20.09.2021 20:23

Jack Webster Foundation Announces 2021 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement and Bill Good Award Recipients


VANCOUVER, BC, Sept. 20, 2021 /CNW/ - Western Canada's preeminent journalism foundation today announced that Shushma Datt is the 2021 Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and the online publication The Tyee is the 2021 Bill Good Award recipient. The awards will be presented during the November 3rd, 2021 Online Webster Awards event.

Shushma Datt (CNW Group/Jack Webster Foundation)

 Shushma Datt
2021 Jack Webster Foundation
"Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award" Recipient

Over the last four decades legendary broadcasting pioneer Shushma Datt has blazed a trail that reads like a film script.

Her career of "many firsts" began at the Times of India, followed by a stint at the BBC.

After moving to Vancouver in the early 1970s and being rejected for work with mainstream media because of her Indian accent, she decided to go to an employer that would recognize her talent, innovative spirit and tenacity – herself.

So, she started her own radio station.

Rim Jhim, produced round-the-clock content for the South Asian audience and was the first in the world outside India to do so.  As it was broadcasting on a sub-carrier frequency, she also had to sell the radios themselves for her audience to access the station. It took 20 years of perseverance, but finally, in 2005, Shushma became the first Canadian woman to obtain a CRTC licence for RJ1200 – now known as Spice Radio.

Shushma also branched out into TV, and as the first Canadian of South Asian descent in broadcast, she reflected a small but burgeoning Indian community producing nine specialty programs for Shaw and OMNI TV. These shows promoted women, diversity, cross-cultural understanding, and have been cited as the inspiration for a generation of south Asian female journalists.

As a hard-hitting reporter, Shushma endured threats on her life and to her business following her reporting on the Air India bombing. She had to install panic buttons at home and work and dealt with this by herself - without the protection a larger media entity could have provided.

She has been a woman in a man's world. An Indian woman in a white man's world. A pioneer. Stubborn. Strong. Shushma has a long and accomplished career in the media business, but it is so because she created her own space when people wouldn't give her any.

These achievements have not gone unnoticed and she is also the recipient of the Order of BC, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, a YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, and is one of those rare people known by just one name – Shushma.

Find out more about Shushma and hear from her at the Wednesday, November 3rd, Online Webster Awards, 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time and free to watch at www.ohboy.ca/websterawards2021, hosted by Global BC's Chris Gailus and Sophie Lui.

Tyee (CNW Group/Jack Webster Foundation)

The Tyee
2021 Jack Webster Foundation "Bill Good Award" Recipient

The award honours a B.C. individual or organization that makes a significant contribution to journalism in the province or addresses a community's needs and benefits via journalism.  In determining the recipient of the Bill Good Award, the Foundation considers the achievements and contributions to societal good from journalism educators, news reporters and managers, media organizations and their business leaders. 

The Jack Webster Foundation is proud to announce that The Tyee is this year's recipient of the Bill Good Award, which honours an individual or organization that makes significant contributions to journalism in the province or addresses a community's needs and benefits via journalism.

Over the past two decades, despite formidable challenges and the skepticism of many in the media, The Tyee has become a leading source of daily news, opinion, culture, and investigative journalism. With solid reporting, fine writing, and cogent analysis, The Tyee's impact is big and its reach is broad. With thousands of readers across BC and beyond our borders, it contributes to the public dialogue on many issues.

Founded in 2003, The Tyee pioneered a new model of regionally-based, reader-supported, independent, professional, online journalism. It has grown to an average of 1 million page views per month by 700,000 unique visitors. In the last year, nearly 1,500 original stories were published on the website.  It has 70,000 subscribers, 67,000 Twitter followers, 26,000 Facebook friends, and 8,500 Instagram followers. In 2020, over 6,500 people supported the Tyee with a financial contribution through the Tyee Builders program.

The Tyee's beat reporters, columnists, and contributors cover key issues of our times through a progressive, solutions-focused lens. Tyee journalists take care to ensure representation of diverse voices, both in terms of sources quoted in stories and bylines of authors published.

At a time of shrinking mainstream newsrooms, The Tyee continues to grow through developing close relationships with readers. Financial contributions from Tyee Builders make up about one-third of revenue. The Tyee model has provided inspiration and guidance for other online publications.

The Jack Webster Foundation is proud to celebrate The Tyee, a tremendous (many said an unlikely) homegrown success!

Find out more about The Tyee at the November 3rd, Online Webster Awards, 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time and free to watch at www.ohboy.ca/websterawards2021, hosted by Global BC's Chris Gailus and Sophie Lui.

This year's Webster Awards are made possible by Presenting Sponsors:  BCGEU, FortisBC, Global Container Terminals Inc., Google, LNG Canada, Port of Vancouver; Supporting Sponsors:  BCIT, Langara, Jim Pattison Group, UDI and West Coast Reduction.  Webster Award partners are Oh Boy Productions, Glacier Media, and the Vancouver Sun and Province.  Cision is the exclusive distribution partner of the Jack Webster Foundation.

The Jack Webster Foundation was established in 1986, upon the retirement of its namesake, who was Western Canada's best-known and most influential reporter, in order to foster and celebrate excellence in journalism, protect the public interest for British Columbian's, and create a community where trusted outstanding journalism thrives.

Jack Webster Foundation Logo (CNW Group/Jack Webster Foundation)

SOURCE Jack Webster Foundation

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