As any journalist in attendance could tell you, during an era of fake news and fluff pieces (when covering a canine wedding is considered a top priority), it’s a tough time to be working in the field. But that’s part of what makes being at the Amnesty International Media Awards such a special experience. It’s truly awesome to celebrate professionals like Nathan VanderKlippe of the Globe and Mail, Margaret Evans, Stephanie Jenzer and Richard Devey of the CBC, Sally Armstrong and Peter Bregg of the United Church Observer, and Denise Ryan of the Vancouver Sun for the hard work they’ve done to expose human rights violations all over the globe – including right here in Canada.
Ashley Hyshka is a student from Kwantlen Polytechnic University who stood amongst the celebrants this year as the winner of the Amnesty International Youth Media Award for her story, “No More Stolen Sisters”.
Ashely told us:
“When I first applied for the Amnesty International Canada Youth Media Award, a part of me wasn’t sure if I stood a chance to win such a prestigious award. So, when I received the email saying that I’d won, I was overjoyed and completely in shock. The entire journey has been incredible way to end my undergraduate studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Over the past several months, the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls has been something that’s occupied my mind more than I thought it would. The deeper I dug into the story, the more fascinated and appalled I became with what I was reading; thoughts about the abuse suffered by Indigenous women and girls, societal and police attitudes towards those who were murdered or went missing and the Robert Pickton investigation often kept me up at night.
Lorelei Williams and Dave Dickson were two of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met, and since I embarked on this story about six months ago, not a day has gone by where I don’t think about them.
Being able to call myself an “award winning journalist” at only 24 years old is something I never thought would happen. It’s an honour to receive this award from Amnesty International Canada and to represent my university. While today’s era of journalism can be frightening and uncertain due to “fake news” and a distrust of journalists, this award – and the journalists I befriended during the Media Awards – only reinforced my belief that we’re needed now more than ever.
Human rights stories are worth fighting for.”
Amnesty Canada is proud to support young, aspiring journalists through opportunities like the Youth Media Awards. If you have any questions, or want to know more, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Oriana Confente, Amnesty International Canada Youth Intern