Whitehorse freelance journalist Karen McColl will use the bursary to fund a canoe expedition to document the impact of development on remote communities along the Mackenzie River. 

By Tamara Baluja, Associate Editor

Whitehorse freelance journalist Karen McColl is this year’s winner of the Gordon Sinclair Roving Reporter Bursary.

She will use the $15,000 bursary to fund a canoe expedition to document the impact of oil, gas and construction development on remote communities along the Mackenzie River.

“We could be on the verge of seeing large-scale and irreversible changes in the region and I think it’s important to capture the voice of the people who will be most affected by these developments,” McColl said in a press release. “I have a deep respect for First Nations culture and I hope to give a voice to people who don’t always get to be heard in mainstream media.’’

McColl and an expedition partner will canoe from Fort Simpson to Inuvik over the course of about seven weeks this summer and spend two to four days each in Fort Simpson, Wrigley, Tulita, Norman Wells, Deline, Fort Good Hope, Tsiigehtchic, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.

The bursary is meant to support a major research and reporting trip by an early career Canadian journalist graduated in the past five years from a Canadian university journalism program.


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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.