Nunatsiaq News builds back stronger

New Nunavut Editor role is one of the newsroom changes signalling a return to normal

Like other businesses, Nunatsiaq News, whose Iqaluit newsroom is seen here, is preparing to build back after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo by Corey Larocque)

By Corey Larocque

Been there. Done that. Back for more.

Like everyone else, Nunatsiaq News is looking forward to getting back to normal and emerging from the two-year pandemic stronger than before.

We’re excited to welcome Emma Tranter back to our newsroom. Readers will remember Emma for her work with this paper two years ago. She first joined our newsroom in 2019, working in Iqaluit.

In 2020, she took a job with The Canadian Press as its northern correspondent for about a year and a half. But at the beginning of May, she rejoined Nunatsiaq News in a newly created newsroom role — Nunavut Editor.

She will split her time between reporting and editing stories that originate from Nunavut’s communities and Iqaluit.

Last year, she won the Quebec Community Newspapers Association’s feature-writing award for a piece about Grise Fiord’s Larry Audlaluk and his family’s relocation to the High Arctic from northern Quebec in the 1950s.

Her return is just one of a few recent changes at Nunatsiaq News.

This spring, it feels like the world is inching closer to its return to normal. So, we’re taking this opportunity to share with readers what our new normal looks like.

Nunatsiaq News reporters are back on the road — or in the skies, more accurately. COVID-19 travel restrictions curtailed our reporters’ ability to get around as much as they would have liked.

Last summer, a reporter was able to sneak in just one trip to Pangnirtung between waves of COVID-19.

But last month, reporter David Venn travelled to Arctic Bay to cover the first Nunavut Quest in two years, the reopening of the hamlet’s community hall and a hamlet hockey team’s much-anticipated participation in the Qamutik Cup hockey tournament.

And reporter Dave Lochead wasted no time to get aboard the first Canadian North flight to Kuujjuaq as soon as the airline resumed direct flights between there and Iqaluit in April. He also covered the village’s Easter snowmobile races and two organizations that are using on-the-land programs to counsel people with mental health issues.

Jeff Pelletier, who joined the team in the fall, will be reporting from Kuujjuaq, Kangiqsujuaq, Kangiqsualujjuaq and Inukjuak next week, covering Gov. Gen. Mary Simon’s first official visit to her birthplace since becoming the first Indigenous person to serve as the Queen’s representative in Canada.

Reporter Madalyn Howitt has tackled a range of stories since she was hired in September, including a string of coroner’s inquests over the past six months. It’s the kind of important journalism Nunatsiaq News aims to do well.

Meral Jamal, a recent Carleton University graduate who was her university’s first intern with CBC North, joined Nunatsiaq News in April. She will join reporters in Iqaluit later this year, after tying up some loose ends with some reporting fellowship opportunities she received.

Gord Howard, a veteran of newsrooms in Ontario’s Niagara region, brought three decades of writing and editing experience to Nunatsiaq News as a web editor in April.

And Randi Beers, who has lived and worked in the Northwest Territories and has travelled extensively across the North, continues the role she began as web editor two years ago.

There were some changes in 2021, following the death of the highly regarded former editor of this paper, Jim Bell, and the departure of veteran reporters Jane George and Sarah Rogers, whose bylines were familiar to longtime readers.

The past two years have been challenging for many businesses and for many Nunavummiut and Nunavimmiut. Like everyone else, Nunatsiaq News is preparing to build back stronger.

Clarification: This article was updated to reflect that Meral Jamal’s internship with CBC North was the first under a new partnership with Carleton University.

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(13) Comments:

  1. Posted by Stephen C on

    Carry on, If there is one thing we can use in this day of less free speech it is a paper like yours. Jim Bell would have been celebrating with us. Keep up with the good work and his legacy one and all.

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    • Posted by What!? on

      What do you mean “less free speech”? There’s no such thing, free speech is still there, but what we do see is more hate speech and misinformation being spewed more and more people are calling them out on it.

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      • Posted by Complex Issue on

        Is there more hate speech, or have the parameters around what counts as ‘hate’ been narrowed to the point where counter-narratives and contrarian opinion are more often considered beyond the limits of acceptability than they once were?

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        • Posted by John K on

          Probably less than there was historically but it stands out more now that we have defined it better.

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          • Posted by Lowering the Bar on

            We have, yes, but most people don’t know what it is.

            Mere opposition or dislike of any identifiable group is not hate, but that seems to be the standard that we are lowering ourselves to.

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            • Posted by Oliphant on

              I’m not convinced at all that our definition of hate is necessarily better, what makes you think it is?

    • Posted by John K on

      Odd. I don’t feel any less free than at any other point in my life.

      I have to wonder what people are trying to say that their freedom of speech is so consistently curtailed.

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      • Posted by Heckler’s Veto on

        Probably the best high profile example of a person who has been publicly castigated for “wrong speak” is JK Rowling, who had the audacity to suggest that biological ‘sex’ is a real thing (can you imagine) and thus transwomen are not biologically women. To say this should seem obvious to most of us, but in the distorted universe of progressive thought today it is pure heresy.

        Scapegoat identified, bring on the purge.

        Lower profile examples are filled with similarly “problematic” and “harmful” thought crimes, usually to do with race. For example, musing that not all police officers are racists, or that black students in certain schools are not performing as well as their white peers have cost people their jobs. Let’s not bother asking if these statements are true within whatever context they were uttered. Truth is the cudgel of power, after all.

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        • Posted by Complex Issue on

          It is difficult to have conversations around this issue as it has become so polarized. Mere mention of ‘cancel culture’ is often enough to raise suspicion about motives, or to ‘suggest’ that push back against the social prohibitions that have grown around certain topics is evidence of racism or hate ‘ipso facto.’ Why, for example, might a white person push back against the idea that all white people are racist, unless they were a racist? The thin pretence of logic aside, most people just don’t want to bother going there and hope one day it will all just disappear.

          As the conservative intellectual Roger Scruton once wrote of Nationalism (applicable to ideology in general):

          “It occupies the space vacated by religion, and in doing so excites the true believer both to worship the national idea and to seek in it for what it cannot provide – the ultimate purpose in life, the way to redemption and the consolation for all our woes.”

          Zealotry around progressive ideals has done the same, seemingly unhinged and detached from reality in some cases, it provides meaning and purpose, and long after the most important battles have been won it continues to offer a framework within which there are forces of good and an evil—seemingly a psychological necessity—to push back against.

  2. Posted by iThink on

    Speaking of Jim Bell, since his passing the editorial most reminiscent in style of the old firebrand, as I see it, was ‘City Took a Gamble with Iqaluit’s Water Supply’

    That was an excellent piece and I have no doubt Jim would have loved it.

    Of course it irritated the poor Mayor, who would later whine on Twitter about how Jim would be rolling in his grave were he to witness the state of things at the paper today.

    This kind of childish nonsense was Kenny’s way of exacting revenge on the obvious injustice meted out by his critics. The irony being that Jim would have raked the city over the coals with at least as much relish and vigor. And, as we might expect, Kenny’s orchestra of howls and loudly cried fouls would be waiting and on key.

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  3. Posted by scratchy iggaak, glasses on

    Writing about issues in a non-biased manner is important. However in the changing of ways and society, the writer’s pen has long been from a Westerner’s eye due to historical circumstances. The adjustment of news platforms is a critical step to make news that is reported has to be framed appropriately. Unfortunately, the comments sections of news media still tend to show uninformed, uneducated, or ill-informed writers who reflect the ‘colonial’ attitudes but, also the ones who have been ill-treated. Yes, this also pertains to gender, LBTQ+ and others who have been treated differently. It will take a while to shift as we are seeing daily. Writers therefore have a challenging task of taking a step back and ensuring they are framing the issues from a historical and social perspective. We get fatigued from ‘the adventure seekers syndrome’ who regurgitate their new found understanding but also the commenters who feel slighted from seemingly called on their attitudes.

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    • Posted by Friendly Advice on

      If you genuinely want to help shift ‘colonial’ attitudes and counter ‘western’ perspectives start by learning to communicate your points well. Also, make sure to engage with people honestly, intelligently, and in good faith (admit when you are wrong).

      Are you able, for example, to explain what you mean by the appropriate “historical and social perspective” you urge us to consider?

      If by calling people out you mean telling them they are uninformed and uneducated, or that their worldview is wrong because it is ‘colonial’ they will tune you out and treat you with contempt.

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      • Posted by Taqagama – I am worn out on

        That was a suggestion. One cannot answer it all in one little box in this corner of the Western newspaper. Your response is valid. However, it is a typical southern response. I’m too tired to try and explain the suggestions in one answer. That is why I said, fatigue. We have to do this constantly. We even stop reteaching after a while. Over and over again.

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