As hundreds of media outlets close, and many more reduce capacity, public interest journalism in Canada is in steep decline. While there is no shortage of information available via online platforms like Facebook and Twitter, we are losing the capacity to provide reporting and in-depth analysis, at a time when we arguably need more — not less — coverage of key issues facing communities and the country at large.
Concordia University’s National Student Investigative Reporting Network encourages journalism schools and media organizations to collaborate on investigative journalism pieces, using a multidisciplinary approach to understanding problems. NSIRN work also engages students and faculty in other university departments outside journalism in identifying solutions to the problems it surfaces.
NSIRN will use a grant from the Foundation to train more students, produce more work, and develop a sustainable business model. In addition to supporting the NSIRN’s continued growth, the Foundation will also support NSIRN to develop training kits for journalists not in the reporting network to improve the quality of reporting at small and medium sized organizations and to create a training for leading journalists and editors in collaborative, solutions-focused and data-informed journalism. Finally, the grant will also be used to support small Canadian media collaboratives, the create of a website and database for sharing project results, and solutions projects.
Background of the org:
The Institute for Investigative Journalism (IIJ) unites media organizations and journalism schools across Canada in order to provide students with practical training and carry out large-scale investigations in the national public interest.
Through collaborative projects coordinated by the IIJ, students across Canada gain skills under the guidance of seasoned professionals, joining a close-knit community of reporters. By working together across institutional boundaries and provincial and national borders, they obtain the flexibility to learn anything required of them to probe complex topics, often shrouded in specialized knowledge
Led by Patti Sonntag, a former managing editor in The New York Times’ News Services Division, the Institute for Investigative Journalism’s mission is to support accountability and investigative reporting across Canada, particularly in regions where it is lacking.