Times Colonist reporter a finalist for prestigious prize

Times Colonist reporter Katie DeRosa is among three finalists nominated for the 2013 Canadian Hillman Prize in Journalism, awarded in honour of excellence in the service of the common good.

A record 46 submissions were received for the prize, named for renowned U.S. labour leader Sidney Hillman.

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Katie DeRosaDeRosa’s special report, an investigation of Canada’s refugee policy, appeared as a week-long series in November, following her three-month investigation of Australia’s refugee system —the basis for the Harper government’s changes to Canadian law. She travelled from the controversial Christmas Island detention centre to the human-smuggling hub of Bangkok, doing research that revealed how the Australian system costs billions and takes a toll on legitimate refugees kept in detention centres for years.

The series also detailed Ottawa’s plans to keep asylum seekers who arrive in Canada by boat in provincial prisons, a contravention of the UN Refugee Convention.

“We are proud that Katie is on the shortlist for the Hillman Prize,” said Times Colonist publisher Bob McKenzie. “Her work is a reflection of our commitment to quality journalism and community service.”

DeRosa’s series was funded by a $25,000 R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship in support of foreign reporting that she used during a leave of absence from the Times Colonist.

The other finalists for the prize are Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen for their investigation of robocalls and voters suppression in the 2011 federal election, and Elise Stolte of the Edmonton Journal for her examination of the large number of First Nations children not registered for school.

The awards ceremony will be held in Toronto March 19.

Read DeRosa’s series at http://www.timescolonist.com/human-smuggling

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