1. Cierra Bettens
2. Ryan Thorpe
3. Madeline Rae
Cierra Bettens has moved up to first place in the favourite local writer category after tying for third in 2020.
Bettens got her start as a volunteer writer at The Uniter during her first year at the University of Winnipeg and quickly fell in love with journalism.
“I think I’ve always been interested in writing, and I wanted to use it as a catalyst to connect with my community and shine a spotlight on issues that haven't been noticed," she says.
In the past few years, she’s worked as a city reporter and then arts and culture editor for The Uniter. She’s also written for Lithium Magazine, This Magazine and Canadian Dimension.
However, she wasn't always sure writing was for her.
“I always thought writing is something other people do,” she says. "Once I started writing for The Uniter, I just instantly fell in love with it and the feeling that I was contributing to my community."
As a city reporter, Bettens saw an opportunity to learn more about Winnipeg’s inhabitants and what was going on in the city.
“When I started, I instantly enjoyed it and felt connected to Winnipeg,” she says. “It was like I had an in on everything going on.”
She writes about topics from Shoegaze to labour strikes to Winnipeg’s punk scene with a conversational and compassionate voice, bringing to light issues others hadn’t considered.
It’s clear speaking to Bettens that her writing is driven by a desire to serve her community and hold power accountable.
In what she says was one of her most powerful interviews, she spoke to Canada Goose workers about organizing for fair-labour practices. She felt honoured to be trusted to tell such an important story.
“It’s nice to feel like you’re contributing to change in a way that maybe journalists aren’t supposed to do,” she says. “But whatever.”
Editorial note: Cierra Bettens is The Uniter’s arts and culture editor. While we don't count votes cast for The Uniter in the Uniter 30, readers are free to cast votes for Uniter staff and their work.
Published in Volume 76, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 2, 2021)