Charting new ways to do high-quality investigative journalism
Broken Promises was carried out by students at First Nations University of Canada and the University of Regina, as part of a nationwide investigation coordinated by the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia. In Saskatchewan, students worked on the investigation for over a year in multiple classes at FNUniv and the U of R, including:
- Journalism 306 (Intermediate Broadcast Journalism)
- JRN 307 (Investigative Journalism)
- Indigenous Studies 390 (Collaborative Investigations I)
- INDG 493 (Collaborative Investigations II)
- INDG 390 (Collaborative Investigations I)
- INDG 890 (Directed Studies)
- JRN 303 (Research Techniques)
Nationally, the investigation involved students and faculty from 10 campuses, working with 26 journalists reporting for media outlets across Canada. The project represents a new frontier in conducting high-quality investigative journalism through the combined strength of large-scale collaborations.
Mequonase (Mick) Favel
Libby Giesbrecht Michelle Lerat
Camera and Editing
Online Articles, Research & Web Content
Mequonase (Mick) Favel
Institute for Investigative Journalism
Patti Sonntag, IIJ director
Martha Troian, IIJ producer
Annie Burns-Pieper, IIJ managing editor
Hilary Beaumont, IIJ producer
Michael Wrobel, research coordinator
Colleen Kimmett, project coordinator
Declan Keogh, reporter
Lea Sabbah, editorial assistant
Emma Wilkie, editorial assistant
With the support of
Institute for Investigative Journalism, Concordia University
School of Journalism – University of Regina
Indigenous Communication Arts (INCA) – First Nations University of Canada
First Nations University of Canada
Mount Royal University
University of British Columbia
University of King’s College
Université du Québec à Montréal
University of Regina
Winter 2020 Reporters
Journalism 307, JRN 306, Indigenous Studies 490 and INDG 890
Adam Bent has an avid interest in sports and hopes to pursue a career in sports journalism. He dreams of covering the NFL one day. Adam is currently studying journalism at the University of Regina where he has enjoyed the opportunity to interview players and the head coach of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In his spare time, Adam enjoys watching football and playing video games. Follow him on Instagram @adambent or on Twitter @adam_bentt.
Ethan Butterfield was born in Regina, Sask. and raised in Vibank, Sask. Currently finishing degrees in both journalism and political science, Ethan looks to continue developing his skills as a camera operator and reporter. You can find him on Twitter @EthanCB2.
Dylan Earis is a third-year journalism student. His dream is to cover the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the Leader-Post. He loves the Philadelphia Eagles, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Phillies, Miami Heat and the University of Washington Huskies. Earis has filed stories for Canadian Press and the Regina Leader-Post, and in summer 2021 he will begin work as an interning sports writer for the Globe and Mail. @RidersRLife
Morgan Esperance is from Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation. She is an alumna of First Nations University of Canada with a diploma in Indigenous Communication Arts, and currently pursuing a BA in journalism at the University of Regina. She enjoys her spare time reading and hanging out with her chihuahua/shi tzu, Tiny.
Mick Favel was born in Edmonton, Alta., and grew up in Regina. He is an alumnus of the First Nations University of Canada and is a journalism student at the University of Regina. He has written for Eagle Feather News and has co-hosted the podcast “Home on the Rez.” Currently, Mick is interested in all forms of journalism. Follow him on Twitter @mequonase.
Libby Giesbrecht was born and raised in Winnipeg, Man. where she worked as an on-air radio host for three years. Libby is currently studying journalism at the University of Regina. She holds a BA in criminal justice from the University of Winnipeg and is interested in covering crime and courts. Follow her on Instagram @libby.giesbrecht and Twitter @GiesbrechtLibby.
Theresa Kliem is an immigrant from Germany where she graduated from the German Sport University and the University of Cologne. She moved to Saskatoon in 2015 and started helping other newcomers as an immigrant settlement advisor. Currently she is enrolled at the University of Regina’s School of Journalism. She loves animals, swimming and learning about her new home country, particularly the history and traditions of First Nations people.
Krystal Lewis is an alumna of the University of Regina where she studied media production and international development, and also dabbled in German. She currently works at the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG) on campus, supporting students who want to get involved in social and environmental justice work.
Shayla Sayer-Brabant is a proud Nehiyaw (Plains Cree) Two-Spirit and Indigenous Communication Arts student at the First Nations University of Canada. They are a member of Poundmaker Cree First Nation, but were born and raised in Oskana kâ-asastêki (Regina, Saskatchewan).By combining their passion for community-based research and story-telling through different forms of media, Shayla hopes to inspire others to be kind, heal, create, share, decolonize, and Indigenize.
Dawson Thompson is a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Regina. He interned at PaNOW in Prince Albert where he completed more than 100 stories in three months. He lives in Medicine Hat, Alta., and after graduating hopes to work in daily news in Alberta or British Columbia. In his spare time, Dawson enjoys golfing, hiking and playing video games with his friends online. Follow him on Twitter @dawsonthompson8.
Jasper Watrich has lived in Saskatchewan for more than 13 years and enjoys traveling to different areas of the province in the summers. He holds a Business Marketing Diploma from Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Jasper is an avid Vancouver Canucks fan. He hopes to produce documentaries after graduation. Follow him on Twitter @watrich.
Instructors: Patricia Elliott, Trevor Grant and Layton Burton
Fall 2019 Reporters
Indigenous Studies 393 -Investigative Research Collaborations I
Jaida Beaudin-Herney is a Mi’kmaq and Cree woman from Membertou First Nations who grew up on the prairies. After finishing a degree in Political Science and a Diploma in Indigenous Communication of Arts at FNUniv. Jaida joined the investigation as an INCA intern and went on to work for the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Concordia University as a Research Fellow and the Saskatchewan reporter for Project Pandemic. She is currently an intern for the Tribal Chief’s office at File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council.
Two-term students (see bios in Winter 2020 team above)
Instructor: Patricia Elliott
Winter 2019 reporters
Journalism 306 – Intermediate Broadcast Journalism
Jacob Carr, Kaitlyn Nordal, Heather O’Watch, Dan Sherven
Instructors: Trevor Grant and Layton Burton
The following artists contributed use of their artwork for the student website and documentary.
The IIJ-led investigation involved student researchers and journalists across Canada, reporting on stories in their own locations and nationally. It was the second set of stories in a two-year effort to investigate the safety of drinking water in Saskatchewan and in Canada. Stories published in 2019 focused on lead in urban tap water, while in 2020 the focus was water quality issues in First Nations. Students conducted preliminary research and received research credits for stories produced by journalists working for local and national media partners.
The participating colleges and universities, and media partners APTN News, Global News, The Tyee, Canada’s National Observer, Le Devoir and the StarPhoenix have thus far produced more than 30 stories. To see series credits, how we did it, and the full list of more than 30 stories produced by local and national media outlets, visit: Clean Water, Broken Promises
Funding for educational activities was provided by The Rossy Foundation, which is the IIJ’s founding supporter. Additional funding was provided by McConnell Foundation and Inspirit Foundation.