Christopher Cheung wins 2021 Dalton Camp Award and $10,000 prize for his essay Blind Spots
“When journalists neglect to cover the people and communities outside their familiar comfort zone, we all lose.”
TORONTO – Vancouver’s Christopher Cheung has won the 2021 Dalton Camp Award for his essay Blind Spots, a powerful reflection on the importance of representation and on-the-ground community reporting in Canadian journalism.
The Dalton Camp Award is a $10,000 prize for the best essay on the link between media and democracy, presented annually by FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting.
Christopher Cheung is a Vancouver journalist who writes about diasporas and the power dynamics behind urban change. He is currently a staff reporter at The Tyee.
Blind Spots speaks to the importance of diversity and representation in journalism, and the importance of pursuing stories, and sources, that are truly representative.
“I once thought journalism was a reliable reflection of reality. Nowadays, I can’t help but view reporting as a reflection of whoever happens to be holding the pen, and they aren’t representing or writing about large parts of the community. Journalists may aspire to gather and report the truth, but what good is that if they don’t interrogate their own blind spots?” — An excerpt from Blind Spots.
The Toronto Star published the full essay in the print edition for Sunday 6 June 202. It is available in full here.↗︎
“I’m honoured to accept this year’s Dalton Camp Award for my essay,” said Cheung. “It’s titled Blind Spots because as someone who has grown up in a culturally diverse place as Vancouver, I always get really upset when I see the places that I know ignored, or misrepresented in news media.”
The Dalton Camp Award was created in 2002 to honour the memory of Dalton Camp, a distinguished commentator on Canadian public affairs. Winners were chosen from amongst 200 entries, by a seven-member jury: Michael Barclay, Kathy English, Jane Hilderman, Omar Mouallem, Radiyah Chowdhury, Candis Callison and Hannah Sung.
“A key element of supporting Canadian journalism is calling out its shortcomings,” says FRIENDS Executive Director, Daniel Bernhard. “This essay makes clear that journalists need to get off Twitter and into the community to discover the rich stories that have been unfolding in their own backyards for years without them noticing. It is our pleasure to be awarding this prize to an exceptional writer for calling on his colleagues, and all of us, to confront our blind spots and discover the wondrous variety of life in Canada.”
The Toronto Star is the official media partner for the 2021 Dalton Camp Award.
FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting is a grassroots movement of citizens working to protect Canadian public broadcasting, journalism and storytelling on air, and online. FRIENDS enjoys the support of 364,000 Canadians and is not affiliated with any broadcaster or political party.