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Aaron Derfel

Part-time Faculty, Journalism

Aaron Derfel
Aaron Derfel
Availability: I try to make myself as available as possible to students, and the best way to reach me is through my email. I usually respond the same day.

Aaron Derfel is the medical reporter at the Montreal Gazette, specializing in investigative and narrative journalism in a more than 30-year career that has taken him across North America. He is a three-time finalist of the National Newspaper Awards, and in 2021 he won the Canadian Association of Journalists Award in the written news category for his reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec.

In addition, Mr. Derfel's 2020 investigation into the tragedy at the Résidence Herron nursing home earned him the Grand Prize of the Prix Judith-Jasmin — Quebec's highest journalism accolade.

In 2018, he garnered a National Newspaper Award citation of merit in the investigations category for a four-part series exposing how budget cuts led to an increase in hospital violence at the Montreal General. And in 2009, Mr. Derfel was honored with the Media Award for Health Reporting by the Canadian Medical Association for an in-depth feature on the over-prescription of anti-depressants.

Mr. Derfel reported extensively on the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, writing a daily Twitter thread that was followed by tens of thousands of Canadians and that made a "Best of Montreal" list compiled by Cult MTL. He has also served as a consultant to Telé-Québec for a documentary on growing privatization of medicine, and has taken part in numerous panel discussions on public health policy.

A graduate of the Journalism Program at Concordia, Mr. Derfel has taught part-time continuously at the university since 2001, focusing on access-to-information requests, court records and financial reporting, among many other subjects. His non-fiction narrative of the trauma response to the 2006 Dawson College mass shooting was selected for the book, The Bigger Picture: Elements of Feature Writing.

Teaching activities

Courses taught

JOUR 302 — Research Methods for Journalism
JOUR 206 — Introduction to Reporting
JOUR 208 — Intermediate Reporting
JOUR 303 — Feature Writing
JOUR 215 — Contemporary News Media
JOUR 210 — The Media in Quebec
JOUR 502 — Introduction to the Print Process
JOUR 501 and 604 — Research Methods for Journalism


The Bigger Picture: Elements of Feature Writing
(Emond Montgomery Press, 2008)

Contributed a 2006 feature story to the book.

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