The Discourse brings home SEVEN national journalism awards

We’ve led the pack for two years running at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.
three people sit at a coffee shop
The Discourse reporters Julie Chadwick, left, and Lys Morton, right, share a laugh with Louise Belanger, a community supporter of The Discourse in Nanaimo. Photo by Jacqueline Ronson/The Discourse

The Discourse is thrilled to announce that we’re bringing seven Canadian Online Publishing Awards home to our communities. For the second year running, our little publication has proved its worth by earning more awards than any other outlet on this national stage. 

“Seeing The Discourse bring home these awards for another year reaffirms that what we’re doing — community-focused journalism that is rooted in deep listening and understanding — is working,” said Shalu Mehta, lead reporter for The Discourse in the Cowichan Valley. “The stories we tell come directly from the communities we serve and hold strength for that very same reason.”

In all, our team earned three gold medals, three silver medals and one Best Of Canada award, which recognizes the submissions with the top scores across all categories. We’re particularly proud to earn silver for Best Community News Website, which recognizes the whole team’s effort to build sustainable, in-depth local news for Cowichan and Nanaimo. 

“I truly believe that our success begins with our business model,” said Jacqueline Ronson, The Discourse’s managing editor. “We depend on the voluntary support of our community members, and so it’s on us to deliver news and information that people genuinely value. We share this recognition with all of our readers and supporters, who are our true partners on this wild ride.”

Two women laugh and dance
Managing Editor Jacqueline Ronson and Lead Reporter Shalu Mehta are celebrating The Discourse’s national recognition. Photo by Philip McLachlan/The Discourse

Check out our award-winning work

Lauren Kaljur took GOLD 🥇 for Best Multicultural Story, for this article about a local initiative to tackle anti-Indigenous racism in healthcare by pairing health-care workers with Indigenous mentors. This story won an additional Best Of Canada 🏆 award for earning a top score across all categories.

Shalu Mehta earned GOLD 🥇 for Best Local Community News for her reporting and deep community engagement on solutions for water in the Quw’utsun (Cowichan) and Xwulqw’selu (Koksilah) watersheds. Check out those stories here

The Discourse Cowichan team won GOLD 🥇 for Best Audience Development series, for History in Cowichan, a series of six local history stories delivered by email. Lead reporter Shalu Mehta spearheaded this project, with stories contributed by Jacqueline Ronson, Jared Qwustenuxun Williams, Mat Pereira and Rashika Srivastava. Read the stories by signing up for the email series at this link.

Julie Chadwick brought home SILVER 🥈 for Best Investigative Article, for her groundbreaking investigation into water sub-metering, the unregulated practice of charging tenants in an apartment complex individually for their water usage. After this report, the BC Utilities Commission launched an investigation into the sub-metering company to determine if it should be regulated as a utility. Julie’s reporting “had more than a small part to play” in prompting the investigation, according to a lawyer involved in the case.

Shalu Mehta earned SILVER 🥈 for Best Feel Good story, for her story on the 10,000 Gifts initiative at Q’shintul/Mill Bay Nature School, which seeks to honour the history of the land, lives lost to residential “schools” and the power of community. 

And, as mentioned, The Discourse took SILVER 🥈 for Best Community News Website, recognizing our team’s work to deliver truly valuable news and information through our website, newsletters and social media platforms. We share this recognition with our partners at Indiegraf, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our website running, grow our audience and find the revenue to make the work sustainable. 

We’d also like to tip our hats to our sister publications IndigiNews and The Wren, who also took home Canadian Online Publishing Awards. IndigiNews won gold for Aaron Hemens’s photo essay featuring two-spirit drag artist Ella Lamoureux. The Wren, a brand new publication serving Kamloops, took silver for a series on Secwepemctsín language by Secwépemc storyteller Kenthen Thomas. Way to go, team!

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