I’m a Victoria, BC-based journalist working in print, audio and video, and specializing in stories about how communities interact with their environments. 

Here are some of my favourite things I’ve written: 

Salt Spring Island’s duelling crises — Capital Daily
The frontline of conservation: how Indigenous guardians are reinforcing sovereignty and science on their lands — The Narwhal
Grizzlies at the Table — BESIDE Magazine

I can be reached at jameswsthomson [at] gmail [dot] com, or on twitter. My work is archived on my Authory page

Okay, here’s some stuff about me.

I have gathered audio from a Tsleil-Waututh sweat lodge, photos of a Syrian prosthetics workshop, and video of crab fishing on the Russian border. In the pursuit of a good story I’ve slept on converted Russian spy ships, Chinese farmers’ plank beds, and in a tent under the midnight sun. My work has been translated into Mandarin, German, French, Russian, Norwegian, Inuktitut, Chipewyan, Slavey, Gwich’in, and Italian (and, once, a nationally syndicated comic strip).

I have reported from nine countries — including seven in the Arctic — on topics ranging from climate change and mining to war refugees to a budding Chinese environmental movement.

My writing is mostly for print, radio, television and online stories, but in February 2017 I had a neuroanatomy paper accepted by the Journal of Comparative Neurology and a film screened at the Dead North Film Festival. I repeated the latter in 2018 and 2019, and eventually won four awards at that festival including Audience Choice. I contributed to The Canadaland Guide to Canada, a “nausea-inducing” #1 Globe and Mail/Amazon/Toronto Star bestselling book published in Spring 2017 by Simon and Schuster. My drone video work is included in the English/Bush Cree/South Slavey/Chipewyan film adaptation of the graphic novel Three Feathers.

A video I made about Nooks Lindell, an Inuk who struggled with his identity until he discovered art.

I have also been on the other side of the microphone, interviewed by the BBC, TalkRadio UK, German TV station RTK, Ryan Jespersen, and been a guest on several CBC Radio shows across Canada about various projects. My work has been cited by the Washington Post, the BBC, Smithsonian Magazine and others, and I have been the subject of articles and profiles by The Globe and Mail, the University of British Columbia Graduate Studies department, the Ryerson Review of Journalism, J-source, The Guardian, France24, and CBC’s The National.

I participated in Canada’s only Indigenous Reporting program and the Global Reporting Centre’s International Reporting Program, as well Canada C3, a coast-to-coast-to-coast expedition to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary and discuss the ongoing struggles of colonialism. I launched Mandalit, an experiment in ephemeral fiction publishing, and was the interim editor-in-chief at the humour magazine the Syrup Trap. I also make awesome pop-up greeting cards that celebrate the North.

Send me story ideas, interview requests and rage-filled tirades constructive criticism at jameswsthomson (at) gmail (dot) com, or on twitter @jwsthomson

The Globe and Mail
The Toronto Star
Canadian Geographic
Up Here Magazine
Up Here Business
UBC Global Reporting Centre
Far North Photo Festival

Video production
PBS NewsHour
The Narwhal
UBC Global Reporting Centre
Dead North Film Festival
Portland Comedy Film Festival
The Three Feathers (film)

Radio production
CBC (reporter, guest and producer)
Talk Radio UK (guest)
BBC Radio (guest)
Alliance 2030 (contributor)
Radiolab from WNYC (tape sync)

Awards and Grants
Canadian Institutes of Health Research Communications Grant ($35,000)
2014 Norwegian High North Journalism Award (Fellowship)
Susan M. Boyce Graduate Scholarship in Journalism
2014 International Development Research Council journalism grant ($10,000), declined
Sigma Delta Chi Award from the American Society of Professional Journalists
Edward Murrow Regional Award (China’s Generation Green, writer)
Online Media award from the Canadian Association of Journalists
Canadian Online Publishing Award (2015)
Canadian Online Publishing Award (2018)
Northwest Territories Professional Media Association Award for Best Short Documentary (2019)
Northwest Territories Professional Media Association Award for Best Advertisement (2019)
Co-recipient of Bert Cannings Award for Best TV Newscast – Small Market from RTDNA
Rising Youth grant to conduct a video workshop in Yellowknife, NWT
Pulitzer Center and Humber College StoryLab grant for data journalism
Webster Award for Business, Industry, Labour & Economics Reporting (Finalist) 2020
Canadian Association of Journalists Award for Environmental and Climate Change Reporting 2021
Canadian Association of Journalists Award for Labour Reporting (Finalist) 2021
Canadian Association of Journalists Award for Daily Excellence (Finalist) 2021
National Magazine Award for Investigative Reporting (Silver) 2021
Canadian Online Publishing Awards (5 as editor: 4 Gold, 1 Silver) 2022
Anthem Award (Silver, 2022) for Turning Points project (field producer, Global Reporting Centre)
Edward R. Murrow Award (National—Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, 2022) for Turning Points project (field producer, Global Reporting Centre)
Jack Webster Award for Excellence in Multimedia Journalism 2022