This award honours the life and legacy of Shelley Fralic (1953 – 2021) the beloved journalist, Vancouver Sun columnist and trustee of the Jack Webster Foundation.
Check out the recipient of the inaugural, 2022 Shelley Fralic Award below. Congratulations Jennifer Thuncher!
About Shelley Fralic
Shelley Fralic was a consummate journalist, a fierce champion of the media, and staunch defender of the fundamental right to free expression. She was a trailblazer in the newsroom at a time when most newsroom leaders were men, and she understood more than most the challenges of competing on a playing field that was never really level. Shelley’s first job at The Vancouver Sun was in human resources, but she was destined for the newsroom. She was hired as a reporter in 1979, fresh out of Langara journalism school. She ultimately worked her way up to executive editor, a rare accomplishment for a woman in what was then a highly male-dominated business.In 2003 she landed her own column and for the next dozen years built a huge following as a columnist of the people.
Shelley’s commitment to social justice for the most vulnerable drove her to dedicate countless hours to The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Adopt-a-School Initiative, and The Vancouver Sun Raise-a-Reader program, which have made a difference in the lives of many B.C. children growing up in poverty.
About the Shelley Fralic Award
The Shelley Fralic Award honours a B.C. journalist who identifies as a woman, and who exemplifies Shelley’s legacy as someone concerned with excellence in journalism and making her community a better place. In choosing the recipient of the Fralic Award, judges will consider both journalists early in their career as well as the seasoned journalist, the impact the nominee has had, through their commitment to journalism and to their community.
Winners of this award are chosen from nominations submitted by members of the media and the community at large and will be celebrated at the annual Webster Awards and awarded the Shelley Fralic Award trophy.
2022 Shelley Fralic Award Recipient
Jennifer Thuncher is an outstanding leader, mentor, beacon of journalistic effort and integrity, and community advocate.
Over the years, journalism interns and graduates, many from Langara, have been sent to Jennifer as their introduction to the real world of journalism. Jennifer does much more than simply get a little practice in. She continues their education, teaching them how to be ethical and compassionate, tough and fair. It is apparent that the most idealistic of these students, the ones interested in social justice and making the world a better place, love their time with her. She sees journalism as a real mission and also one that is always informed by her community.
Like Shelley Fralic always did, she doesn’t let herself think that being a journalist puts her above regular citizens. She sees herself as one of them, but able to put their concerns in the spotlight through rigorous and sensitive reporting.
She reflects all the conflicting emotions and reactions of her community, warm and empathetic when tragedy erupts, funny and light-filled when her town’s quirkiness is on display.
So often, awards like this go to people who are well-known by a big audience. Journalists like Jennifer, who are the biographers and advocates for their community, only get appreciation locally.
Giving this award to Jennifer Thuncher is a real tribute to what Shelley was always aiming to do in the profession she loved so very much, as does this first recipient of the Fralic Award.
- The award honours a B.C. journalist who identifies as a woman, working full time or freelance.
- Eligible candidates can be seasoned journalists or those early in their careers.
- Candidates must be nominated by someone other than themselves.
- Candidates will have demonstrated:
- A commitment to upholding the standards of journalism, and an understanding that in a world of lies, nothing is more precious than the truth.
- Empathy, caring and compassion for others, whether it is reaching out a hand to help colleagues or giving voice to those who otherwise would not be heard.
- A humility that puts the stories and needs of others ahead of accolades, and a sense of humour that recognizes that while we take journalism very seriously, there is still room for laughter.
- A concern for social justice and the ability and inclination to take on challenges to improve the lives of others.
- Qualities of leadership and the ability to inspire people around them, among readers/audiences or among peers, whether this be a journalist early in her career or a seasoned journalist.
HOW TO NOMINATE SOMEONE
In April, nominate a journalist that identifies as a woman who exemplifies the qualities of the late Shelley Fralic and fill in the online application which includes:
- A 50-word précis explaining why the nominee merits consideration for the award.
- A synopsis of no more than 500 words, outlining the candidate’s attributes and accomplishments as a journalist, and their accomplishments and impact on their communities, the people, and the world around them (see eligibility section of this website, last bullet point).
- Two letters of support from people who endorse the nominee for this award, including contact information of each person, their phone number and email address.
- Make sure the person you are nominating is aware of this nomination.
- Nominations will be kept and considered for three years.
- Fill out the online nomination form by clicking here.
JUDGING OF THE SHELLEY FRALIC AWARD
A decision on the winner will be made after careful consideration by a jury made up of individuals who all identify as women.
The Shelley Fralic Award Jury
April 2023 -the website’s online nomination form will be open to receive nominations. NOTE: all nominations are kept and considered for 3 years. If you nominated someone in 2022, no need to re-nominate them until 2025, if you so wish.
July, 2023– DATE TBA- midnight Pacific Time -deadline for all nominations.
Late summer – (date TBA) recipient will be announced and then will be celebrated and presented the award at the annual Webster Awards.
For more information: email [email protected] or call the foundation at 604-603-4218.