From Flies to File Storage: Policy Issues in the Life-Cycle of Explanatory Journalism

Posted on Thursday, November 4, 2021

The University of Ottawa Centre for Law, Technology and Society and the Global Innovation Journalism Lab present:


From Flies to File Storage

Policy Issues in the Life-Cycle of Explanatory Journalism


Elizabeth Dubois, Heidi Tworek, & Sabrina Wilkinson

in conversation with Evangeline Sadler

Thursday, November 4, 2021
at 12:00 ET


Watch The Video Now


Join us for a conversation with Heidi Tworek, Sabrina Wilkinson and Elizabeth Dubois, to discuss their new report, From Flies to File Storage: Policy Issues in the Life-Cycle of Explanatory Journalism, with Evangeline Sadler (Policy Options).

In order to engage in the policy making process, academics have a range of tools in their belt. Explanatory journalism is one of those tools. Explanatory journalism articles typically provide more context than traditional news reporting. They are also likely to be read by more people--including policy-makers--than traditional academic work. Explanatory journalism can help address society’s most pressing challenges, by offering accessible expert knowledge and evidence-based recommendations. However, the transition to online platforms presents important challenges as well as opportunities for this form of journalism.  

Based on the findings of their report From Flies to File Storage: Policy Issues in the Life-Cycle of Explanatory Journalism, Profs. Dubois and Tworek will join researcher Sabrina Wilkinson for a conversation about these challenges, which affect the creation, distribution and preservation of explanatory journalism. The speakers will discuss the issues that directly affect academic authors of explanatory journalism, such as online harassment, and the lack of institutional recognition in many universities for such publications. The conversation will also touch on the challenges involved in distributing explanatory journalism, including issues of copyright and fair use, payment, translation and algorithmic delivery. The speakers will also look at how academic authors, universities, explanatory journalism outlets and policy-makers can address these challenges and facilitate the participation of diverse experts whose knowledge is often neglected in policy debates.  


About the Speakers

Dr. Elizabeth Dubois is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa where she runs the Pol Comm Tech Lab and is a Faculty member at the Centre for Law, Technology and Society. Her work examines political uses of digital media including media manipulation, citizen engagement, and artificial intelligence.

Dr. Heidi Tworek is an Associate Professor of international history and public policy at the University of British Columbia. She is an award-winning researcher of media, history, health communications, international organizations, and platform governance. She is a member of the Science and Technology Studies program, the Language Science Initiative, and the Institute for European Studies at UBC. She is a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation as well as a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Dr. Sabrina Wilkinson is a researcher and writer interested in technology and its implications for society and politics. She holds a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she studied digital policy development in Canada. She is a researcher at Equal Voice, a multi-partisan organization dedicated to electing and supporting women to all levels of political office.



Evangeline Sadler is the deputy editor of Policy Options, the IRPP’s online policy forum. She is a veteran editor with more than two decades of experience at the Montreal Gazette, where she started on the news desk and moved through the newsroom. As national editor, she oversaw federal and provincial political coverage, with reporters in the Quebec City and Ottawa bureaus. Evangeline holds a BA in journalism (honours) from Carleton University.


This report and event are presented as part of the research lead through the Global Innovation Journalism Lab supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


This event will be in English only.
This event will be recorded.

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