Monday, June 9, 2014

More Than 300 to Attend Winnipeg Investigative Journalism Conference

More than 300 journalists, academics and journalism advocates are descending on Winnipeg this weekend to attend a unique conference organized jointly by the CBC and the University of Winnipeg.
CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge will deliver the opening address, and the opening keynote luncheon speaker is Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame. The timing is perfect – it is exactly 40 years since Bernstein and Bob Woodward released All the President’s Men, their account of the Watergate break-in and cover-up that ultimately led to Richard Nixon’s resignation.
The conference is called Holding Power to Account: Investigative Journalism, Democracy and Human Rights. It’s a unique collaboration between a broadcaster and an educational institution, but one that makes sense. Both organizations are dedicated to informing and enlightening people, and bringing information and knowledge to the forefront.
Many of CBC’s most influential investigative journalists will be there, from Linden MacIntyre and Bob McKeown of the fifth estate to senior network correspondents Diana Swain and Adrienne Arsenault. We also have Radio-Canada’s top investigators on board, with Alain Gravel and Marie-Maude Denis of Enquete. They were responsible for uncovering and first reporting on the construction and political scandal in Quebec that now forms the basis of the Charbonneau inquiry.
Other speakers and delegates include journalists from CTV, Global, Sun Media, the Toronto Star, the Hamilton Spectator, Winnipeg Free Press and others. More than 70 speakers will be in attendance from all over the world, including Canada, the U.S., South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Austria, Tunisia, India, Bosnia, Kenya, Germany, Australia and other countries. A number of young journalists are coming from different countries to share their experiences working in difficult conditions.
CBC editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire and University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy will be on hand to kick off the proceedings Friday morning.
Journalism professors from across the country and the U.S. will also be in attendance, with representatives from UBC, Regina, Concordia, Ryerson, Carleton, Western, King’s College and several U.S. states.
We have also invited some speakers who interact with investigative journalists. One session will feature David Milgaard, who spent 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Other sessions feature ethics professors and advocates for whistleblowers and non-governmental organizations.
You can see the full schedule at Conference sessions will be recorded and posted to the website, and J-Source will be live-blogging the event. The conference hashtag is #wpginvestigates
In all, it’s going to be an exciting weekend. As our conference program says, holding powerful interests to account is one of journalism’s most important missions. It’s critical to democracy and the preservation of human rights. We hope this conference makes a modest contribution to ensuring that the work continues.