Connie Walker (journalist)

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Connie Walker
Born1979 (age 39–40)
NationalityCree-Saulteaux, Canadian
Alma materUniversity of Regina
OccupationJournalist
Notable credit(s)
8th fire, Who Killed Alberta Williams?
AwardsCanadian Association of Journalists awards: Don McGillivray investigative award, Online Media award

Connie Walker is an award-winning Cree journalist.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

Walker grew up in the Okanese First Nation, in Saskatchewan. She describes growing up in a remarkably large and close family.[3] She has 13 siblings and both of her parents also have large families. Walker has one daughter.[3]

Walker was awarded a Joan Donaldson Newsworld Scholarship while studying at Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, which provided her with an opportunity to work as an intern for CBC Newsworld. She graduated in journalism from the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, and subsequently graduated from the University of Regina.[4]

Career[edit]

Walker says her first act of journalism was an article she wrote for her high school newspaper, about the brutal murder of a young First Nations woman, and the institutional racism in the investigation and reporting of that murder.[5] Walker was employed for the 2000, 2001 and 2002 seasons as a host for Street Cents, a youth oriented consumer and media awareness show, while she was still a journalism student in Saskatchewan.[6]

After graduation Walker, took a permanent position with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.[4] She served as host of Living Saskatchewan, and as a reporter and producer for CBC News: Sunday and flagship CBC news show, The National. In the fall of 2009 Walker became a correspondent for Connect with Mark Kelley. In 2013 she helped produce the acclaimed 8th Fire documentary on contemporary Indigenous life.[7] In December 2013 Walker was appointed lead reporter for the CBC's Indigenous reporting unit.[8]

On February 6, 2015, The Eyeopener, the student newspaper at Ryerson University, quoted comments Walker made during a panel on Indigenous Representation in Canada's media:

Often news focuses on the really depressing stories... We want to provide a better context to some of these stories and increase the amount of indigenous voices that make it on mainstream media and hopefully provide a better understanding of the aboriginal communities.[9]

The Eyeopener also described how Walker told her audience about her disappointment over the disparity in coverage she noticed of two young girls who disappeared at roughly the same time.[9]

In December 2015 CBC Radio broadcast a 14-minute program entitled "Connie Walker and the firsthand legacy of residential schools", in which she described the horror of residential schools through her family's experience, and reporting on the Truth and reconciliation commission.[10] The last residential school to remain in operation was near Walker's home, the Okanese First Nation. She described learning how her mother and grandparents were survivors of the residential school system.

On October 25, 2016, the CBC News published Walker's eight -part investigative podcast, Missing and Murdered, focused on the murder of Alberta Williams in 1989 along the Highway of Tears in British Columbia.[11][12] Chatelaine magazine and Flare magazine interviewed Walker, the week the podcast went online.

In 2018 Walker launched season two of her Missing and Murdered podcast, focused on finding the truth behind the life and death of Cleopatra Nicotine Semaganis, who was removed from her family as part of the Sixties Scoop.[13]

On November 17, 2016 Ryerson University's School of Journalism invited Walker, Karyn Pugliese, and Tanya Talaga to a panel on covering Indigenous issues.[14]

Awards[edit]

In 2009, Okanese, a personal documentary Walker produced about the community in which she grew up, earned an honourable mention at the Columbus International Film & Video Festival.[4]

On May 29, 2016, Walker and colleagues at the CBC's Aboriginal news unit, won the Canadian Association of Journalists' Don McGillivray Investigative Award and its Online Media Award, for the stories on its "Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls" website.[15]

Walker was honoured as one of the YWCA's "Women of Distinction" in 2017.[16]

Her work on the Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams podcast was recognized with a Webby Award nomination in the Documentary/Podcasts & Digital Audio category in 2017.[17]

In 2018, Walker's media work was recognized by her inclusion on Open Canada's annual Twitterarti Indigenous voices list.[18] Also in 2018, Missing and Murdered: Finding Cleo won best serialized story at the Third Cost International Audio Festival.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Five questions for Connie Walker". CBC News. 2009-11-19. Archived from the original on 2009-12-02.
  2. ^ "Living Saskatchewan with Connie Walker". CBC News. 2008-09-18. Archived from the original on 2009-12-02.
  3. ^ a b Duncan McCue (2013-12-04). "Meet our team: Connie Walker". CBC News. Archived from the original on 2013-12-10. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet Connie Walker". CBC News. 2009-10-26. Archived from the original on 2009-12-02.
  5. ^ Rachel Giese (2016-10-25). "A new true crime podcast explores the death of one of Canada's MMIW". Chatelaine magazine. Retrieved 2016-10-29. The very first story I wrote was for my high school newspaper. It was about the murder of Pamela George [an Indigenous woman who was beaten to death by two white men in Regina in 1995]. I don’t remember seeing or hearing any indigenous voices in the media covering the case at the time. I decided I would write about, that I could be that voice. That’s why I went into journalism.
  6. ^ Stephen LaRose (2000-09-18). "SIFC student lands CBC-TV job in Halifax". SAGE (Saskatchewan). Archived from the original on 2009-12-02.
  7. ^ Connie Walker (2013-12-10). "Meet our team: Merelda Fiddler". CBC News. Archived from the original on 2013-12-10. Retrieved 2013-12-10. Connie Walker has been a host, producer and reporter at CBC since 2001. Most recently, she was a producer on the "8th Fire" documentary series.
  8. ^ Connie Walker (2013-12-09). "Is it a good time to be 'Indian?'". CBC News. Archived from the original on 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  9. ^ a b Karoun Chahinian (2015-02-07). "Indigenous Representation in the Media Panel". The Eyeopener. Retrieved 2015-02-08. There’s an injustice in terms of the amount and kind of coverage indigenous people are experiencing, said CBC journalist Connie Walker during a Ryerson Journalism Research Centre panel discussion on Feb. 4. The discussion focused on the lack of proper media coverage of indigenous citizens in Canada.
  10. ^ "Connie Walker and the firsthand legacy of residential schools". CBC Radio. 2015-12-10. Retrieved 2016-07-30. Connie has reported extensively on Canada's residential schools, but she's also seen the effects firsthand on her own family.
  11. ^ Maureen Halushak (2016-10-20). "Meet the Reporter Behind a New, Must-Listen Canadian Crime Podcast". Flare magazine. Retrieved 2016-10-29. Missing & Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams? is a new CBC crime podcast that delves into the life and death of one of Canada’s MMIW. We talked to CBC reporter Connie Walker about who Alberta was, her family’s lingering heartbreak and what Walker hopes the podcast will achieve—above and beyond telling Alberta’s story
  12. ^ Mădălina Ciobanu (2016-10-27). "Why CBC News produced its first investigative podcast". Journalism.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-10-29. Podcasts allow reporters to take listeners with them as the story unfolds, instead of just 'focusing on the end result', explained Connie Walker, investigative reporter for CBC News.
  13. ^ "An Indigenous family's fight to find the truth about Cleo, their sister taken in Sixties Scoop | CBC Radio". CBC. Retrieved 2018-03-28.
  14. ^ Jasmine Bala (2016-11-17). "Indigenous stories are mainstream stories, say panellists". Ryerson University School of Journalism. Retrieved 2016-11-17. Connie Walker, an investigative reporter for CBC National News who has reported extensively on Indigenous issues, said newsroom attitudes are changing and it’s getting easier to sell editors on Indigenous-related news stories.
  15. ^ "CBC's missing and murdered Indigenous women website wins top Canadian Association of Journalists award". CBC News. 2016-05-29. Retrieved 2016-07-30. CBC News has won the top prize for investigative journalism awarded by the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) for its "Missing & Murdered: Unsolved cases of Indigenous women and girls" website.
  16. ^ "How YWCA honouree Connie Walker discovered she wanted to be a journalist | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-03-28.
  17. ^ "Webby Awards: CBC's Missing & Murdered podcast, NFB's Seances vie for online prize | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-03-28.
  18. ^ "Twitterati: The Indigenous voices edition". OpenCanada. Retrieved 2018-03-28.
  19. ^ "CBC's Finding Cleo wins best serialized story at Third Coast International Audio Festival | CBC Radio". CBC. Retrieved 2018-10-23.