It’s such an honour to be here tonight.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to receive this fellowship. It offers the possibility of inventing a new wheel for investigative reporting in Canadian. How exciting is that? That never happens. Ever.
When I went to journalism school here in Ottawa and later began teaching journalism in Toronto there were thick lines drawn between journalism schools and newsrooms. They existed in parallel universes.
I think those lines are blurring. And I think that’s a very positive thing.
In my own investigative classes at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, I’ve focused on establishing real-world standards and expectations so that they their work, not solely as an academic exercise, but with an eye toward publishing it and being part of the public conversation.
And it has worked. Many of the investigations that were born in the classroom have ended up on the front pages of the newspaper. They have enlightened, educated and changed public policy.
Some call this the “teaching hospital” approach to journalism education, borrowing from the medical profession’s model of training young physicians in real-world scenarios.
With the gracious assistance of this fellowship, my hope is to expand the work I’ve done in Toronto and build a national model linking students from journalism programs across the country, partnering them with major media outlets and together publishing an annual investigation that has impact, depth and scope.
It’s a win-win proposition.
Young reporters get the unique experience of contributing to ambitious, aggressive journalism alongside seasoned professionals. And media organizations who take part are distinguished by the stories, the resulting public debate and the opportunity to see emerging young talent up close.
Since the press release was issued a few weeks ago about this fellowship project, I’ve had calls and emails from senior journalists, journalism educators and students across the country anxious to be involved in this project. And I’m not even out of the gate yet.
It’s a heartening sign for what I hope lies ahead.
Let me thank the Michener Deacon judges for supporting what I see as a potential a legacy project that could help bring together two once distinct arms of our calling and contribute meaningfully to work that serves the public interest.
I’m so grateful for the chance to help build it.
Thank you again.