Aug 17, 2022

Vancouver, BC – The Jack Webster Foundation has named Langara College journalism alum Jennifer Thuncher, editor of the Squamish Chief, the inaugural recipient of the Shelley Fralic Award. The award honours the life and legacy of Shelley Fralic (1953 – 2021) the beloved journalist, Vancouver Sun columnist, Langara alum, and trustee of the Jack Webster Foundation.

Jennifer graduated from the Journalism Certificate Program in 2013. She 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.

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.
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 College 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 snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College 
Located in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada, snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ Langara College provides University, Career, and Continuing Studies education to more than 23,000 students annually. With more than 1,700 courses and 130 programs, Langara’s expansive academic breadth and depth allows students of all ages, backgrounds, and life stages to choose their own educational path. Langara is also known as snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓, a name given to it by the Musqueam people on whose unceded traditional territory the College is located. 

Learn more.
Mark Dawson
Manager, Public Affairs


                                                   Jennifer Thuncher