Canadian web documentary highlights Arctic science

Ever wondered how noise affects marine mammals in the Arctic? Or what glacial ice really looks like?

Profiles from the Arctic is a new web documentary that answers these, and other questions, by giving site visitors a front row seat to the science and scientists working in Canada’s Far North.

The project was put together by Katriina O’Kane and inspired by her experience at the 2012 International Polar Year conference in Montreal.

Conference speakers frequently said that Arctic science needed to be better communicated to the public.

That message was something that stayed with O’Kane long after the conference was over.

“Having worked with scientists I saw how interesting and cool what they were doing was and I really wanted more people to be able to see that,” she said.

Feature Interview

Eye on the Arctic’s Eilís Quinn spoke with Katriina O’Kane to find out more about her web documentary Profiles from the Arctic:

Showcasing the creativity of science

O’Kane travelled to Canada’s High Arctic herself and interviewed 25 different people conducting polar research.

The web documentary went live on March 31st with three profiles. A different one will be added every few weeks until the series is completed.

Site visitors can click on the scientist profile they choose and then can scroll down to discover everything from interviews on research and unexpected encounters with polar bears, to interactive animation and graphic content.

“With scientific work itself you’re always poking around and seeing what happens,” O’Kane says. “And I think I kind of wanted to imitate that a little bit (on the site). It’s up to (site visitors) to discover what they want to discover.

“Science can be very creative too and hopefully that comes across and little bit in the web documentary.”

In the end, O’Kane hopes visitors will come away with a better appreciation of northern issues.

“There’s huge changes going on in terms of the environment but also in terms of development and I think there’s a lot of questions that remain unanswered,” O’Kane says.

“We really need to find answers for (them) before it’s too late.”

To receive an email alert when a new profile is posted to the web documentary, click here

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related Link:

Web Documentary: Profiles from the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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