Fabian Dawson wins B.C.’s highest journalistic honours

by Samantha Bacchus McLeod

“I am humbled and honoured to be awarded the 2019 Jack Webster Foundation’s Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Fabian Dawson.

Fabian Dawson, has been named the recipient of the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Jack Webster Awards. Among the highest of journalism accolades in Canada, this prestigious award recognises the careers of senior reporters and editors who have received distinction in their communities for work of long-lasting significance, clarity, fairness and innovation. The Jack Webster Foundation, which adjudicates and bestows the awards has said of this year’s honouree, “Journalist Fabian Dawson’s career has spanned more than four decades in British Columbia and Asia and has had a major impact both in Canada and abroad.”

Born and raised in Malaysia, Dawson immigrated to Canada in 1988. Settling in Vancouver, he became deputy editor-in-chief of The Province newspaper and was also editor of Vancouverdesi.com, then Canada’s largest South Asian news portal. Over the past 30 years, his work as an investigative journalist has taken him all over Asia, Europe, North and Central America. He currently serves as the editorial advisor to the Vancouver-based South Asian Post, Asian Pacific Post and Filipino Post newspapers as well the Market One Media Group and several publications in Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Philippines and England.

While this may arguably be the biggest honour of Dawson’s illustrious career, it is far from the first time he has been recognized for excellence. In 2004, The Canadian National Newspaper Awards Board of Governors named Dawson as the recipient of 2004 Unsung Hero of Canadian Journalism. The NNA awards are the highest honours in Canadian newspaper journalism. He is also a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, cited as among the top 100 influential South Asians in Vancouver by the Vancouver Sun and was honoured by the Vancouver-based Darpan Magazine and the Chetna Association of Canada for his work within the South Asian media. In addition, he has been recognised for his contributions by the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Society, the Vancouver Fashion Week and the Sikh religious authority in Punjab, India. In 2006, an investigative team led by Dawson won the Daniel Pearl Award for an investigative series, Abandoned Brides: Canada’s Shame, India’s Sorrow, in New York. The series also bagged the Rolls-Royce journalism award in England, as well as an award from the Society of News Design, and a Webster for best news reporting.

In 2017, Dawson said goodbye to the newsroom in order to pursue projects more closely aligned with his own passions and interests, SeaWestNews being one such project. “We founded SeawestNews.com to showcase the science and sustainability around aquaculture,” Dawson has said. “It has helped move the conflict around fish farming in B.C. to conversation and cooperation with a key objective of protecting our iconic wild stocks. The growth in demand for fish and fish products are largely met by aquaculture around the world. In this context, our job as a media outlet is to ensure the public gets to know about the responsible and sustainable use of our ocean resources.”

While his present day-to-day involves operating SeaWestNews.com, he continues to be a prolific contributor to the world of journalism. He is a regular on TV and radio talk shows and is a frequent guest lecturer and speaker. Dawson is a much sought-after media commentator on Asian affairs and has been called to speak to Members of Parliament in Canada’s House of Commons on matters pertaining to national security and at international seminars sponsored by organizations like the United Nations. He also speaks regularly at seminars for Canadian police officers, crown prosecutors and social workers. Dawson’s work, particularly in India, has also led to the creation of four documentary films and a made-for-TV movie.

Currently, Dawson acts as a strategic consultant for several global companies, while also working on a Netflix series based on his investigative journalism.

“I am humbled and honoured to be awarded the 2019 Jack Webster Foundation’s Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Dawson.

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