May 26, 2020

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Reporter awarded internationally for investigative series

“I hope to continue to draw attention to issues that have, for too long, been ignored or kept hidden,” Katie May said. (Ruth Bonneville / Free Press files)</p>

“I hope to continue to draw attention to issues that have, for too long, been ignored or kept hidden,” Katie May said. (Ruth Bonneville / Free Press files)

Katie May’s deep dive into northern Manitoba’s dysfunctional justice system has earned the Free Press reporter an international Fetisov Journalism Award.

On Wednesday, May was handed the award in the civil rights category — at a value of $10,000 Swiss francs (about $13,500 Canadian) — at a ceremony in Lucerne, Switzerland.

"I’m honoured my work was recognized, and I feel there is so much more work to do," May said from Lucerne, after the first-ever Fetisov Journalism Awards ceremony Wednesday. "I hope to continue to draw attention to issues that have, for too long, been ignored or kept hidden."

She added that she’s thankful for her employer, one of Canada’s only independent daily newspapers, and the support she received in putting together her investigative series: "Remote life, rough justice." 

May’s reporting shed light on a chronically underfunded, overburdened legal system and its implications for both the people facing charges and legal professionals working on cases.

Since it was published in the spring, she has continued to report on problems interfering with justice in and around Thompson.

"I’m delighted that Katie’s relentless pursuit on this story about the lack of justice in northern Manitoba has earned this recognition,’’ Free Press editor Paul Samyn said. "This was an issue that she identified as worthy of investigation and I believe the light she has shone on the injustice facing so many will help make a difference."

Unifor, the union which represents many Free Press employees, congratulated May on Twitter. The reporter did "amazing work that shows the importance of journalism in a democracy," a Unifor spokesperson wrote in a tweet.

The Fetisov Journalism Awards are designed to support journalists from all over the world who "report on hard realities of modern life and will reinforce public recognition of trusted journalism." May was the sole Canadian reporter to be shortlisted.

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