or lack of health, of Lake Winnipeg,” said Gilchrist. “There are huge Indigenous protected areas in the North as well. So it’s really ripe ground for stories that haven’t been told.”

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This story is featured in the Spring 2022 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

About the photo

Julia-Simone Rutgers was selected as the reporter after an extensive national search for a journalist for this partnership.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Lee, The Free Press.

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