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It’s time to look back at the year with Energeticcity.ca’s top ten stories of 2022, featuring comments from the reporters who wrote them.

This year, instead of compiling the top five stories of each month, we decided to release the overall top ten read stories of the year.

We also sent out the list of stories to our newsroom, and the reporters provided comments on the stories, ranging from their experience covering it to why they thought it was important to report on.

The top stories will be released in two parts — the first, featuring stories #6 to #10, was released on Thursday.

Energeticcity.ca’s News Director, Tre Lopushinsky, and reporters Shailynn Foster, Katherine Caddel and Spencer Hall provided comments on the stories below.

Top Stories of 2022:

#5 – “Get a second opinion”: local 20-year-old opts for medical assistance in dying

Lopushinsky – It was very hard not to get attached to Eric and his story. Ultimately, we failed and stayed in touch with him months after first speaking to him about his story. We got to know a very special, cool individual who was dealt a very crappy hand in life. Eric’s situation helped spark our ongoing investigative series, Code Grey, where Spencer dives into health care in the northeast.

Hall –  I first spoke to Eric in May 2022 after he decided to opt for medical assistance in dying following a long battle with an undiagnosed medical condition. I was struck by his bravery in the face of all he’s been through and continues to go through just to live his life every day. 

Coulam is a down-to-earth person and one that I don’t think I could ever forget.

I was disappointed by the number of people attempting to be armchair physicians on social media and diagnose him with a plethora of medical conditions, effectively gaslighting him and causing him unwarranted distress.

#4 – Local mom passes after infection allegedly goes unchecked

Lopushinsky Every time I hear about, and write, a story as gut-wrenching as this, it motivates me. I never got into journalism for the money or for my own selfish gain. I continue reporting to simply give people information about what is going on in their community — good or bad. If Energeticcity.ca and other local media outlets in the northeast never existed, residents wouldn’t have a solid picture of what’s going on. Like Eric Coulam’s story, this story gave life to the newsroom to show the impacts on our current health care system.

I would also like to note that some readers were upset with our choice of words in this story, specifically that we say “allegedly.” Since we only received the account of what had happened from her friend, we don’t actually know what happened to Nissa. The hospital and Northern Health were unable to comment. We have sent in a request for more information to the BC Coroners Service and were told we’d receive a report on Nissa’s death once the investigation concludes.

Foster – “I got all of the information through a heartbreaking phone call with her best friend, who lived close by. The friend also took in Nissa’s youngest child, who she was holding while talking with me.”

#3 – Locals warn community about Grande Prairie based tattoo artist

Lopushinsky “If we receive several reports of people’s money being taken, you’re damn right we’re going to look into it. We had more reports than what we chose to use in this piece based on most of them being anonymous. I like to have a rule of one anonymous speaker in a story, along with one or two willing to have their name released. This is because you don’t know if we’re lying to you. For all you know, we could be making up the story coming from “sources” or an “anonymous” resident. If we ever use an anonymous source, there must be a reason, and there has to be another source in the story that is named.

Mason Selvidge reached out to us about a month after this story was released, threatening to sue and saying we never reached out to himdespite us reaching out to him several times.

The story was written a few days before we published it because we decided to give him some more time to respond. After he reached out, we gave him the opportunity to say his piece — he never contacted us on the agreed-upon time and date.

This was Shay’s first larger story, which involved more of a process than the daily stories she’s used to writing. I think she did great, but I am biased.

#2 – Two people seriously hurt after bear attack near Dawson Creek

Lopushinsky“I’ve worked in local news for close to six years, and every time a local government puts out a warning about cougars, coyotes, or bears, I’ve always moaned and groaned, claiming it was common sense. This is because I never really understood the importance of those alerts. I was ignorant.

Well, this incident made me give my head a shake and realize that these alerts are very important. With a growing area like the Peace, new residents to the region may not know anything about wildlife and the precautions to take when approached. These alerts inform those individuals and just let people know of potential areas to avoid.

We continued to cover anything that came out of the attack, from the GoFundMe campaign for each victim to the Dawson Creek resident who set up a benefit dinner for the victims while he was on vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Energeticcity.ca reporter Katherine Caddel was able to meet the victims during a cheque presentation following the benefit dinner, which raised $60,000. Kat stayed at a Starbucks for around five hours in Dawson Creek waiting to go to the cheque presentation because the Peace River Regional District had a board meeting that day that finished way sooner than we expected.

I love how the community came together to help out the victims, and I am glad to hear that they’re recovering because this situation could have been way worse.

Caddel“I ended up being the reporter going to attend the cheque presentation for the bear attack victims. The whole event was really emotional, and it was genuinely incredible to see the community support them like that. Also, shout out to the Starbucks in Dawson Creek for being the place I worked from that afternoon. It was cold, but it was nice.”

#1 – Amber Alert suspect released, no charges laid

LopushinskyI don’t think I have to sit here and write out the importance of Amber Alerts. If a child, or anyone, goes missing, blast my phone with an alert while I’m mid-bite into my pizza, I don’t care.

What I think was super important in this piece was the process that police have to go through before sending out an Amber Alert, which is detailed in the story.

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