It has been a several weeks since I have updated this blog and I wanted to write a brief update on some of the work I have been up to.
1) In June, I went to San Antonio Texas to attend the annual Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference. I have been to this conference a few times before but it always knocks my socks off, and this time was no exception. I picked up a ton of new skills, met amazing reporters, and left incredibly inspired. I learned a lot of new data journalism skills and I currently have some exciting data based stories in the works.
A big thank you to everyone who donated to support my journalism as it allowed me to attend this amazing conference.
2) Shortly after returning from Texas I began covering Swamp Line 9. This was a camp that a group of activists set up at an Enbridge facility in order to block construction that would allow the pipeline company to reverse the flow of an existing pipeline, “Line 9”, in order to bring Oil east from Sarnia to Montreal.
I started with a story covering a solidarity action that happened in Toronto, and then biked out to the encampment which was located in a rural area outside Hamilton. I was invited by the activists to spend the night, and the next morning I was woken at 7am by someone telling me that the police had arrived. Although people were being arrested all around me, I somehow avoided arrest and made my way to a baseball diamond across the street where I could observe the arrests and began working on my article. Later the police noticed me I had to move behind the media cordon, where I was interviewed by CBC and CHCH due to my access to the site durring the arrests.
Although I have covered protests in the past, most of my reporting is investigative work that take place on the phone, a laptop, or pouring through records. This is the closest been to conflict reporting. I have friends who travelled to Honduras during the coup, or have snuck into Syria to do reporting, I am a bit awe of them for doing that. But for me this is the first time I had to tackle that balance between getting close to the action and staying safe.
3) One of the major focuses of my reporting has been looking at the intelligence gathering the state used in response to protest by First Nation groups. Two weeks ago I published a story that covers this from a different angle. It explores CSIS’ efforts to drastically boost the number of Aboriginal recruits, and the spy service’s reaction to recruiters being confronted Six Nation’s Pow-wow. I published it in a local Six Nations paper, the web version of the story is here. I also posted CSIS’ 2012-2013 Marketing and Recruiting Plan online, here.
4) In 2002, I started the Missing Plaque Project, an initiative to put up posters on little known Toronto history right in the area where the history took place. I haven’t worked on the project for several years, but this summer I began making some new posters. If your interested to learn more I was interviewed for the CBC show How to do it. The show aired at 9:30 today, and will go to air again on Saturday at 11:30am, and audio is up on the site.
I am excited to have restarted this project and I will put some of the posters up on this blog soon.