Journal staff wins Amnesty International Youth Media award

Samantha Fink honoured for feature on invisible disabilities

Samantha Fink is The Journal’s features editor. 
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On Thursday, The Journal’s Features Editor Samantha Fink won Amnesty International’s Youth Media Award.

Each year, the award honours a student who creates media covering international or national human rights issues with an emphasis on young people. Fink’s article investigates the unique challenges of Queen’s students who are facing invisible disabilities on campus.

“Every student I spoke to moved me because they all showed me how something I see as completely mundane affects their everyday safety or success,” Fink said.

The issue of accessibility on campus came to her attention when Kaitlyn MacDonald—one of the eventual subjects of the article—emailed The Journal highlighting her experiences on campus.

“I realized how much effort goes into making a campus an accessible place for everyone, since everyone has such unique needs,” Fink said. “I became really interested in gathering a diverse group of students to interview about how their particular disabilities are addressed on campus.”

Fink added winning the award came as a surprise.

“I submitted this piece never thinking I’d win and I was shocked when I got the call,” she said. 

“If anything I’ve written should get more exposure, I’m happy it’s this piece because I think embracing differences and learning how we can help each other out is probably the most important thing journalism, or any other field for that matter, can do.”

Fink added that her article was not meant to put Queen’s in a negative light—it was simply to put the spotlight on disabilities that often slip under the radar. 

“Most people I talked to for this feature commended Queen’s on the whole for their approach to accessibility,” she said. “The importance of journalism is not to highlight the pitfalls, but to demonstrate where improvements can be made.”

With her piece gaining further recognition, she reflected on her interviews and experiences cultivating the piece. Fink said she hopes readers can take away what she did when it was published last October.

“I realized that a lot of people face barriers in classes and rely on notetakers’ notes for their success [sic],” Fink said. 

“In ways like these, we subtly doubt each others’ disadvantages in ways that don’t help anyone, and I hope the feature did a small part to alleviate these stigmas.”

Fink will accept the distinction on April 4 during Amnesty International’s 24th annual Media Awards. 

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