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Le Devoir and the Regina Leader-Post are the latest collaborators on an unprecedented national investigation

8 media outlets and 8 journalism schools are working together on the initiative facilitated by Concordia’s Institute for Investigative Journalism
November 23, 2018

“Now more than ever, media have a critical role to play in preserving our democracy,” says Brian Myles, publisher of Le Devoir.

The French-language newspaper and the Regina Leader-Post are the latest media outlets to join a national collaborative investigation facilitated by Concordia University’s Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIJ).

The two news organizations join six others as well as eight university journalism departments across Canada to collaborate on the 2018-19 investigation.

“The Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia is helping to foster a proven model of collaboration that offers the next generation of journalists the opportunity to work with outlets like Le Devoir,” Myles says.

Le Devoir will benefit from new content while positively contributing to the community through the training of future journalists.”

The project’s editor is investigative reporter Robert Cribb. The subject of the current investigation is confidential but it is unprecedented in scope in Canada, involving approximately 100 contributors. 

"We are all so pleased that Le Devoir and the Regina Leader-Post have joined this year's investigation," says Patti Sonntag, director of the IIJ.

"As we work together, our universities and partnering news organizations are supporting the work of reporters, preparing students for the newsrooms of tomorrow and providing Canadians with in-depth, comprehensive investigations in the public interest."

The first institute of its kind in Canada, the IIJ facilitates collaborations that bring together journalism departments and media outlets across the country each year to provide coverage to underserved communities while equipping the next generation of journalists with the tools to work together.

The students, reporters and faculty taking part in the network will endeavour to provide comprehensive reporting packages to regional news organizations, allowing them to pull from data, links and other information in order to produce local versions of the same story.

And this support allows the IIJ, its students and media professionals to create lasting professional relationships across the country that prepare them for building a new era of journalism.

“Our goal is to provide students with an unparalleled learning experience, to offer investigative support to news organizations and to provide quality reporting to regions that sorely need it,” Sonntag says.

A model that works

Sonntag was series producer of a Concordia-led pilot project, the award-winning “The Price of Oil,” which brought together a team of more than 50 students, editors and journalists to investigate government oversight of the oil and gas industry in Saskatchewan and Ontario. To date, the project has produced more than 70 publications and broadcasts and prompted legislative and regulatory changes.

The IIJ facilitates collaboration among journalism programs and media companies in the service of the public interest. This means that university partners pool grant money, syllabi, lesson plans and expertise to ensure that the students involved have the best possible learning experience and can carry out the same quality of reporting.

The model also makes sure that all contributors receive credit for their work.

A virtual newsroom

The IIJ exemplifies Concordia’s commitment to next-generation teaching and learning, immersing participants in cutting-edge collaboration tools as well as data and solutions journalism — the latter encouraging journalists to look at how similar problems have been solved elsewhere and adapt those findings for their own community.

Statistics show that collaborations involving multiple newsrooms are very quickly becoming common around the world, and the model the IIJ facilitates gives students the necessary tools to stand out.

Le Devoir and the Regina Leader-Post join the following news organizations on the 2018-19 project:

  • Global News
  • National Observer
  • StarMetro Calgary
  • StarMetro Halifax
  • StarMetro Vancouver
  • Toronto Star

The contributing educational institutions include:

  • Carleton University
  • Concordia University
  • Humber College
  • Mount Royal University
  • Ryerson University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of King’s College
  • University of Regina

About the Institute for Investigative Journalism:

Launched in June 2018, the Institute for Investigative Journalism is the first of its kind in Canada, connecting major media outlets with journalism students and faculty from across the nation to carry out investigations in the public interest.

This is especially key for communities in Canada that lack resources for large-scale reporting. The institute’s director, Patti Sonntag, is a former managing editor in The New York Times’ News Services division and Concordia’s first journalist-in-residence.

Learn more about Concordia's Institute for Investigative Journalism and the Department of Journalism


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