Times Colonist reporter Cindy E. Harnett and photographer Darren Stone are finalists for a 2022 Webster Award for a feature story about the impact of COVID-19 at Royal Jubilee Hospital’s intensive-care unit.
Their submission, Pandemic: Behind the Curtain, is a finalist in the category of Excellence in Health Reporting. Winners in 14 categories will be announced on Nov. 3 in an online awards ceremony.
The awards recognize excellence in journalism throughout B.C. and are named for the late Jack Webster, an influential reporter in the province for decades.
Harnett and Stone were given access to the ICU at a time when health-care workers were seeing an increase in serious illness and death among middle-aged unvaccinated adults who had COVID-19’s Delta variant.
In her account, Harnett, who has covered the COVID-19 story since January 2020, described four boys wearing protective gear going into their father’s ICU room one by one for a final goodbye.
“Harnett and Stone took us right into the battle zone, where health-care workers were doing all they could to save lives and comfort families,” said Times Colonist editor and publisher Dave Obee. “They are doing a fantastic job, and the superb stories and photos on our website and in our newspaper reflected that.
“There were many obstacles to putting that feature together, but we cleared all of them so we could give our readers greater insight into the impact of COVID-19.”
He said that much credit is due to the health-care workers and the families who trusted the Times Colonist with their stories.
“Once again, the Times Colonist gave our readers some exceptional reporting,” Obee said. “This nomination acknowledges that, and is a reminder that we have provided quality, fact-based information on the pandemic since it began.
“We are committed to serving and supporting our community, with features such as this.”
The Times Colonist feature, which was edited by Patricia Coppard and designed by Roger White, is up against A Crisis in Care: The Family Doctor Shortage in Greater Victoria by CBC Victoria and B.C. Ambulance Crisis by Global BC.
To read the story, click here.