Young journalist from Carleton University wins 2019 Fraser MacDougall Prize

The National NewsMedia Council and Journalists for Human Rights are pleased to announce that Olivia Robinson, a master’s student in the journalism program at Carleton University, has been awarded the 2019 Fraser MacDougall Prize for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting.

Robinson won this year’s award for her submission ‘Raising a stink about public washrooms in Ottawa: Why you should care about toilet privilege’ which was published in the online-only publication Capital Current.

This year’s jury was impressed by the depth of the story’s reportage on a unique topic. Jury members also noted the story’s impact. Shortly after the article was posted, Ottawans began asking their local councillors on social media to add more public washrooms across Ottawa’s new light-rail transit system.

“I’m still dismayed by the number of people who are unable to attend to their basic sanitary needs because public washroom access is so scarce,” says Robinson. “This story brought to the foreground how hard some advocacy groups in Ottawa are working to raise awareness about the barriers in accessing public washrooms in this city. Washroom access should not be a privilege — it’s a human right.”

The Fraser MacDougall Award for Best New Canadian Voice in Human Rights Reporting is an annual prize that recognizes an exceptional piece of human rights-focused journalism published in campus-based media. In addition to the $1,000 cash prize, winners are recognized for their achievement at the annual Journalists for Human Rights Gala.

The MacDougall Prize is made possible through the generous endowment of the late Fraser MacDougall, who had a distinguished career in journalism, chiefly with the Canadian Press. As well, MacDougall was the first executive secretary of the Ontario Press Council.

About us: 

The National NewsMedia Council

The National NewsMedia Council is a voluntary, self-regulatory body of the news media industry in Canada. It was established in 2015 with three aims: to promote ethical practices within the news media industry, to serve as a forum for complaints against its members, and to promote a news literate public.

The Council represents the public and the media in matters concerning the democratic rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the media.

Journalists for Human Rights

Journalists for Human Rights is Canada’s leading media development organization. We train journalists to report on human rights and governance issues in their communities. When the media puts a spotlight on human rights, people start talking about the issues and demanding change. A strong, independent media is a referee between governments and citizens. When human rights are protected, governments are more accountable and people’s lives improve.

Olivia Robinson is a writer, journalist and book publishing professional originally from Aurora, Ontario. She holds a Master of Arts in Writing for Children from the University of Winchester and a Master of Journalism from Carleton Unviersity. She was a 2019 Joan Donaldson Scholar with CBC News and the 2019 Jack Layton Journalism for Change Fellow with rabble, penning a six-part series about the future of public libraries in Canada. She is currently an associate producer with CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning. Follow her on Twitter @olivianne.

For more information about the award, please contact: 

Brent Jolly, Director of Communications, Research, and Community Management, National NewsMediaCouncil, 416-340-1981 x 3 or