‘Journal’ staff win big at 2023 JHM awards

Two pieces win, three shortlisted

Image by: Curtis Heinzl
From left to right

The Journal had five articles shortlisted and two winning pieces at the recent John H. MacDonald (JHM) Awards for Excellence in Student Journalism.

The “prestigious” awards are put on by the Canadian University Press and were announced at the NASH Gala held at McMaster on Feb 18. Current Features Editor Anne Fu, HealthSci ’25, Senior News Editor Asbah Ahmad, ArtSci ’24, and Assistant Lifestyle Editor Clanny Mugabe, ArtSci ’23, were all recognized.

Fu had three articles shortlisted for the 2SLGBTQIA+, Disability, and Climate Reporting awards. She won two of the three categories in 2SLGBTQIA+ and Climate Reporting for her features.

“The number of times I received a nomination was really surprising for me, and it was really touching to see that I’ve been recognized [at] such a large level,” Fu said in an interview with The Journal.

Her article “Exploring the gender-affirming healthcare system in Kingston” looked at transgender healthcare access in Kingston.

“[It] was a really interesting and vital article to work on […] really relevant and topical at the time,” she said. “I think the urgency of the article came across.”

In “The relationship between climate change & human health,” Fu spoke with doctors, experts, and graduate students to understand how climate change is going to impact health.

Perhaps the climate article won because she chose an angle “less touched upon” in climate reporting, Fu said. There’s a lot of work done by student journalism on the climate crisis, but not a lot of it touches the intersection of healthcare and how it will impact future health.

“It was kind of interesting to take on the topic and sort of have a reminder of that climate change will affect all of us in pretty much every area of life,” Fu said.

Mugabe had her illustrations shortlisted for the second year in a row. Last year, it was an illustration for one of her first editorial boards at The Journal, and this year, it was the front page of the 2022 Black History Month Issue.

Mugabe started drawing when she was very young. She would visit the library with her mother and draw to keep busy.

“I’ve never not been drawing,” she told The Journal.

She said her nominated illustration was colourful, encompassed many elements, and was technically challenging to draw.

“It [was] a momentous occasion because it was The Journal’s first official Black History Month issue,” Mugabe said.

Upon her first nomination in 2022, Mugabe said she was shocked. The second time around, she admitted waiting around for it to happen.

“I definitely think my excitement was a little more prolonged the second time because I had a little more information.”

When asked about the importance of the JHM awards, Mugabe said student journalists put a lot of work in that deserves to be recognized.

“A lot of the time, it’s not paid […] so it’s really nice to see that, all that effort is really appreciated, especially for arts because visual arts don’t always get the recognition they deserve.”

Ahmad had his article “Graduate students seek affordable housing after Queen’s housing complexes fill up” shortlisted for the News Reporting Award.

Ahmad’s story is about much more than the lack of spaces in a housing complex for graduate students, he said. It’s about marginalized students who find it challenging to access housing, the difficulties racialized students face in Kingston, and the amount of work graduate students do for universities.

“[Graduate students] do much for universities, and they do so much for undergraduate students, and they provide so much labor. And that often goes unacknowledged,” he said in an interview with The Journal.

He didn’t expect to receive an award for the story, having covered graduate students since being an Assistant News Editor last year.

“I think it’s easy to forget that there are people behind all of these stories. But I think it’s the fact that we’re able to convey like human emotion […] and we’re able to make it accessible to the masses. I think that is something that’s so powerful,” Ahmad said.

Across the paper, he believes the news team has told strong stories this year.

“Just because this one got an award doesn’t take away from the amount of work that the News team has done this year […] We’ve broken really important vital headlines, and I think that cannot be underscored.”


JHM awards, Journalism, The Journal

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