2017 Vancouver Watchdog Workshop

Co-hosted by: Global Reporting Centre and Veritas Foundation 

**This event is currently sold out

IRE is bringing its highly rated Watchdog Workshop to Vancouver. Co-hosted by Global Reporting Centre and Veritas - Advancing Journalism in the Public Interest, this workshop will focus on issues on shared interest between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

The training also will several of IRE’s core sessions that will improve your ability to find information on the Web quickly, and point you to key documents and data that will help you add depth to your daily work and produce quick-hit enterprise stories. In addition, this workshop will offer several hands-on sessions in analyzing and visualizing data, and much more.

This is the second event hosted by Veritas, a new Canadian charitable foundation which fosters professional development for journalists and public engagement and education. Also co-hosting this year is the Vancouver-based Global Reporting Centre, a non-profit organization dedicated to highlighting important neglected stories around the world through collaboration with leading journalists and media organizations.  

These sessions are designed for reporters, editors, and producers from small, midsize and large publications, TV, radio stations, Web-only news sites and news blogs. Freelancers, students and journalism educators are also encouraged to attend.

Expected speakers include Muhammed Abdul-Mageed, Dave Beers, Kathryn Gretsinger and Tamara Munzner of the University of British Columbia; Jeanette Ageson of The Tyee; Brittany Anthony of Polaris; Kim Bolan of The Vancouver Sun; Michael Corey and Susanne Reber of Reveal from The Center of Investigative Reporting; Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star; Natasha Del Toro of Fusion; Sunny Dhillon and Kathy Tomlinson of The Globe and Mail; Tracey Friesen of the David Suzuki Foundation; Ben Jones of Tableau; Mark Kelley and Laura Lynch of CBC; Peter Klein of the Global Reporting Centre; Bruce Livesey and Linda Solomon Wood of National Observer; Denise Malan of IRE/NICAR; Andrew McIntosh of Puget Sound Business Journal; Erin Millar of Discourse Media; Nina Shapiro of The Seattle Times; Jorge Luiz Sierra of the International Center for Journalists and Frédéric Zalac of CBC/Radio-Canada.

Join IRE's experienced trainers and a group of veteran reporters for our Watchdog Workshop Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21.

Get the tools and the tricks of the trade that you need to be a better, faster, watchdog journalist.

This program is made possible thanks to support from the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation.


Pay parking is available in the Rose Garden Parkade on NW Marine Drive (1 block east) and the Fraser River Parkade on Memorial Road (1 block south). There is no free parking available on campus.

Workshop Fees

(Includes a one-year IRE membership, if you are a current IRE member, your membership will be extended by one year. Attendees must meet IRE membership terms)

$55 (U.S.) Professional

$25 (U.S.) Student

Registration Information

If you are a current member, please complete your registration online by logging into your member profile. Once you have logged in, click on my profile, next to the welcome and your name, select conferences and events on the left-hand side of the screen and the 2017 Vancouver Watchdog Workshop.

If you are not a current IRE member, you can still register here for the workshop online.

Cancellations must be sent via email to Lara Dieringer, Lara@ire.org. There is a $25 processing fee for professionals ($10 for students) for cancellations until the day before the event. Refunds will not be given for cancellations on the day of, or after the event.

Workshop evaluations

Attendees can access the workshop evaluation online. We appreciate feedback from attendees as this allows us to improve the program and provide feedback to our funders.


Time and place

Saturday, May. 20, 2017 - Sunday, May. 21, 2017

The University of British Columbia
Liu Institute for Global Issues - Vancouver Campus
6476 NW Marine Drive
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z2

Registration information

Registration for this event is open! Click here to begin.

Hurry! Registration closes on Saturday, May. 20 at 9:00am.

Schedule details

  • Panel

    Welcome and overview of the workshop

    Speakers: Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR; Peter Klein of Global Reporting Centre; Robert Cribb of Toronto Star

    Multipurpose Room

    9:00 am - 9:30 am

  • Panel

    Cross-border commerce reporting – Case Study: The Panama Papers

    Speakers: Frédéric Zalac of CBC/Radio-Canada; Robert Cribb of Toronto Star; Natasha Del Toro of Fusion; Sandra Bartlett of independent journalist

    **Moderated by Sandra Bartlett, independent journalist

    What does it take to collaborate with another journalist or another media organization?  Hear from some of the journalists who worked on the Pulitzer Prize winning, Panama Papers.  The lessons apply to international stories and local collaborative investigations.

    Multipurpose Room

    9:30 am - 10:45 am

  • Hands-on

    Hands-on: Excel I

    Speaker: Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR

    Attend this hands-on session and learn how to use Excel, a powerful electronic spreadsheet for deadline and beat reporting on budgets, salaries, elections and more.

    News Media Lab Room 102

    9:30 am - 12:15 pm

  • Panel

    Cross-border crime reporting

    Speakers: Kim Bolan of The Vancouver Sun; Andrew McIntosh of Puget Sound Business Journal; Mike De Souza of Global News; Garance Burke of Stanford University

    **Moderated by Mike De Souza

    How do you report on criminals? Journalists who have done investigations in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. share their approaches to telling high-risk stories that can bring serious repercussions. 

    Multipurpose Room

    11:00 am - 12:15 pm

  • Outside Event

    See printed schedule for room information

    12:15 pm - 1:45 pm

  • Hands-on

    Hands-on: Introduction to Tableau

    Speaker: Ben Jones of Tableau Software

    One of Tableau's experienced trainers will walk you through how to make custom, embeddable data visualizations, no programming knowledge required.


    News Media Lab Room 102

    1:45 pm - 3:45 pm

  • Panel

    Interviewing workshop

    Speakers: Kathryn Gretsinger of University of British Columbia; Harvey Cashore of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

    Learn how to approach sources and prepare and manage difficult interviews. How to do investigative interviews and tips and strategies for handling tough situations and ethical trouble spots.

    Multipurpose Room

    1:45 pm - 2:45 pm

  • Panel

    Cross-border slavery and trafficking

    Speakers: Brittany Anthony of Polaris; Daphne Bramham of The Vancouver Sun; Martha Mendoza of The Associated Press; Robert Cribb of Toronto Star

    **Moderated by Daphne Bramham, The Vancouver Sun

    This growing business is under reported because it is hiding in plain sight.  A mining company accused of using forced labour in its mine in Eritrea. U.N. peacekeepers running a child sex ring in Haiti. Sex traffickers grooming girls in your neighbourhood. And a new report that lays out 25 ways people are trafficked or held in slavery. Learn the methods of telling the dark stories of abuse. 


    Multipurpose Room

    3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

  • Panel

    Cross-border corruption reporting

    Speakers: Andrew McIntosh of Puget Sound Business Journal; Bruce Livesey of National Observer; Kathy Tomlinson of The Globe and Mail; Robert Cribb of Toronto Star

    **Moderated by Rob Cribb, Toronto Star

    Some of the continent's hardest-nosed investigators share techniques of sniffing out corruption and getting past the barriers that keep it hidden from public view.


    Multipurpose Room

    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Hands-on: Visualization, artificial intelligence, and social media

    Speakers: Tamara Munzner of University of British Columbia; Muhammad Abdul-Mageed of University of British Columbia

    Leading-edge data analysts at University of British Columbia walk journalists through some of the techniques they're using to investigate matters of public interest.

    News Media Lab Room 102

    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

  • Panel

    Driveway Moments: The art of long-form audio narrative

    Speaker: Susanne Reber of Scripps Washington Bureau

    This workshop will cover the essentials of compelling audio story telling, including getting the most from your meetings with your sources, interviewing for good narrative, as well as building scenes and emotion into your story.


    Multipurpose Room

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Hands-on: Secure communication

    Speakers: Jorge Luis Sierra of Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers; Jon Festinger of The Centre for Digital Media

    Protecting your work, your sources and whistle blowers against prying eyes is not easy in a digital world where hackers are king. This session covers encryption, PGP, secure drops and other tools for protecting your email, your computer and your research. 

    News Media Lab Room 102

    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

  • Hands-on

    Hands-on: Excel II

    Speaker: Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR

    This session is designed for journalists who have mastered the basics of Excel and want to take their skills further with advanced functions, cleaning techniques and data importing methods.

    News Media Lab Room 102

    9:15 am - 12:30 pm

  • Panel

    The future of multi-media investigative reporting

    Speakers: Susanne Reber of Scripps Washington Bureau; Peter Klein of Global Reporting Centre; Linda Solomon Wood of National Observer; Kirk LaPointe of University of British Columbia

    **Moderated by Kirk LaPointe

    What is ahead for investigative TV when most news is consumed on mobile devices? This panel will discuss increasing co-productions with print and international partners and growing competition for eyeballs from everything from Netflix to Facebook.

    Multipurpose Room

    9:15 am - 10:15 am

  • Panel

    Cross-border immigration reporting

    Speakers: Nina Shapiro of The Seattle Times; Laura Lynch of CBC; Michael Corey of Star Tribune; Sunny Dhillon of The Globe and Mail

    **Moderated by Laura Lynch, CBC

    Legal immigrants, hidden immigrants, refugees risking their lives to enter the U.S. and Canada. Learn the skills, documents and data that help you tell the stories of human movement across borders.

    Multipurpose Room

    10:30 am - 11:30 am

  • Panel

    New Models for Investigative Reporting

    Speakers: Jeanette Ageson of The Tyee; Erin Millar of Discourse Media; Susanne Reber of Scripps Washington Bureau; Peter Klein of Global Reporting Centre; Dave Beers of University of British Columbia; Linda Solomon Wood of National Observer; Patti Sonntag of Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University

    **Moderated by Dave Beers, University of British Columbia

    Increasingly, the heavy lifting of investigative reporting is moving from mainstream media outlets to nimble digital upstarts.  Are they the future?

    Multipurpose Room

    11:45 am - 1:30 pm

  • Hands-on

    Hands-on: Web search and social media for investigations

    Speaker: Denise Malan of IRE and NICAR

    Find documents and databases on deadline with better search techniques and the invisible Web. Learn how to locate reliable websites for enterprise stories and receive guidance on the best social media tools for your next investigation.


    News Media Lab Room 102

    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

  • Panel

    Lunchtime Discussion: Measuring impact

    Speakers: Tracey Friesen of David Suzuki Foundation; Dave Beers of University of British Columbia; Rabia Mir of University of British Columbia; Marla Steinberg of University of British Columbia

    **Moderated by Rabia Mir, University of British Columbia

    How do you measure the impact of investigative reporting for the purposes of fundraising? The growing crop of non-profit centres are developing algorythms to quantify the impact of the reporting.

    Multipurpose Room

    1:30 pm - 3:00 pm