WJEC investigative collaborations panelists

The power of collaboration

Photo: Mark Lee Hunter (facing camera) with co-panelists Laurent Richard, Chloe Salles and Delphine Rueter. Photo by Nicolas Fagot Studio 9.

In July I attended the 5th World Journalism Education Congress, held in Paris. Yes, the croissants and bon bons were amazing – but what really caught my attention was the investigative buzz in the air. It seemed that at every session people were talking about investigative journalism and the power of collaboration. 

It’s not surprising, given the success of projects like the Panama Papers, which linked journalists and public watchdogs across borders for the common purpose of uncovering secret bank accounts owned by tax-dodging tycoons. The project, carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, resulted in $US 1.28 billion being recovered by governments around the world.   

How to connect journalism schools to the world of collaborative investigations was a hot topic. 

“A lot of journalism schools think investigative journalism is the icing on the cake. I think it is the cake,” said Mark Lee Hunter, director of Future Media Management at the School of Economics in Riga, Latvia, and a founder of the Global Investigative Journalism Network. 

“Investigation is not downsizing. Investigation is expanding,” he said, likening the phenomenon to disruptive technology. “It keeps invading new niches. It empowers student careers.”

If you’re interested in learning more, I wrote an article about it for J-Source.

The Future of Journalism Education? Investigation. J-Source Aug. 27.


Saskatchewan: Canada’s black hole of policing information

Normally, I talk about what you can research. Today, I’m posting about what you can’t research – at least, not in Saskatchewan.

If you’ve lived in Regina long enough, chances are you have a story to tell about carding – that is, folks being stopped by police and asked for ID while walking in the streets. My own carding stories feature those who are either teenaged, First Nations or heavily bearded.


Investigative Tool-Kit


In the course of one semester, I throw a lot of detailed information at students on how to look up everything from campaign expense records to what a charity spends on administration. Some of it I have compiled in this Investigative Toolkit.  (more…)Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail

Poster challenge: Sounding the alarm on silent media cuts

Instructions cancelling a funding commitment to Briarpatch, by Ministerial decision

One of my challenges this past week was to distill over 300 pages of research into a single poster. Cuts to CBC have been singular and highly visible, raising public concern. But during roughly the same period, what amounted to a massive drop in support to hundreds of small magazines and community and Indigenous broadcasters went largely unnoticed. (more…)Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail

Keys to the morgue


Suppose you need some quick back-story on a politician. A simple Google news search will tell you what the politician’s been up to recently. If you need to look back a year or two, you can keep hitting “Next” until you eventually wend your way out of 2015.

But if a politician’s been kicking around a long time – say, Ralph Goodale long – that method will only lead to carpal tunnel. That’s when you need to drop in the magic code, to get to the old stuff. (more…)Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail

What Elections Canada means to me

It's about more than voter registration.

It’s about more than voter registration. (Elections Canada photo)

I like good research. I like government transparency. I like democratic engagement. I like access to information. So I’m pretty fond of Elections Canada most days. (more…)Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail

Voter polls: Whoa, Nellie!

Sporting Magazine 3(12). National Sporting Library and Museum, Middleburg, VA.

Sporting Magazine 3(12). National Sporting Library and Museum, Middleburg, VA.

During an election, public opinion polls provide a seemingly endless stream of ready-made news fodder. They call it horse race journalism – that nonstop commentary on who’s ahead from one minute to the next.

But not many people – including some journalists – know there are rules spelled out in the Canada Election Act about how opinion polls can be reported on once the writ is dropped. It’s meant to protect the public from wonky or incomplete information while making crucial decisions (we can get enough of that from the guy on the next barstool!) (more…)Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail

Ahoy! An Elections Canada treasure map

Treasure mapEver wonder who contributed how much to your local MP’s campaign in the last election? You can find it at the Elections Canada website, but it takes some footwork to get to the right spot. Here’s a handy treasure map: (more…)Facebooktwitterredditpinterestmail