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PressProgress Labour Reporter Wins ‘Excellence in Journalism’ Award From UBC Journalism School

Emma Arkell presented with Rafe Mair Award for Excellence in Journalism for original labour reporting published by PressProgress

Emma Arkell, an alumni of PressProgress’ labour reporting internship program in 2021, has won a journalism award in recognition of original work developed and published during her summer placement last year.

Arkell, who is graduating with an MA from UBC’s School of Journalism, Writing, and Media, was presented with the Rafe Mair Award for Excellence in Journalism, which is presented to the student from the graduating class who has produced the best published work of public service journalism during the degree program.

The award is endowed by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.

Arkell’s award recognizes two stories published by PressProgress last year, as well as an additional story later published by Briarpatch Magazine.

The first story published by PressProgress looked at Vancouver hotel workers laid off at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic fighting for their right to be recalled to work.  The second story cast a light on “arbitrary” bureaucratic rules that were denying permanent residency status to vulnerable migrant workers.

“I was reading a lot about how the pandemic was impacting workers and women, but so often the coverage focused on white collar workers who were working from home,” Arkell explains. “What about women working in the service and care sectors, who either did not have the option to work from home, or who were out of work altogether?”

Arkell is the first labour reporting intern to complete PressProgress internship program, which is now entering its second year. The summer program is designed to give students and recent graduates entry-level experience in journalism.

“The internship at PressProgress gave me the chance to develop my stories with the help of an editor, and to sit in on story meetings to learn how a progressive news organization covers a wide range of issues,” Arkell says.

“Getting the opportunity to publish my own stories allowed me to better understand the issues I’m interested in covering,” she added. “Pitching these stories, and the experiences I gained while reporting on them, gave me more confidence in my ideas.”

“Now I’ve got a portfolio to prove that I can do this work.”

Arkell says PressProgress‘ labour reporting internship has left her with valuable experience covering important issues that are undercovered in Canada.

“In journalism school, we often talked about reporting techniques from different beats, but no one talked about labour reporting,” Arkell points out.

“The chance to practice labour journalism and learn from an experienced labour journalist like Emily Leedham was critical for my development as a journalist. I learned so much about the world of work, different strategies for covering labour stories, and aspects of the labour world that are fascinating and sorely undercovered, like occupational health and safety.”

 

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PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

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