Steve Lillebuen (left) and three of the 15 students in his investigative journalism course who are joining forces this semester with other journalism programs and media companies across Canada.

Journalism students join national investigative network

February 22, 2019 | Society
Students in Steve Lillebuen’s investigative journalism class are taking a hard look at water quality across the country, but they’re not diving in alone.

Working with more than 120 journalism students, faculty members and professionals from media outlets across Canada, the MacEwan University students are part of a national reporting network, facilitated by the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University in Montreal.

Not only are the students tackling an issue of significant public interest that impacts the lives of thousands of Canadians, says Steve, they’re also contributing to a large-scale investigative project that will help fill a critical gap in news coverage.

“It’s clear to me that the future of journalism involves some form of cross-organizational collaboration, so it’s vital to provide students with this opportunity,” says Steve, an instructor in the Bachelor of Communication Studies program.

His students agree.

“Getting to work on a story with other reporters and journalists is giving me real-world experience in the industry,” says fourth-year student Cheyenne Juknies. “The connections and experience I will gain by participating in the network are priceless.”

Pooling their skills, resources and expertise, nine journalism schools across the country are using online tools and forums to share their research and interview notes. Their work will be published at the same time, on the same day – likely in the summer or early fall of 2019 – so no one school can scoop the others.

"Anyone can tell a good story, but what I want to do is show the truth behind the story,” says fourth-year student Dylanna Fisher. “Being part of a national investigation gives me the experience I need to go forward into future investigative stories – and that is exactly what I plan to do."

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