2022 Journalist of the Year: Isabelle Hachey

The war on Ukraine was the international story of the year in 2022, and no one in Canada brought it home to readers as successfully as Isabelle Hachey of La Presse.

Her coverage earned her the Norman Webster Award for International Reporting. She also won the Mary Ann Shadd Cary Award for Columns, making her the only double-winner at the 2022 National Newspaper Awards.

For that, Hachey was named Journalist of the Year.

The journalist of the year is selected from among the winners of each category, with only individuals or two-person teams eligible. This year’s judging panel reviewed the work of 23 winning journalists in 20 categories, before selecting Hachey. The panel was composed of Basem Boshra, Amber Bracken and Marina Jimenez.

While judges said all winning entries were outstanding, they were impressed by the fact Hachey won two of the NNA’s marquee categories. 

Hachey’s winning work from Ukraine was written at the onset of the war, focusing on the psyche of ordinary people in the aftermath of the invasion. She profiled people whose lives revealed hopelessness and horror, but also resistance and resilience, from the streets of Odessa, Lviv, and the Polish border.

Judges said her reportage, and her humanizing sense of place, was second to none. They also praised the critical contributions of photojournalist Martin Tremblay, who reported alongside Hachey and whose work helped to situate the dispatches in tangible, specific, human-centred images, rather than photographs of generalized disorder widely available on the wire. Judges lauded the newsroom’s commitment to covering the war to the highest standards, by investing in both journalists.

Judges also were impressed with Hachey’s columns, and noted the influence they have on life in Quebec. Hachey is not afraid to shake up those in power. Her column on a woman who became a mother after she was raped — and whose jailed attacker was able to obtain a court-mandated paternity test — led to the initiation of legislative changes for children born of rape. Her column on Carol Dubé, the husband of an Indigenous woman who died in hospital under the racist insults of caregivers, extracted an apology from premier François Legault. 

This is the ninth time a Journalist of the Year has been named at the National Newspaper Awards. Last year, for the first-time, a two-person team was honoured: Améli Pineda and Magdaline Boutros of Le Devoir. The other seven winners — Bruce MacKinnon, Joanna Slater, Mark MacKinnon, Robyn Doolittle, Kevin Mitchell, Randy Richmond and Tom Cardoso — were individual entrants.