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2022 Lynda Steele Media Award Winners Announced

May 3, 2023

Awards Presented at the Leading Change Summit Opening Ceremonies

Edmonton, Alberta – The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Lynda Steele Media Award. This award recognizes outstanding journalistic efforts in raising awareness about gender-based violence.

The Lynda Steele Media Award acknowledges journalistic excellence by print, television, radio and/or online media for their efforts in raising awareness about gender-based violence. The aim of the award is to encourage quality media actions that counter misinformation and stereotypes that lead to tolerance or excuse of violence against women and gender minorities, increase understanding of domestic violence as an issue that affects our community, as well as raise the public profile of domestic violence shelters and their role in helping end gender-based violence.

This year’s winners of the Lynda Steele Media Award are (in alphabetical order):

  1. Matthew Behrens – freelance writer and social justice advocate, who has used his voice for activism through his Women Who Choose to Live blog and launching petition for justice for Alberta grandmother, farmer and abuse survivor, Helen Naslund.
  2. Janice Johnston – awarded posthumously, for her brave and compassionate coverage of Alberta courts and crime for more than three decades. Among her many accomplishments, Johnstone’s reporting led to a reversal of the policy of withholding the names of homicide victims, which had created a system in which some homicides—particularly domestic femicides—were treated as private secrets rather than public tragedies or policy failures.
  3. Jana Pruden – feature writer for the Globe & Mail, whose writing has spread awareness of the shortfalls in the legal system, a major deterrent for many survivors of gender-based violence in coming forward. Her coverage of the Matthew McKnight trial was an eye-opener for many about the reality of how court cases for sexual assault are handled. Her latest article “In Her Defense,” brought attention to the Helen Naslund case and the lengthy jail sentence of a woman who endured years of abuse by her husband.

ACWS Executive Director, Jan Reimer, stated, “We are delighted to recognize the outstanding efforts of these dedicated journalists in raising awareness about gender-based violence. By shining a light on these important issues, they are challenging systems and helping pave the way to a more fair and just society. We are grateful for their contributions.”

The awards were presented at the Welcome Reception and Opening Ceremonies of the Leading Change Summit, at the River Cree Resort & Casino in Enoch, on Tuesday, May 2. The Summit focuses on ideas, research, and emerging practices in visioning, fostering, and sustaining more ethical spaces in gender-based violence prevention.

The award is named in honour of one of Alberta’s most accomplished and dedicated journalists, Lynda Steele. Steele is renowned for her tireless campaigns, including donating the proceeds of her book The Laptop Diaries to Edmonton and area shelters, implementing the annual Give Me Shelter Campaign, and using her public position to bring awareness to the issues of domestic violence and to raise the profile of local shelters. Lynda continues her media career in B.C, but leaves an important legacy in her home province.

The ACWS congratulates the winners of the 2022 Lynda Steele Media Award, and thanks all nominees for their ongoing commitment to raising awareness about gender-based violence.



Olivia Street, Coordinator of Communications and Social Advocacy
Phone: (780) 456-7098
Email: olivia.street@acws.ca