Patty Sonntag

Ex-Fernie resident wins top journalism award

Patti Sonntag has ventured far from her Fernie roots, but has not forgotten them.

Patti Sonntag has ventured far from her Fernie roots, but has not forgotten them. The journalist, who was raised in Fernie, just won one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for journalism.

Sonntag won the Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Journalism Education. She won the fellowship for her proposal to investigate Canada’s fossil fuel industry and its effects on the political landscape. She will be teaching students at Concordia University how to use the Corporate Mapping Project database for 14 weeks in the fall semester.

“It’s an academic project called the Corporate Mapping Project, which explores the influence of fossil fuels on Canadian political life,” Sonntag told The Free Press. “I’m going to be teaching students to use that database and our investigation will certainly be in that area.”

Sontag now works for the New York Times as a managing editor of the news services division. She says there are three other managing editors in her division that cover a wide array of stories.

“I’m really proud to work with such a group of excellent people,” she said.

Sonntag says she took a winding path to get to the Times, and spent a few years travelling before embarking on a career path.

“I knew I wanted to write. I didn’t know how a person went about that. I spent a few years knocking around in the Middle East and Asia and eventually I realized that school was an answer,” she said. “I wasn’t sure where a person should go to school for what I wanted to do so I took my parents car and I drove across the country.”

According to Sonntag, she was looking for a place that felt right. She drove to the East Coast, checking out cities along the way. After exploring Halifax, she travelled south and first discovered New York City.

“I went to a few art galleries and I was like, okay this is the place. This is it,” she said.

Running low on funds, Sonntag drove north from NYC and found herself in Montreal. That is how she decided to obtain her education at Concordia University in Montreal. Going to school in Montreal allowed her to network and meet people in New York City, where she wanted to return. Sonntag was able to complete internships at The New Yorker and a division of the New York Times, which later led to job opportunities.

“I was meeting people in New York and I had mentors who told me what I needed to do next and then I was very, very lucky and extraordinarily hardworking,” she said in regards to her dream coming to fruition.

While Sonntag calls NYC home, she does think of Fernie and her parents, who are still Fernie residents, often.

“I find city life pretty difficult. I miss trees,” she said, adding her last visit to the area was during the holiday season.

Her parents were both teachers at Fernie Secondary School and have been beacons of support for Sonntag.

“My parents were really supportive, with all of that time in Asia,” she said. “Everything I do is inspired or informed by Fernie, especially my reporting on natural resources, and I miss it every day.”

 

Just Posted

Cranbrook’s India Sherret nominated to Canadian Olympic ski cross team

Local skier set to compete at PyeongChang games in February, week after first World Cup medal

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Fernie and RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Peanut Butter Campaign supports local food banks

Both Save On Foods in Fernie and Overwaitea in Sparwood participated in… Continue reading

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Babcock, Goyette and Smyth honoured at Order of Hockey in Canada

Mike Babcock, from Saskatoon, guided the Detroit Red Wings to a Stanley Cup in 2008

Bell Canada alerts customers who may be affected by latest data breach

Federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner said it had been notified

‘The tsunami alarm failed my household’: North Coast residents concerned over sirens, alerts

People living in northern communities share how they learned about Tuesday’s tsunami warning

Snowboarder dies at Vancouver Island ski resort

Death at Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Man faces 48 charges in string of random Toronto shootings

The string of unprovoked shootings began Jan.9, say police

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

Most Read