October 20, 2011

A W5 Wishlist: Your vote on journalism's top movers and shakers

By Fiona O'Connor

For the past two years, Samara has had the honour of bringing some of journalism’s leading innovators to Toronto through its partnership with the Massey College Canadian Journalism Fellowship. This year, we’re teamed up with a dynamic roster of journalists who bring a range of experiences and perspectives to the table.

The Massey-Samara seminar series is founded on the belief that public affairs journalism is one of the vital ingredients of a healthy democracy. Our approach is simple: we seek out inspiring examples of leadership, creativity and innovation from around the world, and create a gathering space for journalists and others interested in public affairs reporting to listen, learn and exchange. You can find audio and video recordings of our past speakers, which include Emily Bell, former director of digital content for the Guardian, Wikileaks volunteer and Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, and ProPublic Editor and CEO Paul Steiger, here on our website.

With the media landscape so rapidly evolving, it would seem that there’s no shortage of bright muckraking minds who would make compelling guest speakers for our series.  While our plans for 2012 are shaping up (you can expect an announcement in the coming weeks), we want to know which leading public affairs journalist you’d like to see pay us a visit down the road. We can’t make any promises, but invite you think big, and send us your thoughts on who is shaping the future of the news industry, for journalists and the public alike.

You can leave us a comment below or drop us a note via Facebook, Twitter or at [email protected]


Comments (6) Permanent link to this post



Nick Van der Graaf

October 20, 2011 19:49 PM

Thanks for soliciting ideas! OK, some suggestions:

Michael Valpy
Chantal Hebert
Neil MacDonald
Gwynne Dyer
Rick Salutin
Haroon Siddiqui

Chris Hedges
George Monbiot
Timothy Garton Ash
Charlie Brooker!


October 20, 2011 22:16 PM

Great suggestions,  Nick! You've mentioned some key figures that we'll definitely be keeping in mind for future events. Thanks for your contribution, and be sure to stay tuned for more news soon.

Brett Ballanger

October 25, 2011 01:25 AM

I'd nominate Steve Paikin, he hosts Canada's best current affairs show and hosted the English leaders debate during the last election.


October 25, 2011 01:45 AM

Thanks for your comment, Brett. Agreed - Steve Paikin is certainly a leader in current affairs programming in Canada. (Of course, we may be biased - we've had the pleasure of appearing on his show, The Agenda, a few times to talk about our MP exit interview project! ww3.tvo.org/.../alison-loat-job-no-description)

Bill Doskoch

October 25, 2011 08:44 AM

Originally posted to Alison Loat's G+ thread:

I work for CTV News, so this one is a biased pick, but how about our digital news evangelist Kevin Newman? He took a year off to reboot and is now tasked with helping CTV News become a digital news organization.

Ariana Huffington: She's opened a Canadian and now a Quebec edition of the Huffington Post. You might want to ask her how to take a global brand national -- and whether it's working or not. Smile

John Paton: An ex-Toronto Sun guy, he's gotten attention from some circles about his digital-first strategy. He's certainly been influential with Postmedia. I read one of his speeches, and it was quite good.

He's not really a journalist, but I would suggest Evgeny Morozov, author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, as a good counterpoint to the digital utopians.

Ask Tony Burman who might be a good speaker from Al-Jazeera English. It was on a tremendous roll in the past year.

There have been some controversies in how polling is being conducted in this day and age. It might be useful to find someone to address this topic for journalists. I heard Allan Gregg say during the federal election that (this is a paraphrase) reporting a poll's results to the decimal point is evidence of either ignorance or dishonesty on the part of the news organization.

While I don't have a speaker in mind, how about this question: Does good journalism make for boring politics? And does a well-executed political campaign make for boring journalism? If so, what is the cost to democracy, given our declining voter participation rates.

Those are some initial thoughts.


October 25, 2011 22:25 PM

Hi, Bill. Thanks so much for taking the time to give us such a thoughtful and considered list - you've gone above and beyond with your suggestions! A number of them really get to the heart of what we're after: individuals whose work in public affairs journalism is shaping the media landscape in some way. We're going to digest all these great ideas and will come back with news soon! Thanks again. - The Samara team.

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