Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Paula Simons earned a B.A. Honours degree in English Literature from the University of Alberta, and a Master’s degree in Journalism from Stanford University, before spending time as a fellow at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
She has been a radio documentary-maker, a playwright, a television pundit, a magazine writer, a podcaster, and an author of popular history, but she is best known for her work as a political columnist and investigative journalist with the Edmonton Journal.
Over the course of her 23 years with the Journal, Simons earned two National Newspaper Awards for her investigations and analysis of Alberta’s troubled child welfare system. Her investigative work on Indigenous child welfare and government cover-ups of the deaths of children in foster care also earned her recognition from the UNESCO Canadian Commitee for World Press Freedom, and from Journalists for Human Rights.
Simons was part of two Edmonton Journal “breaking news” teams that won National Newspaper Awards for their coverage of the Fort McMurray wildfire and for their stories on the murder of four RCMP officers at Rochfort Bridge, Alberta. She earned a six further National Newspaper Award citations of merit for her columns and editorials on Alberta politics.
She has also received recognition from the Alberta Centre for Civil Liberties Research for her work championing LGBQT rights, from the Canadian Bar Association, for her writing on legal affairs, from the Canadian Mental Health Association, for her columns on mental health care, and from the Edmonton Historical Board, for her work as a popular historian and champion of heritage preservation.