Expositor scribe Warren Schlote to receive RNAO award

Warren Schlote is set to receive an award from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario for his five-part series on Indigenous dementia, published this past winter.

TORONTO – When the Expositor’s Warren Schlote checked his email last week, the staff writer discovered that his series on Indigenous dementia care had been selected for a Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) Media Award in the Community Newspaper: Best in-depth feature or series category. 

“I was very surprised to see that was in my inbox,” he said. “It was a touching honour for my work to be considered among the people who were up for this award.”

“I’m incredibly proud of Warren’s work on this series and it’s a well-deserved accolade,” said Expositor editor and publisher Alicia McCutcheon. “I know how much time and energy he spent on speaking with health care professionals from across North America to bring to light this important research on dementia in Indigenous populations. Congratulations, Warren, on this award from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.”

Asked about how he went about creating the series that led to the award, Mr. Schlote said he prepared for writing the story as he does for any other, looking into the sources and references available.

“I started to appreciate how big and significant this was and the impact that it could have on the people of Manitoulin Island and across Canada,” he said. As he began checking with the experts and really getting into the meat of the story to explore the breadth of what it encapsulated, Mr. Schlote soon came to the realization that more than a simple standalone story would be needed.

“There was a lot to unpack,” he said. “It wound up being a five-part series.”

Mr. Schlote deflected any suggestion that his work was “in any way exceptional. I really only did what I do for any story: try and speak with the right people and give them the space to share their perspective in the best way I could. It is how we should approach our work.”

“I would like to send out a chi-miigwetch to the Indigenous-led research team who gave so generously of their time so I could fully understand everything that was involved,” said Mr. Schlote.

As to any advice he might pass on to aspiring writers tackling a complex set of issues or story, Mr. Schlote said “take the time to understand. If you don’t understand what you’re reporting on, you won’t be able to tell the story properly.”

The award presentation will take place during RNAO’s 95th annual general meeting this Friday, June 12 between 6:15 and 6:30 pm via Zoom. A future celebration will be held with the winners in other categories once social gathering limits are released.

RNAO director of communications Marion Zych said the organization looks forward to “celebrate this honour with you in person.”

Mr. Schlote is also up for an Ontario Community Newspapers Association Award for feature writing which will be announced in the weeks to come.

The five-part series on the Manitoulin-developed Indigenous dementia diagnostic tool and its impact is at the following links:

Part I: Revolutionary Indigenous dementia tool developed by Manitoulin research team

Part II: The birth of a dementia screening tool for Canadian Indigenous populations

Part III: Screening tool gets validated: Part III of a series on Indigenous dementia care

Part IV: Researchers expect Indigenous dementia tool to change lives

Part V: Anishinaabe dementia tool being adapted for other populations