EXPLORING THE HIDDEN EARTH – GROUNDWATERS AND DEEP SUBSURFACE LIFE

Published

Cost: free


Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, C.C., Dr. Norman Keevil Chair in Ore Deposits, Geology Professor in Earth Sciences, University of Toronto

Dr. Sherwood Lollar has revolutionized the development of innovative mechanisms for groundwater remediation. In 2013 Canadian Geographic magazine listed her among the Ten Canadians “Changing the World” for her discovery of the “billion-year-old water” and its implications for life on other planets. This discovery was recognized as one of the Top Ten Science Stories that year. Dr. Sherwood Lollar has been the recipient of multiple distinguished awards including the 2021 Massey Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the Canada Council Killam Prize in the field of Natural Sciences (2020), the 2019 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering (NSERC’s highest honour), the 2019 C.C. Patterson Award for environmental chemistry, and the 2012 Eni Award in Protection of the Environment. She is an elected member of the U.S. National Academies (2021), a Fellow of the Royal Society of London (2019), the Royal Society of Canada (2004), the American Geophysical Union (2015), the Geochemical Society, the European Association of Geochemistry (2019), and the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (2019).

TECHNOLOGY + ART: HOW THE GOLDEN AGE OF TV DRAMA CAME ABOUT

Published

Mr. John Doyle, The Globe & Mail’s television critic

Mr. Doyle has appeared on numerous TV and radio programs to talk about popular culture, television, soccer, and Ireland. His essays have appeared in the Review section of the G&M since 1997, as well as the journal TV Quarterly. His writing has also appeared in Report on Business magazine, Elle Canada, Flare, En Route, Books in Canada, The Irish Times, and the Toronto Star. His columns and freelance articles have been reprinted in the US, UK and Australia, as well as his book, A Great Feast of Light: Growing Up Irish in the Television Age (2005). Mr. Doyle has covered World and Euro cup competitions since 2002. His book about soccer, The World is a Ball: The Joy, Madness, and Meaning of Soccer (2010) was a national bestseller and longlisted for The William Hill Irish Sports Book of The Year.

COLD WAR WITH CHINA: WHAT’S A UNIVERSITY TO DO?

Published

Dr. Paul Evans, Professor and HSBC Chair in Asian Research, UBC School of Public Policy and Global Affairs

Dr. Evans’ research and public diplomacy focus on relations between Canada and China, and on security issues and processes in the Asia Pacific region, and the emergence of techno-nationalism as a defining force in regional affairs. He was a co-founder of the Council for Security Cooperation in Asia Pacific, the Canadian Consortium on Human Security, and the Canada-Korea Forum, and was appointed by the Government of Canada to the ASEAN Regional Forum’s Experts and Eminent Persons (2012). Dr. Evans has directed research centres and programs at UBC, Harvard University, York University and the University of Toronto, and served as Co-CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. His books include The Asia-Pacific Security Lexicon (translated into six Asian languages) and Engaging China: Myth, Aspiration and Strategy in Canadian Policy from Trudeau to Harper (2014).

TREES TELL TALES: UBC’S CHANGING LANDSCAPES

Published

Shona Ellis, Professor of Teaching, Department of Botany, and Associate Head of Biology, University of British Columbia

An expert on the native plant life of British Columbia, Shona Ellis has restructured UBC’s Biology program, the largest undergraduate science program offered at UBC, by shifting instructional strategies to improve teaching and student advising, as well as integrating sustainability into the curriculum so students become informed global citizens. She has demonstrated outstanding achievement in advancing pedagogical innovation and leadership, reflective teaching practices and service to the general community. She has twice won both the Killam Teaching Award and the student directed Just Desserts Award. Her current projects include a study of spatial and temporal variation in the forest plant communities of Pacific Spirit Park.

THE ORIGIN OF MODERN SPECIES

Published

Dr. Dolph Schluter, O.B.C., C.M., Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Canada Research Chair, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia

Professor Schluter is the world’s foremost authority on the role that ecology plays in the origin and divergence of new species. His work has fundamentally changed our understanding of evolution, revealing the ecological mechanisms driving speciation and probing the factors generating and maintaining biodiversity. His work has appeared in Evolution, Nature, Science, and Trends in Ecology and Evolution. With close to 50,000 citations to his research, Dr. Schluter has received the Sewall Wright Award and the Darwin-Wallace Medal. His long list of honours includes membership in the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the US National Academy of Sciences. His current work focuses on the radiation of new species of threespine sticklebacks in lakes of coastal British Columbia. The species are among the youngest on earth and occur in lakes that are less than 12,000 years old.

TRAPPED INSIDE YOUR HEAD: AN ETHICS JOURNEY IN MODERN BIOMEDICINE FOR THE BRAIN

Published

Dr. Judy Illes, C.M., P.h.D., Professor of Neurology, Distinguished University Scholar and UBC Distinguished Scholar in Neuroethics, University of British Columbia

Dr. Illes’ research, teaching and outreach initiatives are devoted to ethical, legal, social and policy challenges at the intersection of the brain sciences and biomedical ethics. She writes frequently for the Vancouver Sun and The Conversation Canada, and hosts community outreach activities covering challenging ethical problems related to biomedicine and the brain. Dr. Illes is also co-lead of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy of the International Brain Initiative, and sits on numerous advisory boards, including as Vice Chair of the Institute for Neuroscience Mental Health and Addiction of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She is a Director-at-Large of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the International Women’s Forum. Her latest books, a series on Developments in Neuroethics and Bioethics, feature pain, global mental health, do-it-yourself brain devices, neurolaw, and neuroarchitecture.

HOW TO PRONOUNCE KNIFE

Published

Dal Grauer Memorial Lecture | Ms. Souvankham Thammavongsa, Jack McClelland Writer in Residence, University of Toronto

Ms. Thammavongsa’s fiction pieces have appeared in outlets such as The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, The Walrus, and The New York Times Book Review. Her short story “Slingshot” published in Harper’s Magazine won the O. Henry Award in 2019. Her debut book of fiction, How to Pronounce Knife, won the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN America Open Book Award, the Danuta Gleed Award, and the Trillium Book Award, and one of Time’s Must-Read Books of 2020. The title story was a finalist for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Ms. Thammavongsa is also the author of four poetry books: Light (2013) winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found (2007); Small Arguments (2003), winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster (2019).

Photo by Sarah Bodri

‘Disaster Land Grabs’ Worldwide and in British Columbia

Announcing the Tiny Foundation Fellows for Investigative Journalism

Composite Image of all fellows
Published

The Global Reporting Centre and the Citizens are pleased to announce the seven recipients of The Tiny Foundation Fellowships for Investigative Journalism.

The fellows include both up-and-coming and experienced journalists, who will receive up to $20,000 to dive into the role of technology in abuses of power. Their projects will focus on issues related to data privacy, surveillance technology, and the erosion of democratic accountability. Editors from the GRC and the Citizens will provide mentorship in reporting, writing, and multimedia.

“Fellowships like this one are hugely important for independent investigative journalists, especially at a time when the media industry is in flux. It would be tough to do the kind of reporting that [we] do without this support,” said Hilary Beaumont, one of the recipients of the fellowship.

The Tiny Foundation Fellowship for Investigative Journalism is a unique collaboration from three global organizations committed to supporting the next generation of independent journalists. The fellowships are co-administered by the Citizens (UK) and the Global Reporting Centre (Canada), with funding from The Tiny Foundation (Canada).

“The past decade has seen some of the best investigative reporting come from independent journalists with philanthropic support,” said GRC founder Peter Klein.

“We can’t wait to get started on these investigations with this brilliant group of journalists,” added Clara Maguire, Executive Director of the Citizens. “The questions they are asking are global in nature and of the utmost public interest, seeking to shine a light on data abuse and the impact of disinformation on democracy.”

Below is a list of the Fellows:


Jennifer Ugwa and Amos Abba

Jennifer Ugwa is an independent investigative journalist and storyteller based in Abuja, Nigeria


Amos Abba is in Abuja, Nigeria and works as an investigative journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) – an online media platform based in Abuja with specific emphasis on holding the powerful to account.

Ugwa and Abba are co-reporting an investigation into digital loan sharks in Nigeria, who use cyberbullying as a debt collection strategy, and their efforts to avoid paying taxes


Astha Rajvanshi

Astha Rajvanshi is an independent journalist based in Mumbai, India. Her writing has appeared in TIME, WIRED, National Geographic, Slate, BBC, and The New York Times, among other outlets. She recently completed a two-year fellowship at the Institute of Current World Affairs, and previously she worked at NYT Magazine and Reuters in New York. She has received reporting awards and fellowships from New York University, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, the Global Migration Project, and the Australia-Korea Foundation. A graduate of Columbia Journalism School’s investigative reporting program, she was born in New Delhi and grew up in Sydney, Australia.

Rajvanshi’s project will focus on internet censorship in India.


Caitlin Thompson

Caitlin Thompson is a reporter at Coda Story. As the author of Coda’s Authoritarian Tech newsletter and the host and lead producer of the weekly podcast Coda Currents, she has covered everything from digital authoritarianism to disinformation. As part of the team at KAZU, NPR for California’s Monterey Bay Area, she won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for coverage of historic wildfires. She has reported on algorithms that determine if a person experiencing homelessness in San Francisco qualifies for supportive housing, predictive policing in Florida, and Northern Ireland’s struggle to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.

Thompson will be focusing on child welfare algorithms to identify children who are at high risk for death or serious injury as a result of abuse or neglect.


Rowan Moore Gerety

Rowan Moore Gerety is a reporter and audio producer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Esquire, and WIRED, among others, and is the author of Go Tell the Crocodiles: Chasing Prosperity in Mozambique. He has produced podcasts and radio documentaries for outlets including NPR, Reveal, Latino USA, and the LA Times. He has received SPJ and Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative reporting, and his work for the podcast 70 Million was nominated for a Peabody award. He has been a fellow with the US Fulbright Program and the International Reporting Project (IRP), and speaks French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Gerety will focus on the proliferation and use of new surveillance technology among small and rural law enforcement agencies.


Hilary Beaumont and Martha Troian

Hilary Beaumont is a freelance investigative journalist who has reported from the US, Canada and Mexico, covering the intersection of Indigenous rights, environment, immigration and climate change. She has previously investigated cases of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG), as well as data privacy issues, and has earned awards for her investigative reporting, including for a collaborative investigation with Martha Troian on Canada’s Indigenous water crisis. She regularly contributes to The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Narwhal, and other publications

Martha Troian is an Indigenous investigative freelance journalist and producer who has contributed to media outlets across North America. She is known for her investigations into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, environmental and human rights issues, Canadian Indian residential schools, and Indigenous politics. Martha has been involved with small to large-scale collaborative projects, and regularly works in investigative journalism, podcasting, data journalism, radio, magazine, and online storytelling. She is originally from Lac Seul First Nation, with ties to Wabauskang First Nation in northern Ontario. Martha is a mother to a young boy and lives between Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. 

Troian and Beaumont will look into the private ownership of DNA databases and how their use in MMIWG cases by law enforcement raises new questions about consent and sovereignty for Indigenous people. This investigation will explore what these new techniques mean for family members of these women and girls, and the risks and merits of sharing their DNA with genetic genealogy databases.


Founded in 2016, the Global Reporting Centre is a non-profit organization based out of  the University of British Columbia. The GRC brings together journalists, scholars, and media partners to investigate and report on complex global issues. It focuses on challenging and innovating how journalism is practiced around the world.

The Citizens use impact journalism to hold big tech and government to account. It is a UK-based non-profit organization dedicated to reporting about data rights, platform power, dark money, and erosion of democratic accountability. 

The Tiny Foundation is a Canadian organization dedicated to empowering great minds to do good. The foundation facilitates change by providing funding to individuals and groups pushing the world forward in a positive way.

To fight illegal fishing in the Galapagos, Ecuador turns to new technology

A naval captain wearing a KN95 mask with ships in the background
Ecuadorian naval Capt. Isiais Bodero Mala is on the frontlines of protecting the Galapagos marine reserve, home to some of the world's most unique biodiversity, from illegal fishing. The South American nation's security forces are working with Canadian technology firms to fight back against environmental crimes. (Philippe Le Billon/CBC News)
Published

Read the story here.

SPECIAL LECTURE: COOPERATION IN OUTER SPACE

Published

This event has passed.

Johann-Dietrich Wörner

You are invited to the first annual John S. MacDonald Outer Space Lecture. Admission is free. The speaker will be Johann-Dietrich Wörner, President of Germany’s Academy of Science and Engineering, and former Director-General of the European Space Agency. He will be speaking on the science-engineering-policy interface and new challenges for international cooperation in outer space.

You can find more information about this talk at https://bit.ly/3kEhJN3, and on the Outer Space Institute website at http://outerspaceinstitute.ca/.

Due to COVID-19, this year’s lecture will be limited to 200 in-person guests. In-person guests will be required to wear masks in all in-door campus spaces.

Because space is limited, your RSVP is strongly encouraged to reserve a seat. Walk-ins are welcome provided space is available.

A family arrives in Przemyśl after travelling from Medyka, the Polish border town. Przemyśl, Poland, March 4, 2022.
A family arrives in Przemyśl after travelling from Medyka, the Polish border town. Przemyśl, Poland, March 4, 2022.

On the border between Poland and Ukraine

Written By Ali Arkady | Photos by Ali Arkady / VII Photo

This is not the first time I’ve witnessed war. For more than thirty years, it was part of my life in Iraq. As a photojournalist, I have documented war and those most harmed by it. 

In 2014, the Islamic State swept through parts of the country, brutally attacking members of the Yazidi community, a minority group in Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Yazidis fled their cities and villages, heading to Syria and Turkey. Some walked on foot for more than a week to the safety of the northern mountains of Iraq. It was in this area where I witnessed their journey. As a fellow Iraqi, I felt their pain. While my camera could not capture everything, the photos I took provided a glimpse into the tragedy that had befallen my country

Today, five years after I fled Iraq to the safety of Europe, I find myself covering another wave of people on the move in search of safety. On February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine — attacking everything from government buildings to hospitals and schools, killing hundreds of civilians and leaving thousands wounded. As a result, more than 3.2 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries in what the UN has described as the “fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.”

I went to the Polish border with Ukraine, where a majority of the refugees have fled – Poland currently hosts over 2 million Ukrainian refugees. The busiest border crossing between Poland and Ukraine is at Medyka, which is the closest Polish city to the Ukrainian city of Lviv. Most of the refugees I meet here are women, children, and older men. With temperatures dropping down to -12 degrees Celsius at night, volunteers rush to provide food, clothing and shelter as refugees wait outside in a long line for a bus to take them from Medyka to Przemyśl, a town about 13km away. 

There are several places in the camp, where volunteers bring food prepared in local kitchens. Many people in the town contribute to preparing meals and hosting refugee families. Volunteers also come from all over Europe to offer their help to the people crossing the border.

Rajpal Singh Wilkhu, a volunteer from Khalsa Aid, makes tea for Ukrainian refugees at the Medyka border crossing.

Being here, my memories begin to return. Scenes from the past replay in my head. Except I’m not in Iraq anymore. War chases me like a shadow that never leaves. 

Even though I speak no Ukrainian, I have no problem communicating with people. Most of them are smiling, especially the women and children. While I see the sadness in their eyes, I also see optimism and strength. Even though thousands of people are around, I don’t hear many voices. It feels very calm.  

The only gift I can offer is my photographs and videos. I ask people if they want me to send them their pictures. Some of them say yes, while others do not want these memories. I talk to people to get to know them. I say that I am with you. I was a refugee like you, so do not be sad. Your sadness is my sadness, and your war is my war.


With generous funding and support from the Open Society Foundations.

An anti-lockdown protest in London, UK
An anti-lockdown protest in London, UK, on April 24, 2021. (Jessica Girvan / Alamy Stock Photo)

Shooting the messenger

Published

The Global Reporting Centre and the Committee to Protect Journalists have now completed a global survey to investigate the effects of disinformation and harassment targeting journalists. Thank you to all participants. Further details are available below.

A study of disinformation and harassment targeting journalists

Journalists around the world face targeted efforts to undermine their reputations. These “credibility attacks” can take the form of false allegations, insults about their character or professionalism, or disparaging comments about their gender, race or ethnicity. They often take place online, and in some cases involve disinformation tactics such as doctored images or accusations spread by people using fake identities. 

Some campaigns to discredit journalists have received public attention – from Maria Ressa in the Philippines to Ronan Farrow in the US to Patricia Campos Mello in Brazil. 

But beyond these high-profile cases, how common are efforts to discredit journalists? What techniques are used? What impact do they have on journalists? How does this problem vary for journalists in different countries, or of different gender, race, ethnicity or professional role?

We will publish our findings and share them with journalists, news outlets, and organizations that support journalists, to help them understand and address this issue. 

Global Reporting Centre Logo

Frequently asked questions

Who is conducting this survey?

The survey is being conducted by researchers from the Global Reporting Centre at the University of British Columbia and The Disinformation Project at Simon Fraser University, working in collaboration with the Committee to Protect Journalists.The survey is part of a study called “Shooting the Messenger: Credibility Attacks Against Journalists.” The Principal Investigator is Professor Peter Klein (contact details below), and the lead researcher is postdoctoral fellow Chris Tenove.

Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns about the survey?

If you have questions or concerns please contact survey@globalreportingcentre.org or Professor Peter Klein, School of Journalism, Writing & Media at University of British Columbia. 

Alternately, if you have any concerns about your rights as a research participant and/or your experiences while participating in this study, you may contact the Research Participant Complaint Line in the UBC Office of Research Ethics at 604-822-8598 or if long distance e-mail RSIL@ors.ubc.ca or call toll free 1-877-822-8598.

This project was approved by the University of British Columbia’s Behavioral Research Ethics Board (project ID # H21-00414).

Who funds this study?

This research is being conducted with support from PEN Canada, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Canadian Heritage’s Digital Citizen Contribution Program.

What kinds of questions does the survey ask?

The survey asks whether and how often you have faced various types of harassment or attacks on your credibility, and the impact these experiences have on you personally and professionally. It asks you to assess anti-press sentiment in your country or region. The survey also requests some basic details about you (e.g. your gender) and your work as a journalist (e.g. how long you have worked as a journalist) – but no identifying details.

Will participants’ responses and identity be confidential?

All your survey responses will be anonymous. You can complete it without providing your name or any identifying details. We will not store any information about the device or IP address you are using to complete the survey.

After you have completed all survey questions, you will be given an option to provide your email address and the country you report on. You may voluntarily add those details or you may decline. Even if you share your email address, it will not be linked to your responses to the full survey, which will remain anonymous.

Qualtrics is being used to collect the survey data; its servers are located in Canada.

How will the survey results be used?

We will analyze survey responses to compare the forms, extent, and impacts of credibility attacks and harassment as they are experienced in different countries or regions, or by journalists with different roles or identities. We will only publicize aggregate results, and not details that would reveal the identity of individual respondents.

These results will be published as academic articles and as a public report by the Global Reporting Centre and the Committee to Protect Journalists. 

Where can journalists go for resources to address credibility attacks and harassment?

In the fight against Russia, Ukrainian citizens turn to an old recipe

Photo by Tyler Hicks/The New York Times/Redux
Published

This article was produced in partnership with Retro Report, and first appeared in Retro Report’s free weekly newsletter.

By Irem Ozturan

“Make Molotov cocktails, neutralize the occupier!” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense tweeted, urging citizens to fight what has become the largest military assault in Europe since World War II. Ukraine’s National Guard shared instructions on social media last week for making the bomb, which has roots in the 1930s and 40s.

Improvised bombs like Molotov cocktails, relatively easy and cheap to produce, are a staple of groups short on traditional military equipment, like rioters, urban guerillas, terrorists and football hooligans. But they were developed as tools of large-scale war, used to combat foreign invaders.

The name comes from the Winter War, when Soviet forces invaded Finland and bombed Helsinki, the nation’s capital in 1939. Facing international criticism, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov falsely claimed the attack was meant as humanitarian aid for their starving neighbors. That inspired Finns, who were not starving, to sarcastically dub Soviet cluster bombs “Molotov’s bread baskets.”

Soon Finns began building bombs from gasoline-filled glass bottles with a stick as a fuse, calling them “Molotov cocktails,” according to historian William R. Trotter. The weapons proved effective even against Soviet tanks.

Similar handmade bombs go back at least as far as Spain’s Civil War (1936-1939). Spanish Nationalist troops used them against Soviet tanks supporting the Spanish Republicans; later, both sides deployed them.

In 1939 in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, a series of Soviet-Japanese border conflicts, more than 100 Soviet tanks or armored cars were destroyed by similar weapons. In the early 1940s, improvised bombs were stockpiled in Britain to be used against German tanks in case of a Nazi invasion.

Last week, as Russian troops advanced on Kyiv and other cities, Ukrainians used resources in innovative ways to build and maintain ammunition. Civilians turned a public park in Dnipro, in central Ukraine, into an open-air Molotov cocktail factory. Military instructors taught civilians how to use the weapons in an abandoned factory in Kyiv. Employees at the Pravda Brewery in Lyiv halted beer production and manufactured makeshift bombs instead. In restaurants, according to a New York Times report, bottled water is being served exclusively in plastic bottles. The glass ones are being used to make Molotov cocktails.

Turning Points wins Silver Anthem Award

Houses on a snowy hill at sunset. Ndilǫ, a Dene community near Yellowknife, NWT, Canada.
Published

The GRC is pleased to announce that the Turning Points project, a documentary short series that explores alcohol use, addiction, resilience and healing in Yellowknife, has been awarded a Silver Medal at the inaugural Anthem Awards. The project was selected in the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion – Partnership or Collaboration category.

This was not a typical journalism project. Storytellers were directly involved at every stage of the production process. They shared the cultural, social, geographic and historical factors that both drew them into addiction and allowed them to map out routes to recovery.

The series debuted in February 2020 at a screening in Yellowknife, where friends, families and community members piled into a packed venue to watch the documentaries and hear directly from the storytellers. It was then aired in partnership with PBS NewsHour.