Shortly before the Webster Award for Best Radio Feature was announced, UBC Journalism grad Jodie Martinson and UBC Journalism student Lisa Hale had a friendly chat at the back of the room and wished each other good luck. The two radio producers were up for the award in the same category.
Hale’s documentary The Imaginary Albino explores the ways that albinism plays out in popular imagination. It chronicles the stigma and discrimination that people with albinism face across the world, particularly in East Africa, where many are hunted for their body parts which are thought to bring prosperity.
The documentary was cited as evidence for a historic UN Human Rights Council resolution on the rights of persons with albinism, which was passed in June of 2013.
Garth Mullins, who has albinism, is the narrator, while Hale served as sound recordist, co-writer (with Mullins) and field producer of the hour-long documentary, which aired on CBC Radio’s Ideas.
Martinson’s documentary To Have & To Hold tells the story of Evelyn Amony, who was abducted when she was 12 years old by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.
Martinson began the project as a student at UBC, and traveled to Uganda with a UBC Journalism IDRC award, which offers $20,000 to a student each year to spend several months immersed in a reporting project overseas.
When the award was announced, Hale and Mullins were called to the podium to accept the glass statue, and they gave a shout out to UBC Journalism in their acceptance speech.
“The School of Journalism has given me the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best journalists in North America. The experience I’ve gained here has been invaluable,” said Hale, who previously won the Webster Student Journalism Award in 2011.
One of this year’s Student Journalism Award recipients was UBC Journalism student Mike Wallberg, a second-year student who in 2012 left a career in business to actively pursue journalism.
“I’m very appreciative that the Jack Webster Foundation recognizes journalists early in their careers,” said Wallberg. “I’m humbled to be selected for one of their awards this year.”
The Jack Webster Foundation was established in 1986 in honour of long-time newspaper, radio and television reporter Jack Webster, with the goal of recognizing and encouraging excellence in British Columbia-based journalism.
The Jack Webster Awards ceremony took place on October 30th, 2013, at the Westin Bayshore in downtown Vancouver.